People expect students would be happy if their exams were cancelled, right? Student Emily explains why this isn’t the case – and how finding her element, creativity and a new community changed her perspective on lockdown.
For me, and most of my friends, it feels like the thing that we’ve spent the last few years working towards, (in fact our entire time in education really), has just been taken away. Does that mean that all of the work and revision was for nothing?
I know that obviously it’s great to learn as much as you can, but all of those evenings I spent memorising dates, names, quotes, and facts, now feel wasted. And the worst thing is, once exams were cancelled, I didn’t really know what to do with myself! My whole life has been about getting good grades, and going to a good university. I’ve never really had much time to figure out what I actually enjoy outside of school. So, for the first few weeks at home it was tricky to find any motivation at all. Then, I heard that some of my family friends were doing the Ivy House Award. I had heard about it through a friend at a different school, and though I wasn’t really motivated at that point, I thought I might as well do something productive with my time.
After probably the first two sessions, my whole perspective towards this lockdown period had changed. I spoke to people who I had never met, who are going through the exact same thing as me, and who are feeling pretty much the same. One of the sessions challenged us to find our ‘element’, which is essentially the thing that we are passionate about, and have a strength in – doing that would put us in our element. I realised that this is what I had been looking for ever since exams were cancelled and school work was over. I also saw that I was probably never going to have as much free time to discover what it is that I love doing!
It was a bit trial and error at first. I used to play the saxophone, so I dug that out of the shed and tried getting into that again, but found that I didn’t really get much joy from playing it. I started going on runs, and though I’m enjoying the fitness, I don’t think exercise is my thing either! A few weeks ago, after a great session on the Award where we learnt about our personality and communication styles, I had a bit of a revelation. In the quiz we had done, I had come out as a Creative Enthusiast. I have always been creative, but I think my focus on school and lack of opportunities to practice my creativity meant that I had started to abandon it. From that day on, I have cooked dinner for my family pretty much every night, creating menus from different cooking videos that I see online. I have also started up an Instagram account to share the meals I make, and that has already built up a good following!
Before, I never would have even considered that I could excel in a time with no school and no structure, but the Ivy House Award has really made me curious to find out what else I am good at and enjoy doing! It has also helped me become a lot more motivated, and now I write down my goals and to do lists every day, which really helps me feel like I have my routine back. I am very jealous of people that actually get to do the Award in school because even online with strangers it has been amazing – I can’t imagine what it would be like to do it with your friends in real life.
The Ivy House Award is giving students back a sense of purpose, community and direction in a term that was all about preparing for exams.