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How to balance your education and mental health - Alice, Year 10

Updated: Feb 22, 2019

Alice, Year 10, is overcoming anxiety and depression

Alice is a home schooled student in Year 10. She lives in North London with her Mum and dog, Rocco. Over the past few years, Alice has struggled with severe anxiety which has hindered her progress at school. Alice has been home schooled for nearly a year now and although she continues to battle anxiety, she is determined to succeed. She discusses her home schooling journey so far and ambitions for the future.

How would you describe yourself?

I’m creative – I love to draw, bake and dance. I’m also very determined and ambitious. The past few years have been tough for me, but I’m building on my resilience and strength every day. I really want to do well at school.

It’s Wednesday, what have you got on today?

I have 2 lessons today – French and Art. Art is my best subject because there’s lots of creative freedom to interpret things in your own way. I always feel calm when I’m studying different pieces of artwork. French, I find more difficult, but I am improving. My teacher always encourages me to give things a go even if I’m not sure. Now I just need to build in confidence with my speaking.

What do you most enjoy about home schooling?

My enthusiasm to learn is coming back. School has been daunting and challenging for me in the past few years. My anxiety took over from learning and I fell behind pretty quickly. In a class of 30, sometimes the teachers don’t notice if you don’t participate or do your homework. Since starting home schooling, I have really enjoyed the one-to-one classroom environment and my timetable is built around me and my capabilities. My teachers are all really supportive which is nice.

What do you least enjoy about home schooling?

It can be mentally challenging because I have a lot of ups and downs. At school, I could sit at the back of the classroom and zone out, or sometimes I’d just stay at home. If I’m feeling down or upset, I struggle to concentrate and answer questions to the best of my ability. I do realise that I can’t let it get the better of me and home schooling is helping me to keep on track. My teachers are very understanding, and we work through at a manageable pace if I’m not feeling 100%.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I want to go to university – hopefully Oxford or Cambridge, to study History of Art. I’m not sure where it will take me in the long-term, but I’d really like to pursue my passion for Art. It has definitely helped me through tough times.

What do you like to do to relax?

Exercise and baking are my go-to activities to relax. I like to stay active – my dog is very energetic, so I try and keep up with him!

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