Do Suffolk young people think coronavirus crisis has affected their life chances?
There are fears young people will face greater challenges finding work and careers following the coronavirus crisis - but what do young people think about their own life chances? Here, 17-year-olds Grace Harman and Katie Drake reveal their thoughts for the future.
Grace Harman, 17, Kesgrave
Grace is already an accomplished musician, who regularly performs with Martlesham Brass and the Suffolk Youth Orchestra who has even played at the famous Ronnie Scott’s jazz club.
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She is starting a four-year degree at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester in September,
“For me personally, the music industry is very competitive anyway,” she said.
“Even if there are job shortages, it would still be very competitive like it is already.
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“A lot of my friends are a bit stuck, since we left school so early and they’ve bene left a bit in the dark about what job opportunities are out there.
“However, in music, since lockdown we’ve noticed more virtual orchestras being set up.
“They are quite interesting – you have to learn how to record yourself, which has taught me a new skill.
“It has opened up jobs that you didn’t realise were there.
“Everyone turns to music to boost morale. Even though musical performances are being left until last to come back, people will always want to hear music.”
Katie Drake, 17, Ipswich
Times are rapidly changing and as a teenager in the midst of a pandemic I, like many others, have had to adapt to new ways of life.
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Daily briefing stats, empty streets and long, long days have become a strange normality. The situation is constantly evolving and rather confusing to someone who loves to plan like myself.
I have been lucky enough to be presented with an incredible support system from my sixth form that has fuelled my learning and allowed me to accelerate in my remote studies.
Nevertheless, trying to teach yourself A-levels is quite the challenge and has made me realise how much work teachers put in to help students succeed.
Motivation is a real task sometimes, especially when I have a Netflix list 50 films long in front of me!
On top of that, I am beginning my undergraduate journey, writing personal statements and shortlisting options.
Unfortunately, it is very difficult to tour universities from the comfort of my own home and this barrier raises a few questions for the application process as a whole.
Will 2020 students deferring make 2021 be a more competitive year for university places? How will I decide on a university without seeing it properly? How will education change in the long run? These are questions that will be answered with time but for now, I can only wonder.
Lockdown also affects young people in other ways. Socially, life is challenging but also much more dynamic.
As a bit of a chatterbox, I thrive on social interactions and regular face to face conversation. As much as older generations joke about how phones are the root of all evil, it is technology and social media which is keeping us afloat as of now.
Young people living in 2020 are the tech generation and it honestly makes lockdown so much easier.
Speaking of phones, having technology has allowed me to keep in contact with my job in a local store and stay in touch with colleagues with a tap of a button.
I have received an overwhelming amount of support from my workplace that as a teenager has eliminated uncertainty and worry.
Overall, coping with Covid has been a challenge for young people but I have learnt so many new things and have discovered how valuable everyday life is - like seeing my boyfriend.
There’s been laughter, tears and stress but when we can all finally get back to normal life we will have a fresh set of experiences under our belts.
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