Marie Talks: That Class I Did Not Need

One day in grade nine I thought missing one day of a class wouldn’t hurt. It wasn’t a particularly important class, an elective if I remember correctly, and I would rather spend the time goofing off with my friends. It was a fun time we sat around talking and laughing, then when next block came around off I went to my next class. It seemed harmless at the time but then the opportunity came around again and it was easier to say yes and not attend my class. It became easier and easier to justify not going to class. I already had a reason whether it was that I was already ahead in that class, it wasn’t a important class like math or English, or even that I wasn’t missing enough and I could do the work at home.

Grade nine I missed a couple classes, not enough to put me behind though, and I still passed my classes. It wasn’t until grade ten that things started slipping, when cutting class was nothing to bat an eye about and had dodging school officials down to a science. I did not see the big deal, I could make it up next class.. which I didn’t always end up attending. By the end of the year I had failed a good chunk of my classes, and had to retake them the following year.

 All summer I told myself that I would get my act together and actually attend my classes and put the effort in. However that quickly changed and by November I was easily averaging the same amount of time skipping as I did actually attending my classes. By the end of that year I was probably leaning towards having actually skipped more classes then I had attended, and was no where near actually catching up. 

The following year I attended barely any classes and ended up being expelled from school in April. I had given up that year and it was painstakingly obvious. That next fall I had enrolled in a different school and although I attended more classes and was actually getting more work done, it didn’t work out for me.

Now with that being said I am not implying that if you skip class once you will automatically progress into utter failure as I did, I am stating what my choices landed me. I had a lot going on through those years and I did not handle it very well. Some people will skip a class or two here and there and will still average very high marks throughout their classes, and some will skim by. I made some bad decisions and am now living with the consequences of my actions.

To this day I am still finding things that are being affected by the decisions I made as a teen. The decision that impacts me the most is my choice to not attend and further more not complete high school. It has lowered my confidence in myself and hindered my job options just to name a few things that my decisions have lead me to. 

Before you skip class, whether for the first time or the twentieth, please remember that it does affect your schooling. You can potentially miss an important piece of information or a in class assignment, it impacts your attendance record, and skipping really does not have any positive impact in the long run.

Stay Proud. Stay Loud. Stay You.

Marie Olsson  

Madison Opinion on School Issues.

When it comes to school issue I think everyone has an opinion on something they want to change in the school system. I believe school need different programs for kids struggling with their school work, more programs for teen parents and the different support system they have for low income families. Those are my main concerned when it come to school systems, because those are the ones that really hit home for me.

When it comes to programs for kids who are struggling with school work especially in elementary in elementary school, because that is a really big one for me. I had a lot of trouble with school from grade 2 – grade 5 and a majority of my teachers didn’t understand what was wrong or what to do with me, because normal classes were too hard for me and no matter how hard I tried I was still doing something wrong. The best solution they thought would work was to put me into esl classes which did help but English is my only language so it ended up being too easy for me and I wasn’t learning anything, so I got place back into the normal classes again. I got picked on not just by student but also by my teachers too, I had been told so many times that I was just not trying hard enough, and you get told that enough times I ended up just giving up because I didn’t know what to do anymore. It wasn’t until grade 5 till my teacher realized that there were more struggling, so she made her own cralicume for us to work on. It was the same basic thing as the rest of the class just phrased a bit simpler, but it was easier but still challenging enough to have us a chance to learn what we were doing. After that experience is when I started gaining some self confidence in myself because she showed me that I was able to actually learn things is just processed it differently. I am more or a visual and hands on learner, so she taught me different way to succeed with my learning style. So if I could change anything I would want more of a middle grand for the ones like me who are struggling.

For everyone who doesn’t know I was a teen parent, I had just entered grade 12 when I found out. I was lucky enough since I wasn’t giving birth till closer to the end of the year so that how I got a spot in a school who offered a program for teen parents with a daycare on campus, but if I hadn’t then there was a 1 ½ year waiting list and I probably wouldn’t of been able to finished high school and wouldn’t be where I am today. To me I’m really thankful for how things worked out but how about the ones who didn’t make it in. I want more schools to help the mothers and fathers complete schools so they can better there future. I know some people will say that if more support goes up we be encouraging teen to get pregnant. But how about those people who are waiting the 1 ½ to get into those schools. And those are the people I want to help and want to give support to help and not have them wait such a long time before finishing their education.

