Dear Uncle Colin,
I’m meant to be sitting my A-levels this summer and there’s an awful disease going around. I don’t know if school will be open next week or even if the exams will go ahead. I don’t know what that means for university.
I’m scared. What do I do?
School Closures And Related Exam Disruption
Hi, SCARED, and thanks for your message.
Me too. It is a weird and frightening time. I’ll get the kettle on.
First and most important thing is not to do with studying: you need to look after yourself and those around you. Listen to what the experts are telling you to do - keep your distance from other people. Keep yourself to yourself if you’re sick. Be a good neighbour as much as you can. Check in on your friends online. As much as possible, avoid anything that risks having to go to the doctor or the hospital. Things are likely to get extremely tense over the coming weeks and months: there will be much awful news and many terrified people. Try to borrow strength from people around you.
It is OK to cry, whether you need to or not.
With that out of the way, exams and the future. It feels a bit strange even discussing them, but sure: you’ve spent most of your life working towards this summer and it’s quite reasonable for the uncertainty to weigh on you. (Your tea is getting cold, by the way.)
And I don’t have good answers for what’s going to happen. I don’t know what’s going to happen next week, let alone in a couple of months’ time. But here’s what I would try to do, as much as is possible.
As for universities, who knows what they’ll do? What they’ll try to do is make sure that nobody is unfairly disadvantaged. Everyone’s in the same boat here - the uncertainty is something we’ll have to live with for the time being. I would expect most universities are currently scrambling to figure out how to handle the emergency of this term rather than think too much about what happens after the summer - they won’t have forgotten about you and I’m certain they’ll be in touch with updates in due course.
Frankly, all we can do is control the things we can control and try not to obsess over the things we can’t. I’m sorry I don’t have concrete answers - and honestly, I’m as worried as you are.
Look after yourself, ok? I hope this helps.
- Uncle Colin
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