Hello everyone, I am Mary Howard, Leader of Catechesis and Ignatian Coordinator at Xavier Catholic College, Ballina, Australia. We are a Jesuit Companion School on the North Coast of New South Wales. Students have returned to face to face learning at school in the last two weeks. Here are some reflections on the experience of the pandemic, from Year 10, as part of the global student project “A Day In My Life Living Under Covid – 19” . Thank you.
A Day in my Life: Jasmine, 15, Xavier Catholic College, Australia
There are only social distancing restrictions in place but apart from that life goes on as normal. School has returned in full swing after two months of isolation. The sudden transition into self-isolation had a drastic effect on the lives of the population, who were suddenly working from home. Communities have undergone interesting changes with queues outside of shops, cafes and other public places being closed, and a vast increase in the number of people leaving their houses to exercise. Personally, my daily routine began starting at a much later hour and I’ve been able to spend more time doing the things I’m passionate about. The challenges of this situation were not being able to interact with friends, keeping up with the workload and being around my family all day every day. The gifts and graces of this situation are I’ve been able to take a big break from life and centre myself again. I am extremely grateful that Australia acted quickly and was as lucky as it was. I feel excited about the future but a little sad about all the despair the world is currently suffering. I’m looking forward to spending time away from home and reconnecting with everyone and thing I love. Our society should learn that teamwork and unity are what is necessary to make a nation function. Gratitude should also be more appreciated and put into actions. I’m concerned about going back to normalcy as what is ‘normal’ for society isn’t necessarily kind or fair on people. I’m hoping people have used their time in isolation to grow and mature as it was a precious time that most likely won’t occur again in our lifetimes with any luck.
A Day in my Life: Aimee, 16, Xavier Catholic College, Australia
COVID-19 has heavily impacted the world in a variety of ways, and depending on each country a number of implements to society have been put in place in order to suppress it. Australia’s response to the virus has fluctuated, with most schools closing down and social distancing practises varying. These changes have altered my daily routine greatly as outside of school activities and jobs have been put on hold in order for the eradication of the coronavirus. My usual three-times weekly basketball practice and games were changed to zoom meetings, and my local job closed for deliveries only, meaning I received no work.
Not being able to see friends and other family members, as well as the interruption to daily routines, are some of the challenges I’ve faced during this pandemic.
However, self-isolation has proved to be quite a family-bonding experience, and I found I was able to control the school work influx so that I was on top of work. Unfortunately, as much as I would like to have the consolation that I’d taken the time off to relax and look after myself, I do not feel like that is the case, as I have felt unrested and occasionally stressed.
On the whole, the situation society has been put in has made me realise how unpredictable the world, and life, is. It has made me value the time outside of isolation, and has helped me to not take for granted the little things in life. You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
I deeply hope that the coronavirus will not affect our lives any more than it has already; for the whole world to fight as one against it.
A Day in my Life: Ruve, 15, Xavier Catholic College, Australia
Everyone’s life had changed during this pandemic, people have lost their jobs, companies have gone into liquidation, lives have been lost and it’s easy to say that the world has been flipped upside down. My life and I know every single person’s life has changed, whether its work, school, the connection in social aspects, mental health and many more.
A day in my life during Covid-19 consists of school work, social media, family time and physical activities, that was of course before I was back at school full-time. I’m very grateful and lucky that I wasn’t or nor as my family affected drastically during this time. My mum wasn’t able to continue working, however, my dad was and even I had the opportunity to work a few shifts throughout the two months off school. This gave me a sense of normality to my normal routine and allowed me to leave the house occasionally. For the first few weeks, the school was online and then we had three week holidays and I found myself bored out of my brain, going in between movies and social media was all I really did. Most of my time was spent on a screen and I noticed that was, of course, an issue and tried to do as much physical activity and once the restrictions were lifted slightly some socialising with friends, like going for walks, which really boosted my mentality towards this whole situation. A day in my life, once term 2 began usually consisted off, waking up, making breakfast, going on my phone and chatting to friends and watching tv before school began for the day. I typically tried to begin at 9 am. I usually got all my school work done at 12-1 pm each day, I would then have lunch and have a break from schoolwork. Then around 2 pm, I would try to do some physical activity whether that was a 30-minute workout or a walk with my dog. Then to finish off the day I might facetime my friends or watch tv or spend time with my family.