Now when it comes to supporting for low incomes families. I am happy with what they have I just wish that they were just more well know such as if you are really struggling afford school also in different neighborhood that will help as much as you can. Or at Christmas time there are Christmas hampers that will help with presents and sometimes Christmas dinners. Like I wish these things were more well know or even more avalible to people who want I need the help. Yes, I understand the need for keeping things more quiet so some people don’t take advantage of it, but that also keeping it from the ones who actually need it.

I know some people will disagree and some will agree, if so write a comment down below I would love to here your opinion, also if you have any questions I’d love to answer them. I am really open or if you want us to talk about any other topics let us know.

-Madison Taylor

Education For Educators On Mental Health -Marie Olsson

“Kids are falling through the cracks and nobody notices it. That to me is what’s wrong with the school system.” – Melinda Gates

The educational system is rich in topics for us to learn: English, math, science, etc.; however it is lacking in the education on learning disorders and mental health for the school staff.  School can be difficult for youth as it is, which can be heightened further with undiagnosed issues or educators not understanding how they affect a student’s learning process. I believe if educators had a higher level of training in understanding how learning disabilities and (at least the most) common mental health diagnoses affect how one learns and/or focuses, along with how to spot them it could make learning easier for the youth that are struggling.

When I was in school I was going to see a therapist and I had fairly regular appointments, which unfortunately meant I had to leave early from class those days to make the appointment. The teacher I had that block was very understanding on the matter; however my vice principal was not as lenient. My vice principal one day pulled me into her office wanting to know where I went when I had to leave early, to which I responded honestly telling her I went to see a therapist and where my appointments were. From there she went on to demand to know who they were with and wanting to speak to them.  When I told her that she had no need to know that information, she threatened me with expulsion. For  her to talk with my therapist I would have to first give my therapist permission to talk with her, which I was not comfortable with. My vice principal pulled up the page of therapists who worked at the facility I was going to and was trying to figure out which one I was seeing, she went as far as to try and contact all of them, I felt like all my rights were taken from me at that moment. My parents were dragged into this mess that was created and it went from ugly to worse.

At the time I had not been officially diagnosed with anything specific besides ADHD, we were still working on diagnosing what we now know is bipolar type II but at the time had just labeled as depression. This is information I was not very willing to share with many people, nor was it of anyone else’s concern at the time, as it was not impacting my learning besides having to leave early from class. However it got me thinking that if that is how my vice principal handled my situation how would they handle another student struggling with a mental disorder. My vice principal’s blatant disrespect for the confidentiality between a therapist and client concerned me; how would they handle a similar or worse situation with another student.  Their careless, insensitive, and under educated approach to the matter could cause a lot of unneeded stress and damage to someone’s mental state.

When it comes to one’s mental health and how others actions affect the person dealing with a mental disorder it can feel like you’re running through a mine field if you are not fully aware of what repercussions your actions can bring.  Which is why I think the educators should be well educated on not only mental health but also the legal boundaries surrounding mental health. Whether or not a student wants to share that they are struggling with their mental health, the people we put in charge of their education should be fully aware of what boundaries (legal or personal) they cannot cross and fully equipped to help their student’s excel even if they are struggling with their mental health.

No one should be alone when they need someone there the most.  Sometimes having a teacher put the effort in making sure you have the tools you need to succeed makes the difference between graduating or not.

Stay Strong. Stay Brave. Keep Fighting Lovies,

Marie Olsson xx

Brian’s School Issues

School issues are becoming a big deal now a days, since there are a lot of struggles youth face from depression, to classes, and the struggle to fit into a group of new friends just to name a few things in general we all or some of us face. I’m here to tell you that it is normal to go through it. Growing up it was hard for me to fit in and make friends and be part of a ‘group’, I’ve been the type of person being alone all the time and didn’t talk to anyone at all. Everyone didn’t want to talk to me because I was the short kid with glasses and picked on because I didn’t do what everyone else was doing; I was like the goody two shoes that was made fun of. It wasn’t till I started to put myself out there and talk to people that I started to fit in; but even then I still struggled with that because I just couldn’t find the confidence to start a conversation. For a while I just stayed to myself and listened to my music everyday and I had a routine I do everyday while at school. It wasn’t until grade 10 that I started to have friends again; but I met the wrong crowd though, I thought it would be so cool to hang out with older people that smoke and skips school. I was labelled as the kid who hung out with smokers and skips but you know that was a choice I made it was my choice to hang out with those people because we all had similar views and interests and most of us went through the same life growing up.

