Making the Most of Lockdown - Advice From Guest Speakers

Posted on 01st May 2020 in Community, Guest Speaker, ESMS

Snowdrops and daffodils in bloom

Recently ESMS has had the pleasure of hosting some fantastic virtual speakers, talking to our pupils about how they are managing lockdown and giving tips on how to make the most of the time that is available to us in lockdown.

Mollie Hughes, an Edinburgh based explorer who is the youngest female to ski solo across Antarctica to the South Pole, gave our Sixth Form some insight on how to survive isolation during lockdown, drawing on her own experience of extreme isolation. The most important of these points was to give yourself headspace. This means giving yourself time to think without any distractions. This allows you to plan ahead, recharge, open up your creativity and explore who you are. She encouraged our community to try to use this time in isolation to work on positive goals and outcomes. For example, reconnecting with friends and family online, learning new skills and working out what we want from life.

The MES PE teachers have been inviting well-known sporting figures to join our weekly “MES Meets” sessions. Their first two speakers were professional squash champion Lisa Aitken and her teammate, 19 year old Georgia Adderley, an MES Former Pupil who ranks number 92 in the world and has joined the senior league. Both girls stressed the importance of adapting to the circumstance you find yourself in and focusing on what you can control and do. Georgia for example is practicing her serve by hitting balls against a wall at home since she can’t access a court, on the proviso to her parents that she will redecorate. Both girls are trying to use the time to focus on areas of their game that they wouldn’t otherwise have the time for. They are following a “What it Takes to Win” plan, something that will be familiar to ESMS PE pupils. This encourages you to look at the elements you can control at the moment, and to develop knowledge and understanding of how to apply your skills to succeed at a point in time.

Mollie, Georgia and Lisa all agreed that it was important to set targets and break down your time into chunks. For Mollie this was breaking the day down into one and a half hour sections, for example, skiing for an hour, having a break to eat or drink then continuing. This allows you to regain your focus. It’s equally as important to take regular breaks when you are learning from home, whether this is getting a drink or snack, getting some fresh air or chatting with your family.

Teenagers (and adults) might feel like they are missing out at the moment but Georgia and Lisa keep reminding themselves that everyone is in the same boat and this won’t last forever, something that is important to keep in mind. Remember to try to stay connected with family and friends – why not try running virtual 5ks, doing yoga together or online quizzes like Georgia and Lisa.

The boys at Stewart’s Melville College have also enjoyed a virtual talk with Jamie Ritchie. Other speakers for MES Meets have included Mike Hay, Chef de Mission for Team GB at the Olympics and Jill Douglas, broadcaster and journalist, with Lynsey Sharp, athlete and silver medalist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, joining MES Meets this week.  Future speakers for the ESMS community include Brigadier David Alfrey, who has been Chief Executive and Producer of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo for ten years, and Mark Little, a Former Pupil who will be giving talks on leadership. We are looking forward to hearing all of our virtual speakers.


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