Emerging into the new normal
At SMRS, we’re not skilled at manufacturing PPE or delivering respiratory care - but we do excel in connecting and communicating with people. So, we created a Living in Lockdown Project, where a panel of 16-25-year-olds shared their thoughts, opinions, hopes and fears about life right now and the impact it was having on their future. Each week, we checked in with them, running surveys and facilitating discussions to gain insight into any concerns, frustrations or sentiment shifts.
In the old world, pre-Covid-19, when we took for granted being able to hug a friend or wash our hands without counting the seconds, most 16-25-year-olds were mainly concerned about whether they’d get the grades they needed for their first-choice university. If they should apply for an apprenticeship or their first job. Whether to go for a graduate scheme or back-packing around Europe.
The ‘can-do’ generation have now become the ‘can’t-do hardly anything anymore’ generation. Milestones they’ve been working towards for years have been moved, and no one knows where to. Five-year plans look uncertain and there are few reassurances out there, as to what the future will hold. It’s a scary and, as the government is fond of saying, unprecedented time.
Through our sessions we discovered young people felt increasingly stressed, frustrated and in real need of support. Especially those who are in further and higher education. The lack of certainty was a significant stressor and B-TEC A-level students felt unable to prepare for their next steps. And as time went on, our panel discovered their own coping mechanisms, to navigate the stresses and unknowns.
“Have good days and bad days and often feeling quite stressed due to the uncertainty around university admissions. But recently I have been getting out of the house more and doing more exercise which has made me feel better.”
As talk increasingly turned to the lifting of lockdown restrictions, high levels of caution and concern prevailed, with over a third of panellists worried that infection rates will rise again. Yet, one thing emerged clear. A lot of people were looking forward to the start of university in September, and the structure it would bring to their day.
And that’s just a few snippets of what we found.
The future may seem uncertain, but the ‘can do’ generation are taking things into their own hands. Thanks to all of our participants, we’ve compiled all of the insights into a handy report. Take a look here.