It is a big time right now for young people transitioning into new schools, classes, and year levels.
Students have moved from their homes to further their education and have had to arrange suitable living arrangements.
So, let's be mindful, there's a lot going on right now, especially after last year.
I'm really looking forward to this year, yet I'm fortunate to have a real positive outlook on life in consideration to many others. I don't take this for granted though, it's easier for me to see the world for the good, I'm in a pretty privileged place and well supported.
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As all schools return this week, I get a throwback of my days back in high school… feels so long ago now.
Jordyn wrapped up his final year in high school last year and finds himself transitioning into adulthood.
Younger years found Jordyn very shy, introverted and reserved. Now engaging in community youth groups has helped him break down barriers and find his voice and speak out for himself.
Now 18, and set up with two side jobs, he recognises changes within himself as he reclaims his sense of identity.
With more freedom to do what he pleases, try out new things and explore his surroundings he feels empowered to do more and excel. Despite how fortunate he believes his transition has been, he acknowledges with more support and guidance would make it easier.
Jordyn acknowledges, "even though it's hard, keep at it and don't stop" and encourages parents to "get them out there, they want more but they just don't even know what it looks like and how to ask for it, so support them to it" when looking for work or further studies.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have youth stepping from intermediate into high school sharing that it's been different for each of them. Whether they are struggling with navigating around a new school, finding classes and new teachers, it can all bit a bit overwhelming.
Students are finding comfort in having teachers that listen and are non-judgemental towards them which creates a trusted relationship.
When asking youth what's been good about school it was overwhelming how many loved reconnecting with friends and peers.
Be kind. Remember to check in on your young ones, ask real questions and listen.
It's nice to take time to think back to the times in high school, how simple life all was.
Now I understand, "wait until you get older" LOL.
As the year starts rolling I'm really excited for this new year with so much amazing stuff going on, another year for more rangatahi (youth) to pave the way.
• Anahera Pickering is community outreach co-ordinator at Whangārei Youth Space. She can be contacted at Anahera@youthspace.co.nz .