The Speaker
Saturday, 20 July 2024 – 07:51

The Stay At Home Diaries: Samuel Gay

Our first Stay At Home Diary comes from Sam, 18, who has seen his time studying at Sixth Form come to a sudden end amid the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. Like thousands of other students up and down the country, his exams have been cancelled, and there is still some uncertainty about what happens next. 

This article is part of our series, ‘The Stay At Home Diaries’, published every day of the partial lockdown in the UK amid the Coronavirus pandemic. To find out more about this series, click here.


Sixth Form coming to an end is rather a shock to the system for, I think, all involved. The sudden manner in which it happened means it hasn’t sunk in. Although I know I’m not going back to school or sitting exams, I haven’t grasped the reality of it yet. Post 18 is an interesting one – I don’t have anything lined up but there are applications that are needing to be sent in, so I haven’t been affected a great deal but with the uncertainty surrounding final grades I can understand a lot of people’s frustrations and confusion, but with interviews there are questions to be asked about where and how these will take place.

Spending time at home gets very tedious after a remarkably short time. As I write this, we’re 12 hours into isolation and I’m already running out of ways to spend my time. There’s very little school work to do (don’t get me wrong, that’s not a complaint) and there’s a limit of how long I can play the piano before I drive both myself and my family up the wall. I’ve been glad of the opportunity to help some people by doing their shopping and getting their medication for them which is both good to be helpful but gives me something to do. A cycle ride after lunch gets some fresh air in the lungs and burns off the energy that would otherwise be wasted sitting on the sofa. I have found though; this is the perfect time to tie up all those loose ends of applications and finish all the little projects that have been started over the last year or so.

To pass the time when there’s nothing to be done I generally find myself playing games – Football Manager is a favourite as I find it can draw me in for some time without me getting bored which is very much necessary in these times. Reading a good book and listening to music is a good way to wind down and so I frequently spend the later part of my evenings doing this. Another fun hobby for me is cooking – it tends to relax me quite a bit so I’ll often stick a podcast on and make something to stock the cupboards up with!

Already, I miss having human interaction with anyone other than my parents. Video calls work, in one sense, but it certainly isn’t the same as actually seeing and talking to others in the flesh. When I went out to exercise, I realised I had to make a conscious effort to avoid people and keep my distance which I found more difficult than first thought so the thought of being able to go out and not worry about if I’m too close to someone is one that is highly anticipated. Until then, I feel we must sit tight and make the best of the situation…


  • Britons have been told by the UK government that they must stay at home, apart from some very limited exceptions. For further information, check
  • For our latest coverage of the Coronavirus pandemic and for links to official health information, check our Coronavirus page.
  • For advice on how to manage your mental health during these difficult times and for links to support, click here.
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