Young people leading the conversation on meaningful employment
Cindy Boa is a student living in London, she submitted her blog in April this year, just at the start of the first lockdown.
My name is Cindy Boa, a 17-year-old teenage girl confined in the once lively and colourful jungles of inner-city London.
The prospect of sitting A levels in the summer, carrying on this “coming of age” tradition of all previous years gone by (even during WW2) is now a distant memory.
The 2001-2002 kids have been through it! We joke we must be the targeted year groups through socially distant Zoom calls and Snapchat stories. In Year 6 we had the new SATS, at 16, we were the pioneers of the reformed 9-1 GCSE exams, now the only generation to not sit A levels.
The past few weeks have been a roller-coaster of emotion.
From anxiously checking our phones for updates in sixth form canteens on Monday to deserting the schools where we grew up and exchanging confused goodbyes to our friends, and our once predictable future, by Thursday.
And just like that, it was all over.
Classroom lights switched off, final ‘breaktimes’ completed and lessons finished.
Our exams cancelled and nationwide lockdown shortly began.
Nevertheless, the youth are resilient.
We are an intelligent, technologically savvy population and our light and optimistic spirits about our future still shine from within our homes, within our phones.
Some finally found time to breathe. At last released from the shackles and issues with our difficult education system.
Some met once more with their inner child who had previously been repressed by the confines of a rigid schooling schedule.
Some, after bingeing on all their favourite Netflix shows of course, noticed the sun outside their bedroom window again, and took a moment to appreciate its gentle spring warmth.
Some felt surprised with the beauty of their local parks on their daily walk they had never noticed before.
Most of all, we all have been forced to find normality in the most abnormal of situations.
I’ve been blessed with hearing of personal recoveries from COVID-19, coupled with having to console bereaved friends.
I’ve joined countless Zoom calls learning real skills I’d never had the chance to before such as digital marketing, strategy consulting and using Excel professionally. Youth unemployment for BAME students is a very big problem, and I am very aware of having to work 10 times harder to achieve my goals.
I’ve decided to capitalise on this time to better my personal brand (improve my LinkedIn presence) but also remain aware that in times like this, time spent processing is not time wasted.
I’ve also taken this opportunity to start my first part time job at my local Co-Op store, learning retail skills and saving up to finally buy a laptop and essentials for university in the autumn. Although the logistics of going to uni without traditional exams is uncertain, it remains to be a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel and a sense of a restored sense of normality, change and new beginnings.
Life will truly never be the same again. My generation has lost uncles, fathers, mothers and friends to this pandemic.
But once again, we are resilient. And this virus will not beat us.