 If you’re reading this I just want you to know that just because you smoke or skip school you’re not a bad person.  Don’t let anyone stop you from fitting into a group if you feel like you can connect to certain people even though they smoke and skip then to be honest that’s ok because it is your choice. We have all made and make bad choices in life, but don’t put yourself down just because you’re a smoker or you skip school with friend. People shouldn’t judge you for that everyone has their own crowd or group such as the drama class, dance class, the athletes, to the music class, the math class, the science class, ect… we all have different personalities and have our own views on people but if you think you are any of those groups you can fit in anywhere and don’t let anyone bring you down for that.

 I know it’s tough to find out who you are and to find which group you can fit into; but realize you can fit into anywhere and be part of a group by being yourself. You shouldn’t change so you can be liked and fit in because that’s not you if you have to act a different way. You can’t be someone you’re not just to fit into a crowd, be yourself and don’t let anyone bring you down. Stand up for yourself, you can fit in, be positive, and try to meet new people even. I think when you be yourself you can fit into any group or crowd, like yes it’s tough and hard to go up to someone you don’t even know because you don’t know who they are or what their intentions are but even a simple hi goes a long way or vice versa. I used to be shy but when I broke my shell and approached certain people it came naturally to me. Now a days I love talking to someone new and making new friends; because listening to someone new and hearing their life story it helps you to realize a lot of yourself.

– Brian O’Connor

School issues blogs – TIME

We decided we’re going to share our views on school issues. We are Canadians, and many of us have no experience with schooling outside of Greater Vancouver, BC. Therefore the issues we discuss in our blogs may not be entirely accurate in other places. Nor will they necessarily be true for every school environment. We are sharing our views on what our school experiences were lacking in or the struggles we encountered. As these are just our opinions and views, they are not meant to put down any school system, instead they are just to bring light to some of the issues we encountered.

Please leave your feedback and views on your schooling experience as we’d love to know.

Enjoy,
This Is Me Entirely

Ivybelle Opinion Piece on Self Harm

Self-Harm is a very touchy subject to a lot of people. It has been around for years and yet people don’t really understand why people do it or don’t really understand that there is more than one type of self-harm. There’s mutilation, burning, too much food or not enough, there’s drugs/alcohol, there’s lack of sleep or too much, and many more. A person doesn’t always realize what they do to themselves. People who starve themselves or have lack of sleep don’t realize that they are harming themselves because they think it’s a normal thing and that it doesn’t hurt their body.

The first thing people thing a person will think when mentioning “Self-Harm” is cutting or burning themselves. Self-Harm can not only be caused by a mental issue but also from bullying, harassment, Abuse, etc.. It can really push someone into harming themselves. Self-Harm is something that I know very well. I myself have struggled with it for years, mine was a combined of different harms including; mutilation, lack of sleep, lack of food and at some point I wanted to turn to burning myself. Not a lot of people knew because I didn’t want anyone to know. I was scared that they would tell my mom or they would make fun of me or send me into a hospital.

The first time I ever tried self-harm I was 10. When I was 10 years old, I got bullied really badly. I got called every name in the book, physically abused, people made fun of me because my mom was deaf and a girl started a petition of who wanted me dead. Eventually I started starving myself. Not only because I was being called ugly and fat, but because my mom was poor and couldn’t always afford to buy food. I stopped eating and I was afraid to tell anyone about the situations I was going through.

