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Lockdown has not been easy, to say the least, but there are positives to take away around people’s reactions – especially those of young people. Eurodesk UK Partner IARS invited Taran to share his experience as a 17 year-old coping with lockdown in London.

IARS mission is to empower young people to speak out on issues they care about. They support the 99% Campaign, a youth-led initiative and digital participation programme aiming to make society more inclusive, fair and responsive to young people’s views and realities. 

Romina Lopez from IARS said: “We wanted to share this article as we think it perfectly illustrates the emotional intelligence and resilience of today’s youth.”

Now, over to Taran:

“After being informed that my school was being closed until further notice, I walked out of the main gates confused - unknowing of what will happen in the coming days, weeks, or months. I was entirely unaware of the long, lazy, and unproductive days that would follow my previously hectic and somewhat organised lifestyle. 

young man sitting on a balcony

 

Physically and mentally coping with the lockdown have been difficult tasks in themselves, being stripped of my social freedom and having all of my family and friends placed under a universal house arrest left me with an alien feeling. I knew from the beginning I would soon be bored of staying indoors and that I needed to find things to do to keep me sane. Luckily, I was a sales advisor at a local pharmacy (who were soon to make me redundant) and the position ensured that I had contact with other people in the outside world, rather than just the members of my household. The job encouraged me to have an early morning start and an active mind, for only one day a week.

For the other six days, my routine consisted of sleeping and waking up late. We were advised by the school to prioritise our health while also balancing the piles of work I was set every day - one day I realised that I had to change my bad habits to make sure that my time at home was not being wasted and to also make certain that my education would not suffer. 

I started to get involved in many extracurricular activities such as taking part in virtual employer talks and trialling virtual work experience, this allowed me to have an insight into various industries and be able to engage with employers and ask them questions from the comfort of my own home.

In addition to work experience, I took on a temporary three-week contract at an online marketplace where I served as a ‘Community Support Executive’. Here, I gained experience in customer service and learned how a technology-focused company operates (while also saving up some money). All of these experiences combined allowed me to build my communication, research, and time management skills to name a few.  

Some tips and tricks that I used to get back on track with my work and what I did to stay motivated now and in an uncertain future:

-    The first tip is to ensure you set an alarm for an early (but not too early) start - it may appear to be a very minor change, but making sure you wake up at the same time every day can do wonders for your motivation and productivity. It allows you to be wide awake for the beginning of the day so you can begin work as soon as possible and so you can finish early, giving you time to relax in the evening. It will also get you used to waking up early for school or college or university, because at some point you will have to go back.

-    The second tip is to find a hobby that interests you to do while you are stuck indoors, even if you may have to invest in it - it will help you in the long run. For example, I started teaching myself music production on my laptop, and it has kept me busy on the days where there is absolutely nothing to do. Your mood will also be better, remember, you have to find something you enjoy!

-    A final tip is to always take opportunities that are on offer, whether they are online university open days, virtual employer talks or even attempting to start a job or hobby. These will always help you build on your existing or new skills and will also differentiate you from the other thousands of other young adults in the UK, some fighting for the same position as you. Among this large crowd, you have to stand out.” 

“Most importantly, you have to remember that, at some point, everything will return to normality, whatever normality may be.”

Youth story written by Taran Saggu via Eurodesk UK Partner, IARS International Institute.


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