Most of you by now are back in school and maybe wondering how summer disappeared so quickly. Hopefully, you were able to enjoy some down time with family and friends. A new school year comes familiar pressures and stress. There is the expectation of good grades and co-curricular activities. Maybe some of you are athletes and others have part time jobs.
For most, down time will be a very rare occurrence. This constant on-the-move life of a student can have hidden pitfalls and if you aren’t careful, you can get lost. I want to encourage you to keep perspective as you start each day.
Here’s some thoughts to keep in mind:
1) Unless you are the next Stephen Hawking or Serena Williams, someone will always be better than you! Guess what? It’s okay! Focus on being the best at being YOU! You are unique and special with your own set of talents and gifts. There is not another person in the entire world with your DNA or fingerprints!
2) You’re not perfect and neither is anyone else! Accept the fact you will make mistakes and other people will make mistakes too. Being willing to extend grace to both yourself and those around you keeps you from unnecessary angst!
3) People will disappoint you! They are human! Most of the time it isn’t intentional. Everyone gets caught up in their own lives. It’s okay to feel hurt, but please, don’t stay there. Forgiveness goes a long way in relationships.
4) Don’t be self absorbed! Everyone has stuff going on! Take the time to notice and focus on those around you. Stop right now and think about one or two people in your class who might need a friend. Don’t be involved in bullying and don’t stand by and watch it happen.
5) Most likely you have access to alcohol or drugs. Regardless of what is going on in your life, what academic or social pressures you may face, these substances are not a healthy way to cope.
6) Don’t be ashamed to reach out if you are struggling in any way. There are resources available to help. Parents, teachers, youth pastors and school counselors can to bring perspective to any situation. It is highly doubtful that your situation has never been encountered.
If you begin to experience anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts, you must reach out. Self harm is not a healthy means of coping. (You can also visit IASP to find a helpline in your country.)
7) Finally, give yourself permission to not do everything. It is okay to say no. You don’t have to be busy all the time.
Enjoy the journey!
About the Author: Paula Miles is a Member of the Irise Leadership Institute and a graduate of Clarion University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication. She is a leader in multiple education and religious sectors. Having spent years cultivating her skills and relationships through family, friends and Christian faith; iRise Leadership Institute allows her to apply her connections and many difficult life experiences to help eradicate suicide. Most recently, Paula was a contributing author to the anthology, Unsung Heroes; Deconstructing Suicide Through Stories of Triumph, published in December, 2016. Learn more about the Irise Leadership Institute.