I spent the first twelve years of my life in the comfort of my parents’ home north of Quebec City, where, I must admit, I had everything I needed on a “silver plate.” My life was pretty easy! The decision to come to Stanstead College in Grade 7 was mine, and my parents fully supported me in that choice.
So here I was, in 2019, at 12 years old, arriving at Bugbee House in a room of four, where my three roommates were from Mexico, Japan and China. A big change in my way of life: never alone in my room, strict schedule and rules, and “HOURS”!
My adaptation to this new life was extremely difficult, because I had lots of difficulties respecting the school rules. I am convinced that I represented a significant percentage of the total number of “hours” given to students during the first months! I even had problems with my advisor at the time, as it seems I was in opposition with almost everything that was expected from me.
Despite a quite difficult first few months, I kept to my decision and was back after the Christmas break. Things started to improve during the second half of the year but were still pretty difficult.
Then came the time to let the school know whether I was coming back for Grade 8. Again, supported by my parents and by the school staff, I opted to return because, deep in my mind, I knew this was the best choice for me.
From there, I realized that lots of my “problems” originated from my stubborn opposition mindset. I prescribed myself a few introspection sessions with my younger self, and this led me to initiate a slow but steady turnaround in my way of seeing things and in my way of living the life of a boarding student.
I got more and more involved in the numerous activities at school, started practicing and trying new sports, began respecting the school rules as best I could and made friends.
My first-year advisor, whom I had had issues with, became one on my Grade 8 teachers, and we developed a very good relationship starting from there. My new advisor was also quite helpful. With my difficult first year behind me, boarding life became easier.
I embraced every opportunity to enhance my social life, and Stanstead College gradually became my “home away from home.” I was always happy to go back to my parents’ place for long weekends and holidays but also always happy to be back here. With time, Stanstead College’s life became “my life,” and to this day I am enjoying it very much.
With so many nationalities here at the College and with the special character of this small school, I also discovered the importance of never underestimating the force of friendship to ease navigating in this microcosm. Your schoolmates may have had a similar problem and can be of great help and support in solving it. And the reverse is also true when the situation makes you in the position of the helper.
If you go through difficult times, be it because of school or for any other reason, do not let go. Make your bed every morning, challenge yourself to find at least one pleasant thing before you climb back into it in the evening.
Keep focused on the positive points and gradually you will experience two, three, four, then numerous pleasant things during each of your days. This will teach you that the sun always shines somewhere; you just have to discover how to find these places.
As the great Nelson Mandela once said, “Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
Take the hard shot when it comes, analyze it a little, but not too long. And then, get back up quickly. Never give up. All this can be summarized in one word: “RESILIENCE”.