Advice For Surviving School

Posted on 19 November 2014

If you’re having a hard time at secondary school and are experiencing self-harm issues, depression, bulling or anything that puts a strain on your day we’ve put together a list of advice and guidance we want to share with you guys. Hopefully these will help you or someone you know get through the hard times.

Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on a light – Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter)

Man, that wizard is wise.

So here goes…

Find your thing. Find something that makes you really happy. Whether that’s playing in the school orchestra, being the best painter in your art class or even the best friend you can be to your group of mates! Or try something new and you never know it could be the best thing you’ve ever done! Things like show choir, playing basketball, writing poetry or blogging and vlogging your life. Find your thing that makes you YOU. Be true to yourself, own it and love you for yourself. This will give you a purpose, a direction and something to look forward to every day.

Don’t worry about being different – you’re one of the best ones. Come the time when you’re leaving school and starting University, College or a job, you will be the most interesting and coolest person out of the bunch because you’re not like everyone else. You’re also accepting and understanding of everyone’s differences so can make friends with anyone and everyone! You’ve been there and come out the other end regardless of what people said about you being ‘weird’. As we grow up we celebrate and enjoy everyone’s differences (or find other people who do) so don’t be afraid!

In school, BE there for your friends and they in turn will be there for you when you need them. If they look like they’re having a bad day, give them 5 minutes of your time. Ask them if they’re ok and if they’d like to talk or even if they just need a hug and someone to sit with them. Showing you care can go a long way and will show that you’re paying attention to them. If there is something seriously wrong, then ask them if they want to speak to a teacher or student counsellor or if it’s ok for you to let someone know they are having a tough time.

Remember that people will be going through the same things as you in your form group, your class, your year, your school- or even in every school across the country. Reach out to people going through similar things to you and create your own support network.

Find a coping method – perhaps a supportive teacher, a school counsellor or your favourite teacher you know you could speak to. If you have a friend or a family member you can share things with who can talk to the school for you then speak to them as well. It could even be something like listening to your favourite music at break times in school or going to the art room and doing some sketching at lunch time. Whatever makes your day a little better! Try not to retreat into yourself. It will be a struggle at times but coping is about determination and pushing forward, until things get better for you.

Look at what support is available in your school for what you’re going through. There might be a mentoring system for people being bullied or an opportunity to speak to a student counsellor or a school nurse. Make your problems known and ask what the school can do about it. They won’t be able to help unless they know what’s going on with you.

If you feel like you’ve asked for help and you haven’t been taken seriously or no one paid attention or even followed up with a solution- try again or try speaking to someone else. Keep pushing through, because at the end of the day- you are the person who will save you. You are the one who will know when things are resolved to your satisfaction and when you are happy.

If there is no support at your school or if it’s not frequent enough – make your voice known. Ask the school to make it clear who you can turn to and how to get help. Ask for assemblies or if the school can include discussion on mental health in your personal social lessons. Ask for more student support services. Shine a spotlight on mental wellbeing and bullying. As well as helping yourself you’ll be trail blazing for younger students who may go through the same things as you. They will then know that someone cared and that they’re not alone all because you weren’t afraid to stand up and get that support for everyone.

If you’re in a really bad place because of bullying, your home life, or depression/ self-harm problems here’s some suggestions for how to deal with things on the spot

  • Walk away from anyone shouting at you, calling you names, or threatening you verbally or physically.
  • Let out what you’re feeling in a way that doesn’t hurt you or others around you. For example, screaming into a pillow, going for a really long run or scribbling  your feelings in a notebook.
  • Don’t physically retaliate on yourself or anyone else.
  • Practice feeling confident and good about yourself – ask close friends and family what 3 things they like about you and hold onto those each day. Write them in a diary and look at them when you feel down or when someone’s upset you.
  • Tell someone what’s going on. It’s true that a problem shared is a problem halved and can be a weight off your shoulders.
  • If it’s your friends in school that are causing you problems, then reach out to other friends or try and hang out with some new people who like you for you. It’s scary leaving your friendship group at first but when you find new friends that make you happy you wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!
  • Take charge of your life. You can’t control others actions or thoughts but you can be true to yourself and not put others down or make fun of others differences. Smile and spread positivity in your school.

There will always be positives and negatives in your life. Remember that school isn’t forever. Think about what’s negative in your life and get rid of it if you can- ask if you can change classes or join a new friendship group, take up a new hobby or focus on out of school activities. Channel your energy into things that are better for you. Focus on the positives in your life. One of my favourite things used to be to make a little poster or a list of things that cheer me up, or that I liked about myself, my favourite foods, TV shows, bands and interests, things that made me laugh, funny memories or anything you want. I’d look at it every day and remember the good things in my life and it would cheer me right up.

School will teach you a few things. It will show you who is worth bothering with in your life and who isn’t. It will help you appreciate what you do have. It will show you how to enjoy your friends, make great memories and will make you laugh a lot. It can, if you let it, give you a good education and opportunities for your future. It will help you identify bullies- and show you that they aren’t great people. They are usually cowards, filled with insecurities and trust me, you will get to a point where you feel sorry for them because they will always carry those qualities with them.

School will show you how strong you are and will prepare you for the real world. It will teach you to stand up for yourself. It will show you that bullies and depression cannot take away your childhood from you. School will make you strong, brave, beautiful and awesome. It will make you who you are in the future. All the bad and good in life will shape your personality and will mould you into the badass and brilliant adult you will be in the future. School will prepare you for everything that’s to come, and to me, that’s pretty exciting.