Step into a new school year…..

August 28th 2017

Step into a new school year…..

As young people go back to school after the summer break, Marina Politis, one of our Jigsaw Dublin City's Youth Advisory Panel volunteers, wrote a blog post about her feelings about going back to school and how she plans to approach the academic year ahead... 

As we rapidly approach the beginning of the school year, for those of us going into exam years, it is assumed that this must involve some inherent sacrifice. About to start sixth year, the infamous 'one last push' is constantly being preached; it is time to buckle down, to focus on what is, supposedly, truly important.

When amongst fellow students, remarks regarding nauseating stress levels and just how head-wrecking the year to come will be are expected. It is assumed that the year will leave its toll on us. Those now finished, in hindsight, state that nothing would ever make them go back. The atmosphere surrounding what is to come is one of great negativity.

Instead, however, this year could be entirely positive and an opportunity to prove to ourselves that we can be resilient and face challenges. It can be a lesson in finding balance and whilst learning to maintain a level of discipline, we ought to understand where the healthy limits lie with regards to manipulating our futures. We should strive to be the best version of ourselves, but recognise that no exam results can be quantified to measure our worth.

Going back to school should be an occasion to better ourselves not only academically, but as a person in our entirety. I can be a bit of a perfectionist, and love to challenge myself and strive for the top, but amidst all of this, it can be all too easy to lose focus on what truly matters. Above all, I want to be happy and accept myself, and I know that, ultimately, a certificate and a combination of letters and numbers will not give me this. Dedicating time and energy to this part of me is something which unfortunately I still neglect, when it should be a priority, and I know that I am not the only one. However this year, I hope it to change that.

Thus, although sixth year does scare me, and brings about a lot of doubt, I want to transform this fear into something uplifting and beneficial. Where just a mere year ago, the goals I had for the future were concisely formulated, I now intend on being a lot kinder to myself, even if this leads to me going in a direction that I had never imagined for myself. I still have these same goals, but I know that if I am not in the right headspace, I won’t be able to appreciate them anyway, so succumbing to too much pressure and stress to achieve them is not worth it. There are so many options for the future, and something will always work out, so we can’t lose ourselves to a fear of failure, whatever this is, relatively speaking, because there is always something else waiting for us. This time next year, when I look back in hindsight, I want to have grown as a person, and have expanded my horizons, rather than having to become more narrow, having let the inevitable academic side to sixth year consume me. I don’t want to ever put my life on hold for what is only speculative or a possibility one day down the line, but instead, plan to make the most of every day as it comes, in the now.

Back to school – it can be a time for discovering new and consolidating old friendships, exploring further hobbies, and finding out who exactly we want to be and loving the person we are. The expanse of what the next nine months can bring is limitless.

If you have been finding life is tough at the moment, talk to a trusted adult in your life about what has been difficult for you. There may also be a Jigsaw near you who can provide guidance and support for young people aged 12-25 who are experiencing a difficult or distressing time. Check our website to find your nearest Jigsaw.  Alternatively, you can log on to yourmentalhealth.ie and search for mental health support services near you, or talk to your GP (General Practitioner) about supports in your local area.

Written by Marina Politis, Youth Advisory Panel Volunteer for Jigsaw Dublin City