The graduates of our Elevate programs have the opportunity to share their progress in the program with their peers, teachers, family and friends, and we’re excited to share one of these incredibly impactful reflections with you.
Graduate, Term 3 2023
“I signed my name on the paper, unsure of what to expect. Twenty SACE points marked a gleaming space in my mind. Skipping an entire day of school, spending the day with my friends and not having to wear my uniform. Frankly, these were the reasons why I applied, so you might be able to imagine the shock I felt upon realisation that these were NOT the main factors of Youth Opps.
When I arrived on the first day (in the outfit I spent way too much time picking out) I had no motivation (not even 0.00001%). “This is going to be a breeze” was what I thought to myself and I have to admit, I could not have been further from the truth. During my time at Youth Opps, I’ve had to hold myself accountable, push myself out of my comfort zone and do things that I would never have been able to imagine myself from a couple of months ago doing.
The three main goals I wanted to achieve were to have a clearer future direction, reduce my procrastination, and be more motivated. These goals all tied together and negatively impacted both my learning and personal life. Without motivation, It was easier to procrastinate and since I had no idea what I wanted for my future, there was nothing to be motivated for. I have always wanted to overcome these and have always known I could, I just never took action. “I’ll do it later” might have been the perfect quote to sum up my life before Youth Opps. Once I realised the main goals I strived for, the rest became much easier.
Every Monday, we were taught new strategies – some of these helped, others not so much which helped me determine which strategies I needed for my personal growth. One of the most helpful was forcing myself to study for 5 minutes a day. This worked because once I started, I simply could not stop. I also used a to-do list, focus blocks, researched careers on websites such as myfuture.edu.au, and visualised myself in different careers in order to see what I preferred.
I wanted a clear future direction as I will be entering senior year next year and have to choose my subjects based on who I want to be and what I want to do. What I didn’t want was to become someone who only picks subjects because they sound fancy and not because they will enjoy it. Procrastinating ties into this because I want to show my teachers that I am reliable and I won’t be able to do that in a subject that I have no motivation to do. Furthermore, in the future, many tasks will have a deadline and missing it can result in consequences that I don’t want to have to experience.
After joining Youth Opps I had a newfound motivation as a direct result of slowly applying myself to the process. Initially, it was difficult – saying you will do something vs actually taking action are two very different things – but the outcomes you will receive are also very different. Once I saw the end result of my hard work and perseverance, I fully applied myself. It wasn’t just me who noticed the benefits of the results.
The point where I really noticed how far I’ve come was after I submitted an assignment 1 day before the due date. From an outside perspective, it doesn’t seem like much but as someone who starts assignments 1 hour before sometimes even the day after, it is a big accomplishment. My family noticed I was less stressed, fewer teachers were asking me about my missing work and of course most importantly, I noticed and I was proud of myself.
Currently, I am still working on building my strategies into habits by implementing them consecutively. So, I still come to class wearing an outfit I spent way too much time picking out, but, moreover, I also now wear a newfound sense of happiness and clarity.