I’m grateful for social media and the ability to reach out to my friends and stay connected with them. Zooms with my extended family, face-timing friends, playing games with my friends online and watching movies together at our own houses was lovely and really helped my mental health stay stable. Reflecting back on the two months spent a home there were many positive and negative aspects. I did enjoy the alone time to an extent, and I really enjoyed virtually hanging out with my friends. I missed seeing everyone and grateful we are back to school. I loved working out and spending time and playing games with my family. Overall, I’m happy most definitely happy that Covid-19 restrictions are lowered slightly and we are back at school.
A Day in my Life: Zac, 15, Xavier Catholic College, Australia
My typical day during the Coronavirus pandemic is not extremely different to any other day in my life. I wake up, eat breakfast, have a shower, and go for a surf or a skate. Things around me are definitely different, but it’s only little things, like sanitising my hands before I walk into a supermarket, or being cautious of hugging and touching all my friends when I see them.
I think one of the positives of being put in a situation where I had to isolate myself, is that I got lots of time to reflect on my life, and about what I can do to make it better, for example, appreciating the fact that I get to see my friends everyday and get a good quality education.
I feel like during this pandemic, with the lack of cars, planes, trains, boats; the world has had a break, and it feels cleaner. I think we should continue to minimise the use of things that produce pollution, because even after a couple of weeks without it, the world has been refreshed.
I hope that the world comes out of this situation smarter, and strong enough to make the decisions we need to preserve our world.
A Day in my Life: Cooper, 16, Xavier Catholic College, Australia
Covid 19 happened for me right after a death in my family so at the start it was overshadowed by that. Looking back now it would have been hard for my family to visit them in hospital during Covid so that’s the bright side.
After that my family went heavy into being safe with Covid because my family is quite valuable. I was pulled out of school but luckily the school holidays started so the schools got a chance to make a plan of action.
When homeschool truly started I got into a routine that built from that point. Every day at 7 I would ride or walk around my home estate, then on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I would do boxing with my family in the backyard. During school days I would work from 8.30 to 12.00 in the middle of the day. After 12 I would use the rest of the day to socialize with my friends by voice chatting and playing games online. The school would get us to attend many zoom meetings that only repeated what has already been sent to us. I find myself lucky in the fact that I like to play video games a lot and have strong online connections with my friends being able to hear their voices. I have always been comfortable being at home.
Some things I do miss are going to restaurants and movies with friends and family. That is a day in my life during Covid 19.
A Day in my Life: Poppy, 16, Xavier Catholic College, Australia
Covid-19, it was a global pandemic infecting and killing thousands of people across the world. In Australia there have been 7,109 confirmed cases but out of that many we have had 6,506 recoveries and only 102 deaths, compared to the USA with a stagering 1.68 million confirmed cases and only 342k recovered, they have also almost hit 100k deaths. It was scary but I knew I would be fine as I am young and have a healthy immune system but it worried me for other families.
During these hard and difficult times I feel my life has changed drastically with challenges to overcome, I have only begun my first day back to school after nearly 2 months of doing online school, I lost the routine I finally got the hang of after weeks of struggling cause I had just started a new school. One of the biggest challenges I feel I had during this time was my mental state. I felt trapped with thoughts and felt really alone cause I couldn’t see people and interact with them, I had loads of anxiety and really tired constantly not a lot of motivation. The school work did not affect me that much of a challenge. Teachers were quick to respond and help so It was fine, nothing too hard. I was really grateful to have my mum there. She really understood what was going on and helped and tried her best to make me as stress free as possible. I am really worried and concerned for other parts of the world that are dealing with the current situation as they aren’t as low in cases and death rates in fact they can be really high up, and it worries me that some countries leaders are not taking it seriously and are making no rules and are not taking the action in time. To be really grateful for the things we have like where we live and our food sources, everything really in their life. My concerns are for families that are not coping with this well, it being they do not have enough food for them, no income, struggling with school work or mentally.
