The ‘new normal’ is a phrase you have probably heard many times before. And I'm sure that this 'new normal' doesn't match the way our lives were about 2 years ago.  Living amongst a global pandemic is a unique, anticipating, and anxious time but many students have been and still are negatively affected by it.  


My year 11 GCSE exams were cancelled one minute and then taking place the next. Things were constantly changing in the January to March before our June exams. Speaking for my peers, the uncertainty of our future worried us, with no one to blame because we were all new to this way of living. People felt unmotivated for what could be regarded as one of the most important set of public exams in a students’ life. Falling behind on work due to lack of motivation created more unnecessary stress too and with an increasing workload, the more negative effects of stress began to arise for many, including cramming before exams – which is proven to produce worse results. “Not knowing whether I was going to sit my exams affected my motivation as I felt that I was working for a futile reason” – Anne-Charlotte Campos-Cornell describes. 

Emotions which we never expected to feel filled us including anxiety, fear, doubt, anger, feeling overwhelmed. 69% of students claim they were somewhat worried on the affect that the pandemic was having on their life. And the uncertainty of exams wasn’t the only thing which made us feel this way.

Continuous lockdowns left students feeling lonely with no one to talk to. Chloe Bolton claims that ‘it was really difficult for everyone, especially not seeing your friends and family for long periods of time’. Of course, what we knew as everyday life was returning to school 5 days a week and spending time with your friends, but this was no longer happening, and the feeling of isolation was arising. Sitting in a room joining a call to continue our education was tiring and dull and catching up with your friends became a distant memory, which was unpleasant for us all. 

These are just two ways in which COVID-19 has affected students mental health and now that many things have re-opened, I hope that these emotions have slightly muted. 

To conclude, without a doubt, the global pandemic has left an indelible footprint in the lives of young people and the ‘new normal’ will never be the same.