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In this week’s Assembly, Year 11 students Lucy and Willa shared their experiences of overcoming challenges and building resilience. Their stories about embarking on new and scary opportunities teach us how taking risks and persevering can result in such rewarding growth and development.
I had an opportunity to go on French exchange last summer.
I took it and had no idea what it would be like living with another family in a foreign country.
After the first week of 32 hours of travel, the realisation that Year 10 French didn’t make me fluent and attending school where I did not understand a single word, I was faced with a choice:
Option 1: Cry.
Option 2: Show grit.
I did cry, but my passion for French and perseverance in an alien situation led me to take option 2. I know that if I hadn’t pushed through the challenging moments, I wouldn’t have had such a life changing experience. There were moments when I thought, ‘What on earth am I doing?’, especially when I saw Instagram photos of my friends at the beach. At the end of the two months though, I felt like I had pushed myself and really accomplished something. By trying to speak in French and being willing to fail, I found resilience, a better understanding of myself, the French language, and a French family for life!
I had the opportunity to leave Wenona for Year 9 and attend a year program in Victoria at a boarding school called Timbertop. Leaving home for a year was daunting, but it is the best decision I’ve ever made.
This experience taught me that if I hadn’t thrown myself into something that terrified me, I wouldn’t have had such a rewarding year.
The school was challenging both physically and mentally, whether it be through hiking, skiing, running or academically. The challenges would seem impossible at the time, but I always managed to get through them.
At times I missed home and its comforts, but it was these times that made me tough and to keep going. This experience taught me that the only way to get through challenges is to stretch beyond your comfort zone and this has remained with me since returning to Wenona for my final years of schooling.
It’s important for us all to remember to try and take every challenge in our stride. If we come face to face with conflict or failure, remember these are the years that it’s okay to mess up or fall short, because this is how we grow.
We feel so lucky to have had these challenging experiences because from them, we have developed resilience and perseverance. We encourage our fellow students to take opportunities they are given, as scary as they seem, because this is how we learn and develop. Things like a bad assessment mark or not making a sporting team can bring us down. But the key is to be resilient, take it in our stride and bounce back.