A Day in my Life: Hayley, 16, Xavier Catholic College, Australia
In the past few months, the world has undergone massive changes, altering the way we all go about our everyday lives. Personally, I have not been directly impacted by the virus as there have been no reported cases in my town. News stories and information on the media have provided me with my knowledge on the pandemic due to I, my friend and my family members not being directly affected. There have been several cases of the virus in towns surrounding mine and I am extremely grateful to be in a safe and controlled area.
There have been many changes to my life due to the pandemic. In the beginning, I only heard about the virus on the news but it was just overseas so I didn’t really think anything of it. After a short amount of time, people began to talk about it at school and at home and it became more of a worry. These changes were gradual though with schools and public facilities shutting and then eventually state borders closing. People were only allowed to drive cars and go shopping if it was essential and were only allowed to leave their houses for exercise once a day. It was strange to see such a small amount of people out and about but I knew it was a good thing.
Being at home now, I have found that I am no longer taking things for granted. I realise how lucky I am to have a safe home to be in during this time with continuing online education and a supportive family. This experience has enabled me to strengthen many of my friendships and relationships through social media and has taught me to be grateful for having access to these resources.
Through online classes, we have continued with our regular school schedules. Although proving to be challenging to adapt to, having these online classes has provided me with the opportunity to develop a stronger sense of self-discipline and determination. As the number of reported cases in Australia has decreased, we are now gradually going back to school and being able to see everybody again, including my friends and teachers is very exciting.
A Day in my Life: Zoe, 15, Xavier Catholic College, Australia
I am extremely lucky that my life in Australia is slowly moving back toward reality as the COVID-19 outbreak is being effectively managed and the cases are reducing. In the earlier months of this year I struggled with the challenges of social isolation and the lack of physical connection. Being only allowed out for essential purposes and exercise, this change of rules affected my mental health and I was lonely sometimes.
However, many graces and memorable experiences emerged from the situation; my family definitely grew closer, I kept good connections with many friends over social media, and online school created new opportunities and pathways for learning. During these months I built on my emotional self and realised how privileged and grateful I am to live beside nature and the beach.
I think society is beginning to understand the true importance of life and that happiness is not materialistic. The COVID-19 crisis has created caring communities where people look out for others, outlining how humanity can live with simplicity and make it through tough times together as one. Although our future will forever be changed, both negatively and positively, this year has and will be a time of growth and reflection.
A Day in my Life: Maija, 15, Xavier Catholic College, Australia
I live in a small suburban town so when we started hearing stories about a new disease spreading around the world, we were shocked, nothing like this hs ever happened to anyone I knew before. While there are comparatively few cases and deaths in Australia and there are no active cases in our region, the world has changed dramatically for me and everyone I know in a matter of months. What began as a storm of news stories and rumours spreading through school and home, has turned into a period of uncertainty, shutting down our normal lives, and separating ourselves from our loved ones to keep the community safe.
After the first cases were reported in the towns where my school and work was, it took only a few days for change to set in. At school we stopped hugging our friends and working in groups, slowly people stayed home as classes were transferred onto a screen. I had to constantly clean at work, and few costumers came in. My parents were worried about me handling money so I stopped going to work too and a few days later it was closed. I began learning from home, at first it was a bit daunting, an endless stream of emails, a barrier between me and my teachers even though we had video calls every single day.
After a while I settled into a rhythm, and even found that I was able to do even more work from home, comfortable and without distractions. Both my parents still went to work and my sister did online classwork in her bedroom so I didn’t see much of anyone, except in the mornings and at the dinner table. It soon became a challenge to remain socially active, contacting my friends through social media just wasn’t the same as hanging out in person, I missed my friends more than anything. I became lonely and felt as though I could no longer connect with the outside world, I realised how much I took the sociability of school and work for granted.
