This pandemic made me a mother to my little sisters

Balancing helping my family with trying to reach university

Jada Browne
Jada Browne National Secondary Students’ Council (NSSC)
06 October 2020

What has made me feel better during this terrible time is learning to adjust to situations. I’m a very sensitive and emotional person and when I’m dealing with stress I usually get a loss of appetite, and I sleep more often. And this has been THE most stressful time. And right now I’m not feeling too well because I have caught dengue.

Fortunately, I haven’t gotten COVID-19. Unfortunately, though, because I was a contact and then they lost my test results, I ended up having to self-isolate for five weeks. I’ve cried a lot of nights, trying to figure out how I’m going to manage with everything and the deadlines in applying to university. I’ve been trying to get scholarships, and this required going to government offices to get the documents that I needed. But of course I couldn’t leave the house.

So while I was seeing all my friends move ahead with their lives, it felt like time was just ticking away on me.

Being unable to help myself as a student

My lowest point was not being able to do as much as I could do to help myself as a student – in my exams and then applying for university. That was when I tried to convince myself that I don’t want a higher education, when I gave up on my dream and told myself that becoming a dentist is not for me.

That’s the situation I found myself in, but of course that wasn’t going to get me anywhere. So I got up one day and decided, you know what, if this is the new norm, then I am going to try to work with it. This pandemic has pushed me right to the limit and with the stress I have had some breakdowns along the way.

But through all of this I’ve learned how to manage my time better and most of all to develop the multi-tasking skills of a mother. When school closed it was like I had a completely new role in life, like having to cut down on my social media time because I was having to split my time looking after my two younger sisters while my mom is at work.

A stronger family, and a stronger future!

She’s a single mom and through this I’ve also gotten to understand her sacrifices, and I’ve had to take some of the load off her – I got to step up and try to be her second person. Actually, I don’t think our relationship would have been as strong as it is now if it wasn’t for the pandemic.

Me and my sisters though, we are three completely different people! Because, oh my gosh, I think I met my sister’s during this pandemic. I mean, I live with them, we saw each other on weekends, but because we were at school every day and sibling rivalry and everything it wasn’t like it is now. I’ve got to learn a lot about them; and I hear them telling their friends I’m like their second mom.

Looking back on this, I am really happy I could be there for my family. Also I can now say, I am starting my studies at the University of the West Indies (UWI) to become a dentist!

Jada is an immediate past member of the National Secondary Students’ Council and graduate of Kingston’s Immaculate Conception High School. This is part three in a series of blogs by NSSC members sharing their experiences during this pandemic.

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