COVID-19 Opinion World

Your Future is Cancelled

Written by Tristan Jacquel

Author’s note: This piece is a largely emotional response to the cancellation of exams written shortly after the announcement. It was also written before the clarifications to how qualifications would be awarded were made. As such it can be rather bleak!

Sitting in my English classroom on Thursday, the tension was palpable, you could have cut it with a knife, everything was coming to a head and any number of other clichés about tension just chuck them all in there as well. Things were heated and on edge.

All this tension as we were watching the chambers of the Scottish Parliament of all things. With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, the Scottish Education Secretary John Swinney was due to make an announcement regarding exams.

Our English teacher (and your Spyglass Admin) had the stream up for us as the minutes ticked by…

One minute late…

Two minutes late…

The speech had finally begun.

And yet the answers we all wanted hadn’t come even ten minutes into Mr Swinney’s speech.

Ok. We get it. You want to make sure vulnerable children are protected, but the vast majority of us quite frankly don’t care at the moment!

Just move on with it!

And then at the ten minute mark, there was a massive shift in tone. Now that Swinney finally started talking about the exams, he’s started talking about their history. That’s never a good sign. It felt almost like a eulogy and at this point we all knew what was coming…

“It is a measure of the gravity of the challenge that we now face, that I must today announce the exams will not go ahead this year.”

John Swinney, Scottish Education Secretary

And there it is.

Let’s be honest, no one cares about the rest of your speech now Mr Swinney. Everyone just needs to figure out this mess.

Of course, this was something we had been somewhat aware of as a possibility, but be honest, no one thought it would ever become a reality did they?

My prelims: were they good enough?

Can I still get my grades?

Can I still get to uni?

Can I still do what I wanted to do?

Worse still, even our teachers are at a loss.

No one knows what we’re going to do now.

And no one knows how this will change our lives.

At twelve past two on Thursday the nineteenth of March 2020, we lost our exams.

At twelve past two on Thursday the nineteenth of March 2020, we lost our futures.

About the author

Tristan Jacquel

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