We recently released our latest commercial for Memories which follows the story of twins who are about to embark on a new chapter in their lives as they head off to college.
As an adult I look back on my childhood with the reassurance that I was given the best opportunity I needed in order to go out and fulfil my life’s potential. However, for the last 2 years, the next generation of soon-to-be-adults have had to face all sorts of unprecedented challenges:
the uncertainty of when they can go back to school
ongoing learning via video calls
pressure to stay motivated despite being away from the usual educational environment they’re familiar with.
I question whether this will forever have a knock-on effect. Could it be that whenever something doesn’t quite go to plan, Covid will be blamed? Or will many of these youngsters have learned a whole new level of independence and resilience that, otherwise, they may have had to wait a further decade to attain, thus making them stronger and better prepared for adulthood?
I reflect on my university experience. It was predominantly practical and we had limited lecturer input throughout. You could argue that this lack of direction may have hindered our chances of achieving the most from our time at University, whereas I actually look back with fond memories. Firstly, it gave me the breathing room to develop and grow into the creative I am today and secondly,it taught me how to independently work towards a goal I’d set out to achieve. I believe these skills helped me go much further in my career especially because the person I was before my time at university was very dependent on others.
As part of my course, I had to do a week’s work experience. I can say, without doubt, it was one of the worst weeks of my life, due to it being so incredibly dull and boring. I was given zero tasks to do because the boss was away and my colleagues saw it as a week off. Ultimately, I spent most of my time playing Minesweeper and watching the clock. I have never seen time move so slowly! The employer had a duty to provide experience — they didn’t. However, on my final day when I was heading home, my friend invited me to a party. The feeling of liberation, joy and relief that I felt was in such a stark contrast to the week leading up to it. The party was the perfect way to sign off and I had an incredible time. On a usual day the party perhaps wouldn't have been perceived so favourably, but this awful week gave me a new perspective.
You could argue that every experience has a positive or negative spin, and it’s our perception that determines what we remember. So, rather than focus on all the reasons why Covid has created such a headache for so many over the last two years, we can reflect on the skills and personality traits we have gained by having to go through this ordeal.
“If suffering is inevitable, if our problems in life are unavoidable, then the question we should be asking is not “How do I stop the suffering?” but “Why am I suffering — for what purpose?” — Mark Manson.
We could forever ask ourselves, “Why did this have to happen?” Or we could instead say, “It’s happened, but look at me now!”