The Daily Telegraph

‘I’m about to turn 18 and should be enjoying my freedom’

- Ben Reed, 17, student

Our school prom was due to take place in a couple of weeks. There has been so much excitement and anticipati­on surroundin­g it. For us, it wasn’t just about marking the end of our school career, it was also about properly marking the end of lockdown.

One of the effects of all these restrictio­ns on socialisin­g means that people have become used to meeting up as a group of six – and now they tend to stick to the same small groups. This has made my year group as a whole feel more fractured, where it hadn’t been before.

I was hoping that a prom would bring everyone together again. So I’m devastated, as a result of the latest delay, it’s not going to go ahead.

Each year, we usually have a formal A-level graduation ceremony, which parents attend. It looks like that will still go ahead for my year – but with no parents in attendance. They will have to watch it being live-streamed instead. That will feel odd, especially as we’ve all faced such a challengin­g year and worked so hard.

I’m at an age where we should be enjoying our freedom, but it just hasn’t been possible to do very much. I have friends who had booked holidays abroad to celebrate the end of their A-levels, but they’re now having to make other plans. Lots of us turn 18 this year, which is usually a time for big parties – but not this year. After a long period where we could only see one other person, we’re just so happy that we can go out with a handful of friends again.

My 18th is at the end of August. I’m really hoping that by then I can finally celebrate properly after missing out so much.

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