The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

‘Keep pushing, we’re in this together’


Warracknab­eal’s Lily Eldridge, right, is among hundreds of Wimmera year-12 students attempting to complete their studies amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Lily has written a reflective piece about her experience as she looks to find positives – for herself and to inspire others – amid the challenges created by lockdowns and restrictio­ns.

Lockdown, something we all get frustrated with and sad to say we still get frustrated with it.

Yes, I know, the pandemic has stopped our lives and pretty much put them on hold. It’s taken opportunit­ies away from us that we may never get back. But even though it has taken away so many things from me, like year 11 and 12, swimming, time with friends and family and social events, I have decided to take this opportunit­y to take time to focus on myself and grow as a person.

There are so many things I have realised during this period, such as who I want to be and what I want my future to look like.

About a year and a half ago I thought my swimming was about to take off, but instead it was put to a halt, and yes, this did have quite a huge effect on me. But I now realise that if my swimming did take off it would have been even harder to reduce it now that I’m in year 12.

After the multiple setbacks I have had with the pandemic, injuries and my commitment to year 12, I have ended up coming out on the other side knowing that swimming is still something I want to do now and in my future. I’m proud to say that I’m a swimmer. I may not be where I was a year ago but trust me, I’ll fight to get back to that and I’ll fight even more to be better than that.

Look back on your time in lockdown and reflect, reflect not on the negative things but the positive outcomes. You may have started a new hobby, taken time to step back and relax, spent quality time with your family and maybe you have even had your own realisatio­n.

I know finding positives is hard but only focusing on the negatives is even worse, especially for your mental health, motivation and even your health in general – trust me I know. Through my own personal growth and moving away from home, I have had every opportunit­y free of judgement to be myself and surround myself with individual­s who are just as focused as I am.

Everyone who I have surrounded myself with on my new venture has different goals, hobbies, places they want to live, sports they want play, universiti­es they want to go to and so on. No one person is the same and I love it. It has opened my eyes up to the big wide world.

I now choose to be who I want to be and not worry about what society expects me to be. There are no rules about who you can and can’t be, so be the person that makes you happy. Take the time to find out who you truly are and make every opportunit­y to achieve what you want. Work hard for what you want, succeed in what you want, believe in what you want and most importantl­y be who you want to be.

Times are tough and especially now I feel for all VCE students. We have experience­d things that no one would have ever imagined.

There have been so many times where you want to throw it all away and even now individual­s are still considerin­g it, but look at it this way – we go to school for so many years to achieve what we have been dreaming of for years, so if you throw it all away you might not get into your dream university, college, or even get your dream job.

We have faced so many challenges and look at us, we’re still pushing through, the more hurdles we jump, the stronger we become as individual­s.

Even though this pandemic has taken away the two most important years of our schooling, it has prepared us for the challenges ahead and has made us resilient. We can look on these past two years in the future and be proud because we did something amazing.

Keep pushing on, we’re all in this together. Don’t stop fighting until we make it to the end.

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