Sara- the story of a gifted eighteen year old

Helen's picture
by Helen
Sara is just like anyone you know - a bright 18 year old, just left a great sixth form college with 3 top A's.

Identified as gifted in primary, and all through secondary, popular with peers, on national and regional youth panels, got a POSBO for brilliant volunteering in projects with young people.

Slight problem. Sara is sick of the education system and doesn't want to go to Uni. She doesn't want a job.
She lost any sense of direction or confidence.
She just wants to rest and have a life. Five months after leaving school, she won't get out of bed, and when she does, she just watches cookery programmes.

So the system has got it's A Level stats out of her, but
what about Sara? Factory farming?
Is our education system really good enough?
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Rebecca Hanson's picture
Mon, 10/12/2012 - 21:43

It sounds like Sara may well be suffering from depression. She should be seeing her doctor and getting support and counselling.

The way she's feeling at the minute may well have specific triggers which lie outside her education.

Andy V's picture
Tue, 11/12/2012 - 14:01

Burn out and stress at the end of compulsory education at KS5 is not uncommon and is one of the reasons that universities place great emphasis on taking time out and value what they refer to as mature experienced students returning to study.

The pressures of life as a 6ht former - subject and social/community work for a good UCAS application statement - must not be underestimated.

I agree that a visit to the GP is an important safety check to either gain reassurance that with time away from studies and/or appropriate therapy support (preferrably talking therapy to pharma treatment) and then listen to ones owm body (physiologically, emotionally and psychologically). The biggest thing is to take it seriously but not to let it take over.

I wish her well for the future.

Helen's picture
Tue, 11/12/2012 - 21:08

Hi Andy and Rebecca,
Thanks- I'll check out if doctors visit is needed. Suspect not- think its because she just wants time to 'be' and take stock without the ever present exam factory.
Agree on the need for a gap year, especially with expense. Students need to be absolutely sure now.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Fri, 14/12/2012 - 19:52

This is quit difficult to explain Helen but I'm going to give it a go and if it's not clear please ask.

The world is a very high pressure place and people who engage with it with the intensity with which Sara clearly has the desire to engage with it tend to hit crash and burn type blips.

One of the main internal reasons for the reasons for these happening is that the person has issues they need to address which are catching up with them. Of course there are many external pressures which cause them too.

The best way to deal with it is for Sara to be mentored by other gifted people who have had such phases in their lives and who see them just as being an essential part of who they are and of everything they have then gone on to achieve. Reading biographies or autobiographies of inspirational people would be good for her, especially the kind where people have delved into these aspects of their lives. If she can find real life zones for highly intelligent conversation that would be great.

It would be good, but perhaps not essential, if she could have either formal or friendly counselling where she's encouraged to talk through the way she sees herself and the people around her. Children, especially bright children, make up stories to explain things they don't yet have the capacity to understand. These stories often blaming themselves and others inappropriately for things which were beyond their control. Sometimes they need to be put aside. Sometimes this can be done through conversations with friends. Sometimes it needs specialist counselling.

It worries me that by focusing on the story that this is exhaustion after school you create and explanation which masks deeper insight emerging. It's not usually possible to explain these things in the moment. It can take a long time and a lot of hindsight. Strong opinions on what they are seem to get in the way of that.

You may be right you may be wrong but at the minute it's best for Sara if you're neither. Instead try just to be someone who helps to create space for her to talk about stuff which matters to her and to link her to positive role modes.

I think. Of course I may be wrong.

Meraud's picture
Thu, 13/12/2012 - 15:12

Maybe the cookery programmes reflect a side of herself she has been neglecting, and which needs to be given some space... I agree that she should take time to recover, and not leap into anything - the poor girl sounds exhausted, and no-one makes their best decisions in that state.

Eventually she needs to begin the process of finding her own goals, rather than jumping the hoops others have put in front of her, and that's not something to be rushed, if she's to find a direction which feels right for her.

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