Young students just starting their high school journey face a host of new experiences and challenges – made all the better, or worse, depending on factors such as self-esteem and self-worth. This was the motivation and central theme of Social Worker Shureny Dickens, in hosting a workshop for new high schoolers at Milton Peters College (MPC). The kick-off question that the students were asked to explore over the course of the workshop was: “Who am I?”
Taking active steps to discovering who you are and ultimately knowing yourself is central to making better decisions, better friends, and having a better situation in general says Dickens. Students were encouraged to reflect on different aspects of themselves, especially what makes them unique. “There’s only one of you in this whole world,” Dickens told them.
Everyone is different, and finding out your likes and dislikes, strengths and tastes is central to knowing yourself. Students were encouraged to reflect on aspects of themselves – both positive and negative – traits such as what makes them a good friend; and regrets that they can learn from, as they learn more about themselves from these regrets.
Trying new things and doing things outside of the comfort zone were encouraged as ways that the students could learn more about themselves.
The concepts of self-esteem and self-worth were discussed in the interactive sessions: What’s the difference? How are they built, or torn down? What are the benefits of having them, or the consequences of not having them?
Dickens normally works with elementary school students, and is also an MPC alumnus. She remembers the high school experience, which included feeling misunderstood at times. Now a social worker, she decided to host the workshops in order to help young students navigate this new and important stage in their lives with a solid foundation of self.