Not sitting exams because of the pandemic led to a kind of grief, according to one young student while another says she felt ‘robbed’ as a result of what happened this year.
There was confusion and distress in August for many students and teachers after exams were cancelled because of lockdown restrictions, a move followed by political u-turns in all parts of the UK as replacement methods of grading were dropped after a widespread outcry.
Two young people who were caught up in it have been speaking about their experiences in the latest episode of the ITV Wales podcast, The New Normal with Adrian Masters.
Poppy Stowell-Evans and Maisy Evans are both sixth formers. They write articles, they campaign and they take part in youth councils and parliaments.
Like so many of us they’ve found this year incredibly difficult and for them the exam 'fiasco' hit them hard.
Poppy tells the podcast: “I think as a young person, it really robbed me almost of the coming of age feeling and the kind of opportunities like proms or you know, kind of going out with my friends, going to parties, having a little bit more independence. And so yeah, I think as a young person, it's been really difficult... I think the overall feeling has been quite anxious and very uncertain.”
That’s a feeling shared by Maisy who says: "We're quite academic students, both Poppy and I. And so it's hard for us to see that and then for us to feel like nobody really cares about the people like us who do care about school... I’ve literally been revising since like year nine. And I wanted to do well, for my teachers and for myself, and then I was really disappointed.”
It was bizarre, I kind of grieved the loss of my exams. As weird as this sounds.
Listen to The New Normal with Adrian Masters:
When discussing how the governments have handled the pandemic, Maisy says: "I don't think either of our governments have been clear enough... The information given isn't easy to understand, especially for young people it's not very accessible."
The two say that there have been upsides to the pandemic - even with social distancing they’ve become closer friends through their political activity and campaigning and have also started a podcast called 'YFO' which stands for Young, Female and Opinionated.
That doesn’t mean they agree on everything, says Poppy: “We're not afraid to disagree with each other. And that's why we try and encourage people to listen to our podcasts with an open mind."
We're still learning, we're learning from each other. And we hope to learn from other people.
You can listen to them talk about their experiences along with their 'Zoom secrets' (snacks and inappropriate backdrops) as well as their thoughts about the impact on next year’s Senedd election of 16 and 17 year olds being able to vote.
Another impressive youngster who’s joined Adrian for this podcast is Lloyd Warburton, a sixth form student who’s created an impressive website documenting coronavirus cases across Wales.
Lloyd gave his thoughts on how the governments of the four nations have handled the pandemic.
"For a Western country, the UK as a whole as well as the constituent nations have all been rather bad if you look at the numbers and the length of the lockdown - for it to be that ineffective, something is really not going well."
More from The New Normal: