Class of 2020: What will happen to them

Covid-19 has changed many things previously taken for granted. Have we stopped and thought how this is effecting our next generation?

HIGHVELD – Covid-19 has left many Grade 12 learners with concerns about their future.

The matric class of 2020 – and their parents – are facing issues their predecessors have not known.

This would have been the time to be planning a matric farewell, to apply for university or college, or to perhaps plan a gap year.

Covid-19 has changed many things previously taken for granted. Have we stopped and thought how this is effecting our next generation?

Ridge Times spoke to learners from different schools to see how each one has been experiencing their matric year – what are their expectations, challenges and motivations.

Most of them wanted to remain anonymous.

“The year began with a bang, I was excited. I made the first hockey team and was selected as student council,” one learner said.

Some explained that they miss their sport because it was their escape, therapy and what they loved.

“Everything has changed. We can’t even greet our friends with the normal hug or handshake because of social distancing. It was very difficult in the beginning with social distancing because we are use to having physical contact with our friends. When our friends are down it is hard not to just go and give a hug.”

The learners explained that they have seen friends, or in some cases themselves, experiencing severe anxiety and depression.

“Most days I have headaches. I get anxious and battle to breathe, all this while having a mask on all the time. The only time we can remove our masks is to eat, but then we have to put it back on so that the other person in our group can eat. Most of the times it feels like I’m in my body but not mind, like a zombie.”

Another learner has set goals for herself but due to anxiety and depression her marks have seen a drastic drop.

“I have studied extremely hard and my brain was dead tired the past term. My marks are bad, teachers are disappointed in me.”

Another matriculant is stressed about next year.

“Not knowing what to expect is what gets to me. Everything keeps changing because of Covid-19.

“Will we get to writing prelims?

“Are we going to receive our matric certificates as the class of 2020?”

When returning to school after self-isolation, some learners were bullied.

“Children can be mean. The bullying is absolutely disgusting to say the least.”

One such a learner said she has reached breaking point because of cyber bullying.

She encouraged other matriculants.

“Pray. Never forget that God is still with us. His promises to you are eternal. I really want people to see that Covid-19 did not happen to mess up our lives. It happened for a reason, it happened so that some eyes can open and some arms can open to others and some hearts can open.

“Some need to take a next step and have to find the courage for that next step. This happened to remind us that Jesus Christ strengthens us, that He loves us and that we should love one another. I really want people to see the positive side of everything again.”

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