Student finds new outlook in school and in life

When 16-year-old Jane* started the school year, she had academic troubles, friend troubles, boy troubles, and family troubles.

Student in Class“There did not seem to be one aspect of her life that she was happy with,” said Mary* a school counselor affiliated with STARS Student Assistance Services, a United Way of Williamson County partner program.

Jane quickly found a confidante and ally in Mary, and Jane began frequently visiting Mary to discuss her difficulties. Because of this relationship, Mary was able to intervene and help Jane get additional supports when Jane’s depression escalated into suicidal thoughts.

By two months into the school year, though, Jane still struggled with her depression and anxiety, and this was affecting her academic performance – she was failing all her classes.

Jane’s counselors and principal decided to combine all their efforts to help her get back on track.

“We spent countless hours helping her study and creating safe environments for her to decompress and focus when her anxiety escalated,” said Mary.

They spoke frankly with her about her academic future and helped her create a plan to succeed.

And she began to succeed, and not just academically.

“Something slowly started to change as she accomplished her academic goals,” said Mary. “I noticed that, while she was still depressed, she wanted more than anything to remain at the school and prove to everyone here that she could get back in good academic standing.”

Gradually, Jane’s academic confidence began to grow.

“As her academic confidence grew, I noticed that her overall confidence grew,” said Mary.

With this new confidence, she built new, healthy friendships in school and distanced herself from what she considered “toxic” friendships. She soon began going to the gym regularly with her family and starting focusing on eating healthier.

“She was no longer bored at night surfing social media, she was at the gym with her family,” said Mary.

By the end of the semester, Jane was caught up and passing her classes and overcoming her depression.

“Since returning this semester, Jane continues to be a success in and outside of school,” said Mary. “She drops in to talk now, but rather than sounding depressed, she is optimistic about her future and excited to tell me about her recent accomplishments.”

When students face struggles, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to help them overcome their difficulties. Sometimes they need extra attention and encouragement to help them realize their potential. Thanks to programs like STARS Student Assistance Services, students like Jane can find the support they need to succeed and thrive, not just in school, but in life. Your United Way gifts make it possible to have these programs in all our schools.

* Names and details have been changed to protect client confidentiality.

Feb 13, 2018 | Education, Health, Success Stories