Today is GCSE results day in the UK (when the results for the national tests that 16 year olds sit are released). For many teenagers it’s a deciding moment for their future, so here at Our Happy Notes I (Millicent – the founder) have compiled some reminders and steps to help students, or otherwise, try and face the future with a positive outlook:
— It’s alright to feel daunted by the future and it’s uncertainties. If you are feeling like it’s impossible to go on then please reach out. An activity that I find really helpful is listing all the small things I enjoy or am looking forward to, and building from there – although it’s not a quick fix. Even in the darkest pits of despair and worry it is possible to find goodness in life; it doesn’t have to be much at first, but you do need to try and focus on it. For example, I enjoy the smell of rain much like I enjoy the smell of freshly cut grass. In the future I can look forward to experiencing these smells again. It’s small, but it’s something that makes me happy, and somehow by thinking about it the future seems a little less daunting and impossible because I have found a thing of comfort to focus upon. From there you can build.
— No one gets to define you; you are enough just as you are. You are so much more than your grades or your job or your appearance, and you can empower yourself to make positive changes and adopt a different mindset, should you so wish. I have found writing a diary instrumental in forming my sense of identity by allowing me to reflect.
— Change can take time, as can adapting to it. This may not be in itself a comforting thought, but it means we are provided with even greater opportunities for learning, development, and growth within this time.
— If you believe in yourself, so much more is possible. Not everything though – for example just because I believe I can fly does not mean I won’t be affected by gravity. Nonetheless, when we believe in ourselves I find that doors start opening for us. Or perhaps they were always open but we were blind to them? Of course belief on its own is not enough; there must also be a level of effort and planning, but at the very least it will make you happier in your own skin.
— Not everyone’s journey is the same; you must do what is right for you. This means for your wellbeing, mental health and dreams. The future is yours to shape of it what you will.
— We all move at different paces, what matters is that you are moving at all – or even thinking about it. Take one day at a time.
— You are allowed to be unsure what you want to do. This doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to figuring it out: write a list of things you enjoy or want to try for a start, and if you can’t think of any then have a look online or in your local area for courses/skills you might like to give a go. From there you can work out what direction you might like to go on in the future – and remember: passion and research are your friends. In addition, having a sense of purpose while your figuring it out can often be really helpful and validating. You could try volunteering, writing a blog, working or even sharing some Happy Notes.
— Just because you made a mistake or failed an exam does not make you a failure. Your future is still bright, you just have to find the light-switch.
— There is nothing shameful in reaching out for help in your journey – now or in the future. Guidance and support is invaluable.
— You have the power to make a positive impact in the world.
These are just a few affirmations to get you thinking. If you have any ideas or questions don’t hesitate to put them in the comments below.
Go forth and spread joy! And remember – it’s ok if you can only help one person and it’s ok if that one person is you. It’s a start; that’s the hardest part.
Keep Smiling. X