However during this time I found more hobbies and ticked movies off my ‘must watch’ list. I also began to exercise more, anything to get out of the house and stretch my legs. I walked along my street, which was pretty much empty, apart from a few dog walkers but I enjoyed the fresh air. I also lived a few minutes from the beach and when my parents were home we would go for walks on the beach which I am extremely grateful for. I also grew closer with my family and bonded over things we have never even talked about before.
As restrictions ease around Australia, and my school along with stores and businesses has opened again, I have realized just how grateful I am of my friends, family and freedom. I think that instead of aiming to get the world ‘back to normal’ we should strive to live life more graciously and learn from this tragic event so that, should something similar happen again, we can be more prepared and prevent more suffering. I hope something like this never happens again, at this scale but I am grateful for this learning experience to develop my appreciation for my life.
A Day in my Life: Ewan, 16, Xavier Catholic College, Australia
COVID-19, the cause of the largest pandemic of the last century, has had an everlasting and powerful impact on all of our lives. For a long period over the last few months, there were constant updates, with rushes to stop the spread of the virus and reports on the latest cases and deaths. You can depict the ramification of this pandemic based simply on the sheer amount of news media directed at addressing it; at every hour of every day, there was at least one news station reporting on the virus.
In Australia, we are lucky enough to be able to consider ourselves quite safe, with no more than 8000 infections and just over 100 deaths (which is still a concerningly large number). The prime minister, Scott Morrison, and the state premiers have effectively addressed the pandemic with potent strategies, precautions and tests. We are entering a period where we are able to restart normal activities and reform the routines that we are so used to.
Over the past 9 weeks, the changes in societal rules and regulations have had massive impacts on my daily routines. First off, we had no school for 7 weeks excluding the holidays, so we had to do an online learning and put the face to face approach to the side. The leaving of the house was also limited as we were placed in quarantine. Ultimately, with the working from home and not leaving the house led to a steep new learning curve that was somewhat approachable and tacklable.
The challenges and gifts. Some of the challenges or desolations include: lack of social contact, limited learning capabilities, restricted online contact with teachers and a completely new routine. Some of the gifts or consolations are the fact that I have developed the ability to work from home effectively and plan my own day out (in relation to schooling). Whatsmore, I was able to develop some new skills whilst in isolation, such as some card tricks.
This pandemic has quite ironically given me time to think about the world I live in and the future that lies ahead. It is quite worrying to know that these things can happen to this day and it is a very real problem. It is also important to think about the economy and how we will recover, as well as our relationships with other countries. I also hope society learns a lot from this pandemic, such as the importance of personal hygiene and how it is essential to keep your cool and not do things like panic buying.
A Day in my Life: Brodie, 16, Xavier Catholic College, Australia
The news of Coronavirus first arrived in Australia as some ‘mysterious’ virus that was spreading quickly. It was very apparent that this would affect us all. Australia acted very quickly to start restrictions, but although these restrictions were harsh, they ultimately helped us to be in the great position we are today. Covid 19 has dramatically impacted the routine of school age children. My school routine was impacted greatly. Firstly there were rumours about school closing and then it was announced. Online learning was a challenge in many different aspects, but keeping a routine was key to getting through lockdown. I tried to start and stop school at the same time while doing exercise in the morning to feel refreshed after being inside all the time. Although there were many changes a similar routine could still be maintained.
Being isolated at home definitely had challenges, but also presented many positives. Challenges that were faced in this time were not being able to have face to face classes and also having to ‘teach’ concepts to yourself. I certainly did not realise how much is gained from face to face teaching and also how asking questions is key to solving problems. But, to me, the positives for myself outweighed the challenges. I was very grateful for the amount of time I was able to spend with my family, since we were all together. I didn’t realise how busy we all are everyday and taking a step back to look at my life and routine from a different perspective was really beneficial.
Our society has many things that we can learn from the experience gained at the hands of Covid 19. I think that for Australia it is important that we become more independent as a country, to have a security for our future. Becoming a more independent country such as manufacturing goods here is a lesson learned. I hope that society can return to some normality in the future, while also being more conscious about our health and the decisions we can make to improve it.