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Freedom from fear or fear of freedom?

On July 19, aka ‘Freedom day’, most Covid-19 restrictions were lifted. After 18 months of uncertainty, binge-watching anything and everything, we can now technically walk up to a bar and order a drink. But for many, especially young people, it’s not that simple. What was normal before doesn’t feel normal now. How are young people feeling about these new freedoms? 

Published:

going back to school

boy smiles and looks to the camera in school uniform

The new normal 

After so long living with restrictions, many young people started to find positives from life in lockdown. They spent more time with family. They had the time to explore new hobbies. There was less pressure to fit in. 

One young person pointed out on Twitter, ‘I liked lockdown. I was at home with my absolute favourite people.’ Another posted:

I never thought I liked lockdown so much until the world started opening back up.

From zoom to IRL

One of the biggest changes for many was not attending school or university in person. For some students, lessons over Zoom made things more difficult. Virtual calls made them anxious or less motivated. For others it actually benefited them. 

‘I kinda hope we go back into lockdown because I don’t want to see people from university. I liked learning at home.’ 

two girls blowing chewing gum bubbles outside in sun

Young people's well‑being

Right now, children's well-being is at a ten year low. When problems start, they can't get help. When things get too much, they are put on a waiting list. We want young people to be happy and feel good about themselves, to be able to fight and not give up.

Preparing for university

Back to life

While children have been back in school for a while, many universities are only opening their doors in September. It is a big moment. Going back isn’t just about attending lectures. Suddenly there are new pressures to make friends, socialise, live independently. 

‘The first day of college after lockdown will not be fun! I need to prepare. The anxiety of meeting my friends scares me.’ 

two boys looking at a mobile phone

learning skills again

‘Think I forgot how to do makeup during this lockdown because I’ve just put it on and I look a million times worse than I did before.’ 

But not everybody is finding it so hard. The thought of being able to hang out with friends again is the light at the end of the tunnel. 

I can’t wait to go back to real life so I can see my lovely friends. I miss them.

‘I’m really excited, in a couple days I get my school schedule and I can’t wait to see my friends again!’ 

One day a time 

Every person has had a different experience of lockdown. It's been harder on some than it has on others. As things open up, we need to remember that there's still a lot of uncertainty. Things that were normal are now changing again. 

Not everyone will be excited at the prospect of going back to pre-pandemic living. But things will get better. Through our well-being work, we continue to be there for young people as they adjust to another new normal.