The last race is the hardest race

22 September 2020 | Education

A personal accountJOSEFINA ANKONGA



The year started smoothly, back then when everything was still normal. We went to school on a daily basis, we had events here and there, even a school LRC camp. I was certain that this was going to be the best year, as it’s my last year at school.

Then, in March, when our country recorded its first Covid-19 case, a lockdown was declared, stopping us from going to school, preventing us from going to events and so forth.

At the beginning I thought school would be closed and we would repeat grade 12 next year, when everything is better and we are more adapted to the situation.

Unfortunately, I was wrong, because we still got work from school via WhatsApp and at times, we would collect the work at school. We did not go to school for months, as lockdown was extended time after time as cases increased here in Erongo Region.

It was difficult having to focus in this chaos; to focus on school in times like this wasn’t easy at all. From fake news running through social media, and everyone having a different story regarding Covid-19, relatives losing their jobs due to Covid-19, education was not a priority for me, because I thought if education doesn’t guarantee job security, why do we go to school, why not educate us to gain financial freedom? These were all of the thoughts that went through my mind, all because of Covid-19.

When the face-to-face teaching resumed later this year, things were still not the same, because we didn’t get to see certain teachers as timetables were changed to accommodate two classes per group. As a result, we didn’t get a chance to get lessons for every subject. There were times when school would open and the next day, school is closed again.

This was the final knock, which swept me of my feet. The on-and-off situation regarding school didn’t sit well with me. Just when I was prepared and ready for school to start, it was closed; then when I got comfortable not going to school, school would start. I wasn’t mentally prepared for exams, my focus was on my safety and health. I remember I had the flu at school, days before our school recorded two Covid-19 cases, and I was scared that I might have the virus too.

There were times I would decide to give up on school, although society expected us to be fully functional, knowing that at any given day, one could contract the virus.

I had enough time to prepare for the exams, but my mind was not ready to focus, I would sit with my books open ready to start studying, then my mind would start thinking about Covid-19: What if I get the virus? Will they allow me to write my exams in a quarantine facility? Will I be able to study if I am sick? As a result, I failed in preparing for my exams, as I usually would if things were normal.

We don’t know what the future holds; we don’t know if the virus will go away any time soon, but all we can do is learn to adapt to this, take this as our new normal. Yes, we can cry, here and there as the going gets tough, but we won’t give up. I learned that God assigns His toughest battles to his strongest soldiers, so even if this is the hardest race, to run in, I am stronger and so are you.

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