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The Furloughed Student

Female student holding notebook and pen

AAT student, Emily, is like many of our learners - adapting to change at short notice. She’s now re-prioritising work, life and study. We share her story.

When the government restrictions were announced, I was sent home the next day and given full pay until the end of March. It was a little bit unnerving as it didn’t look like it was going to be as simple as the government first said.

Our company told us a few things: that we were probably going to be put on furlough, that there might be redundancies, and that we should be ready to go back to work at any point! So there was a lot to consider.

I work as a manager of a wig shop, mostly for people with cancer or alopecia. We are part subsidised by the NHS, so many of our patients get prescriptions for their wigs.

Given the face to face nature of our company though, we obviously couldn’t work under the current circumstances. Working from home just wasn’t an option.

More time to study?

So being at home I thought ‘Maybe there’s an opportunity here. Maybe I can get through loads of my course stuff - when my son isn’t driving me mad’. I live with my young son you see. He’s at the high maintenance age.

So I tried it. I tried working through my AAT Foundation work, but I just couldn’t concentrate. Whenever I would sit down to study my head was somewhere else. Work, son, money furlough, the world, there were too many things to think about.

I realised I had to give myself time off to adjust. A week off. A break. So I did that and then went back into it a week later. It seemed to make the difference - I felt better. I think it’s because I allowed myself to establish an order and routine.

Back into the swing of things

When I managed to get back into it, I picked up where I left off. I carried on using the work books,and using some of the exercises to refresh. I went back over old ground and did some practise exercises based on the things I was familiar with.

So now I’m in a routine of doing a little bit every day, after I’ve put my son to bed.

To keep myself motivated I’m pretty much acting like my exams haven’t been cancelled, so I’m working towards my first exam and progressing as normal. But when the time comes, I’ll be ready. I’m at the start of my AAT ‘journey’, on the Bookkeeping controls exam - AAT Foundation Level.

A work in progress

I know it’s easier said than done as it’s hard balancing life, stress and study. The first week was ok for my son, but after that he started to get restless. Now he’s wanting to go to peoples’ houses or the park, so needs a lot of my attention.

This situation is very weird, you just have to roll with it, although it can hit you all at once sometimes. I’ll be fine one moment and then I’ll suddenly pause and reflect on it all. At that point it can be hard to motivate yourself. My Mum and friends help to bring me back down to earth though.

I’m also working on not taking time for granted. With this situation there is so much time, it makes it easy to keep putting things off and procrastinating. I’m getting there though.

We know there are many of you in similar circumstances to Emily, so if you need any support during these times do visit our Covid19 page or contact our student services team.