CRUNCH TIME

If you want to be saved the half-day of pure nightmare that I had to put up with, then it’s most likely in your best interests to listen in, because hearing about just how badly I mucked up and how easy it is to make the same mistake I did might just change your mind on a few things. So, without further ado, let’s get on with it.

So you’ve probably heard about this whole lockdown thing that’s been taking place over the last few weeks. Kind of hard to miss if you ask me, what with all the emergency broadcasts and global quarantine orders. We’ve all had our fair share of cabin fever from all this lockdown business, but I must say, my first day at home trumps them all. Picture the scene: you wake up, realising that there’s probably schoolwork to be done. ‘It’ll be fine,’ you say to yourself. ‘Relax, It’ll be easy. There’s no school! Just have a lie in! You have 24 hours in a day! Just do it later!’ Fast forward twelve hours, and let’s just say that things didn’t go according to plan.

It’s 7:30pm. I have about 5 hours of work to do. Panic. Panic, panic, panic. Maybe this wasn’t the best idea. I had essentially no time to do far too much work. So, what’s the solution? Crunch time. Please, if you take one thing away from this talk, let it be this: do not rely on crunch time. You will not like it. Please, just don’t. I bore this burden so you wouldn’t have to. I know, what a hero! Just do your work properly, please! It is literal hell. Your work will come out worse, you will hate it more, you will be less productive. Just don’t.

So, I went against my advice and rushed it at the end. And I regretted that. The work I produced was hardly better than something you’d see out of a primary school, but it had to be, because my poor planning had put me in this situation where I wasn’t sure if I was even able to carry on.

So here’s what I’ve learned. Manage your time, stick to your schedules and don’t procrastinate. It’s easier in every way that way. You will enjoy your responsibilities more, you will get more done and you will enjoy your free time more, confident that everything will be finished. This is a life skill, too. It’s hard to get by if you can’t manage your time properly. So remember, don’t make the same mistake I did: get it done now, don’t wait till later.

Anonymous

TILLY

I would like to tell you about an old lady that I met today on my street. Her name is Tilly. She is 94 years old.

Now, when my mum told me that we were going over to talk to her about her experiences on VE Day, I grumbled. When she then asked me to bake cookies to take to Tilly’s house I grumbled even more. So how surprised would you be if I told you that I actually really enjoyed meeting her and talking to her? Because, the truth is, although she’s 94 and struggles to walk up and down the stairs, she was once my age and somehow I found that she can relate to some of the struggles of lockdown. After all, she was a young teenager when the Blitz was taking place and if we think lockdown is tough then the blitz was on another level.

She was there, she told me, as she heard the voice on the radio, proclaiming the end of the war in Europe. It was a big night for her - her older sisters were going out to party in London and she managed to convince her mother to let her tag along! What a first night out!

She told me she had never seen anything like it. Her sisters were trying to get near Buckingham Palace but the throng of people was so large and heaving that she didn’t get anywhere near. And if I hadn’t visited her on VE Day I would never have known about the great suffering turned to joy that was the 8th May 1945.

So the moral of the story is this - if you see someone in need of a conversation: stop, and you might find it very, very interesting…. I know that it might seem tempting not to, but old people are like books - full of secrets and knowledge, acquired over a long time. With Tilly, I found that I could relate to her experiences during the war, as we were experiencing similar conditions in national lockdown.

Anonymous

LIKE A BOMB

It was late January, 2020, and Covid 19 had just landed in the UK.

It was like a bomb. The impact from it was catastrophic and it spread for miles and miles, killing the hundreds of thousands who were engulfed by it.

I was not scared though. For I knew that, as said in the book Dune by Frank Herbert,“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

At first I thought that Covid 19 was extremely deadly, but then I realised that most of the deaths came from fear. People were taking lots of food that others could no longer get. Or patients not being treated for other deadly diseases because they didn’t want to get the virus.

I haven’t just recited the famous quote to my struggles during Covid 19. I have used it many times, like when I broke my thumb and I was in agony. Or when I was petrified out of my skin that I would throw up in the car on the way back from holiday.

So, in the difficult times we are currently facing, remember, remember, remember, that fear is the real enemy. That Covid 19 is just its ‘minion’. And that the only way to overcome this, is to not be fearful, but to instead be someone like Joe Wicks, someone like Darren Bentley. Be someone who takes the most out of this and not someone who is so scared that they lie in bed all day.

If you are to learn anything from this speech, it is that fear is the most deadly thing in this world, so that is the real enemy to overcome. Anything else like Covid 19 are just extras. Think of it as fear being a cake. You could add jam, being a deadly pandemic, you could add honey, being a broken bone, you could add anything you wanted, but by themselves, the toppings aren’t as great as the cake itself.

So, do not fear. “Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.” Then you will face your fear. You will permit it to pass over yourself and through yourself. And when it has gone past you will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only you will remain.

Stay safe everyone.

Anonymous

NEVER AGAIN

Never again, will I be so sad.Never again will I take my anger out on others and never before, have I felt this connected. This is all down to the heart of my little sister. It has usually been the other way around with me comforting her when she is down, but this dark patch has changed everyone. Whether the sky is pouring it down or scorching us all, she is always being nice and making me laugh and I would like to dedicate this speech to thanking her for changing my outlook on this deadly disease.

For example, on Saturdays we would usually spend the whole day out bird watching in the natural world, but this particular Saturday it was raining and we had already had our one piece of exercise, I was not coping well and my sister came to the rescue. She decided that we should build a den in my bedroom. So we spent the day doing just that. When we had finished we slept in it for the night. This really helped boost my spirit and wasn’t the only way she helped me. She also made me do lots of trampolining, obstacle courses and water balloon fights.

She has been the one that has kept the family together, she is the sun casting light upon us, she is the one that is reminding me to connect with the family and use this dark time to really get closer with my family as we are all stuck inside the same house. Also it is a time to talk to friends through all these new calling apps such as Zoom.She has taught me to stand and fight against this disease and not let it get inside of us. We need to keep going no matter what and this is a message to you: we will make it through this as long as we keep the right frame of mind and listen to those around us.

Some doubtful people out there think we will never meet again in person and we won’t be able to socialize in public again, but what I say to them is yes we will. There will be a day where everything is back to normal and we are back at school. Yes it will. We won’t give up and we will fight to the end. Yes we will. Small businesses will reopen and our hair will be cut. Yes it will.

So, just keep in mind what is really important to you in this dark time.

Anonymous