REFLECTIONS AND TAKE-AWAYS FROM OUR MONTHLY SERIES, A TALK IN THE PARK.
The planned discussion for A Talk in the Park in June 2019 centered around finding balance in high school experiences as well as life beyond high school.
How does a student keep it genuine, concern himself only with his own unique needs, and avoid being swayed by the things that everyone else around him is doing?
It is easy to get caught up in thinking that one ought to follow the college and career plans of the majority, but we appreciate the reminder that everyone’s future needs are going to look different. How does a student go about finding his unique path while keeping this in mind? Our panel of former Severna Park High School students included Gabby, Lily, Izzy, Julia, and Sean.
Student panel member and opening speaker Gabby shared that as early as her middle school years, she longed to attend William & Mary University. When she did not receive an acceptance letter from William & Mary, things took an unexpected turn. Gabby somewhat reluctantly opened her mind to the prospect of college life somewhere else other than her “dream school.” Her guidance counselor suggested that she consider Elon University.
Gabby had a positive undergraduate experience at Elon, meeting lifelong friends and faculty mentors, and discovering her passion for civil rights work. She went on to pursue her law degree at, of all places, William & Mary. The challenges she faced during her college selection process helped her to develop a strong sense of resiliency. Her “failing forward” lesson was well-received.
We took note of Gabby’s advice about the Pumpkin Spice Latte (“PSL”) mindset. Work on your “Personal” character first, then second priority is your time as a “Student.” Finally, that third priority is “Leadership.” Of most importance is your own personal self care, then your studies, and finally your additional leadership positions or extracurriculars.
The panel of students were all in agreement that there is nothing wrong with simply being good at one thing, rather than being involved in many activities and potentially juggling too much at once.
Student panel member Julia encouraged the students in attendance to “know yourself.” Understand your own limitations, and involve yourself in activities and classes that feel right to you. Explore some standard classes that sound fun or interesting to you.
When asked for tips on relieving the stress that many of today’s students face, the panel agreed that it is helpful to get involved in your school and community. Attendees were encouraged to consider joining the Unified Sports program at SPHS, a church or youth group, retreats, and meaningful clubs such as Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.
The panel commented to the attendees that they saw hope in the fact that this conversation was even taking place. They said they rarely had opportunities to discuss such topics in an open forum like Parenting for a Different World’s A Talk in the Park. It is a great start.
One parent shared that it would be wonderful for our children to simply be told more often, by families as well as school administrators, “You are enough… just as you are!”
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