In gym class one day I blacked out and the gym teachers didn’t do anything. I thought to myself maybe no one actually cares about me after all. At that moment I didn’t really want to live anymore. With the years I just got the habit of starving myself without realizing that I was actually self-harming myself. I thought it was normal I didn’t think I was harming myself. When I was younger, sleep was not something that I would allow myself at times. The abuse I went through since I was 5 caused me to be paranoid and cause a serious trauma. I would stay awake for weeks and I would start having physical pain. Like cramps, headaches, my eyes would hurt, I was emotionally drained and eventually it didn’t matter anymore because I allowed my body to suffer because of my fear. With time, I didn’t have to force myself to stay up anymore and I wouldn’t get any physical pain because I got used to it. I didn’t realize the damage I was causing to my body.

In high school I was finally told by an old friend told me that cutting was a way for her to release pain and it felt good. I tried it and that’s what I turned to… I did it for many reasons. One of them was to focus my pain physically and forget the pain emotionally. I hated the feeling of pain. So instead I would focus on the physical pain because it was only temporary. Another reason as well, was because I felt ugly. I was bullied for years and people would always call me ugly, fat, useless, they said that nobody loved me even my mom. Eventually I believe it. Self-Harm was a way for me to express how I felt on the inside to match the outside. Another reason was that I became addicted to the pain. The pain felt good, It made me feel alive again.

When go through a lot of emotional pain and bottle it up, you eventually become numb. It’s like it becomes too much mentally and emotionally and you forget that you are even alive because eventually you don’t feel the pain of cutting or burning or any other type of self-harm. After cutting wasn’t enough for me, I wanted so badly to try burning myself. I came close to doing it until I got caught by a friend and gave me a speech about how self-harm wasn’t the way to deal with situations. At that point, bullying wasn’t the only problem. There was family issues as well. But then I thought to myself maybe I should just stick to cutting along with the other things I was doing to myself. See, even though people tell you to not harm yourself, it’s something that is not easy to stop.

Often you think to yourself that no one understands your pain, that they don’t really care about you, that they say it out of pity or that they would feel responsible if something happened to you. You think that you are alone, that you will never get through your problems that the easiest way to deal with it is self-harm to the point that you kill yourself or even become numb. Sometimes you would like to wear a t-shirt or shorts but you can’t because you don’t want people to judge you on the battle wounds you have or you feel too ugly because of the scars, yet you can’t seem to stop. It’s a way to relief yourself, a “home”, an addiction, your therapy.

A lot of people won’t understand why you do it. And really, it’s not something that’s easy to explain unless you go through it. Often people who self-harm are being called weak, stupid and even “useless”. I’ve heard that one many times,but it’s not. People who self-harm are a lot stronger than people think. They go through a lot and don’t know how to deal with it. It’s so easy to be judged. Not everyone has the courage to take a blade, knife, razor, etc… To their skin without thinking without crying and doing it over and over again.

Often people tells us that we are attention-whores, or we are a sad excuse. Sometimes were are just looking for people to pity us. That would wouldn’t be harming ourselves if we really wanted to end ourselves. However sometimes, people who starve/over eat, use drugs/alcohol, etc… Don’t realize they are harming themselves, so how can they be looking for attention- not everyone has money to get therapy. A lot of doctors would say that you need medication or therapy, but honestly, we don’t need therapy or medication to make us feel crazy. We need someone to give us a hug and tell us we will be okay and that we aren’t crazy. We need a true friend who won’t betray us, and no one wants to be a medication because they just think we are crazy and that medication will make people stop harming themselves.

Self-harm is a very vulnerable thing to admit and to talk about. Schools don’t really talk about it anymore. People choose to close their eyes instead of getting them some help. More and more people are turning to those releases because it’s the only thing that can make them feel free in a way. Today’s society is making us more and more depressed because of the standards or being “beautiful“ or  making us so stressed out that we feel like there is no way out. Today, I still struggling with self-harm. I’ve stopped for a couple years and every day is another day that I am struggling to not get into it again. It’s not easy. When I see a knife, the temptation is there. There’s morning and lunches that I skip eating and there are days that I force myself to stay up. It’s a battle that I keep fighting but I tell myself that I have to stay strong.

So remember people, stay strong. You are beautiful and it does get better. Don’t be afraid to get help. You are not crazy, you are just going through pain that is overwhelming and hard to deal with. You will get through it. Stay strong. Stay Beautiful. – Ivybelle – Xx