Tonight we celebrated Hannah’s Graduation from Ryerson University.
Her continued dedication, hard work, determination and commitment to succeed over the past four years not only earned Hannah a Degree in Communications but it also earned her a very well deserved placement on the Dean’s List for one last time this semester.
Dad and I couldn’t be more proud of all that you have accomplished and we can’t wait to see what awaits you this coming Fall (but first stop, CAMP!!!!) as you embark on the next chapter of your journey at Humber College in Event Management.
We know that whatever path you choose in life you are certain to shine.
~Your education is a dress rehearsal for a life that is yours to lead ~ Nora Ephron
Tonight we celebrated the successful completion of Rachel’s first year of University in Interior Design and Hannah’s many accomplishments that earned her an Undergraduate Degree in Communications this week.
This year has not been an easy one. It was met with some tears (well maybe a bit more than some), some moments of anger and some definite moments of frustration but despite missing out on the many firsts and the many more lasts that come along with having the full university experience, you learned to pivot, you learned to adjust and you learned to adapt to the many, many challenges that were presented to you along the way with such resilience and strength.
YOU did it!!! And Dad and I couldn’t be more proud of the both of you. We love you to the moon and back!
I felt a flood of emotions come over me when it hit me that nothing has really changed since then and to be perfectly honest, it actually feels a thousand times worse right now.
My girls are both less than ten days away from finishing their school years; Rachel being in her first year of University for Interior Design and Hannah is about to earn her four year Undergraduate Degree in Communications.
To say I am proud of these two young ladies would be an understatement. They have both worked their butts off this year despite the many challenges and limitations they’ve had to face by having to work completely remotely, completely online; and completely from home.
Rachel was robbed once again of so many exciting new experiences from the start of her University career. Instead she has spent the past year at home learning new skills, building and creating incredible projects and making new friends from across the world all from our living room floor (which she turned into her own personal art studio last summer before the start of the school year).
And now Hannah too has been robbed of so many of her own opportunities, rites of passage and exciting new experiences that would normally accompany her throughout this, her graduating year.
But they did it! It hasn’t been easy or fair or kind at times and it’s been so painful and mentally exhausting to watch as a parent at other times. But like so many of us who have lost so much over the past year, its ok to acknowledge their pain from the disappointment and anger and frustration and sadness that they have had to endure; that we have all had to endure.
In a way, I guess we have all been experiencing a steep learning curve this past year, just so desperately trying to forge our way forward.
Today Rachel will embark on a new chapter in her life as she begins her first day of University; working towards her lifelong goal of becoming an Interior Designer (in LA!).
Today you leave behind a once in a lifetime cancelled Graduation trip, a brand new Prom dress with the tags still on, a High School Graduation Ceremony that is still TBA and a summer like no other.
And although today as you begin this new chapter in your life very differently from how it’s meant to be, it will still be filled with new beginnings and endless possibilities.
Today is your day to start anew and wipe the slate clean. Today is your day to focus on the journey forward. Today is your day and I know that you are going to paint the town with every colour of the rainbow.
Rachel has been hard at work prepping her new classroom before the start of the Fall semester and her first term in University. It may not be the ideal situation or one that many of us would have chosen for our children but to quote the Schmuck himself (AKA: The President of The United States) “It is what it is!”
So for now Rachel is trying to make the best of a pretty shitty situation by creating her own oasis in our living room and claiming it as her new workspace and art studio, starting by adding a fresh coat of paint to the walls.
A fresh coat of paint can be beneficial to our mental wellness and can bring with it a calming effect and a sense of comfort and ease. Having a clean and orderly space, reducing the amount of clutter in it and being surrounded by bright, natural lighting can also become a healing sanctuary for our mental wellbeing.
I’m just not so sure that Maggie is thrilled with Rachel trying to take over her favorite spot in the house where she sits on her throne and keeps a close watch on the goings on outside but that’s for the two of them to work out!
Just one final thank you to @cbcthenational for sharing my story so perfectly. Thank you to @kidshelpphone for making a difference in so many young lives and thank you to the “Class of 2020” Graduates for teaching the rest of the world the true meaning of resilience while learning to face adversity head on in a time of so much uncertainty. You may forever be remembered as the “Graduating Class of Covid-19” but the lessons you will take with you as you transition into the next phase of your journey will carry you far beyond what any classroom ever could.
Tonight we should be gathered together in a room bursting with pride and surrounded by 100’s of excited parents, siblings, grandparents, teachers, administrators and many more to watch our Graduate(s) take centerstage and handed their diplomas and recognized for their many successes and achievements they have put forth over the last 4 years in High School.
But instead tonight we improvise, still bursting with the same pride though as we quietly celebrate our Graduate’s successes and acknowledge her many achievements over the last 4 years.
Tonight we close this chapter and look forward to celebrating many more of her successes and achievements that lay ahead.
Mazel Tov Rachel and Congrats to all the 2020 Graduates.
She, along with millions of youth are all dealing with so much emotion right now from anger to sadness to frustration to anxiety to disappointment and depression; all feelings which are perfectly valid and perfectly okay to feel as we continue to self-quarantine; unable to see our friends or family, unable to watch our favorite sports, unable to swing from the monkey bars, unable to participate in extracurricular activities or unable to attend Proms and Graduations.
After hearing so much emotional feedback from my blog I wanted to come up with a way in which we could still somehow honour our “Class of 2020” Grads from PRE-K to Post Graduate while at the same time making sure that no young person ever feels alone during Covid-19 and beyond.
I truly believe Kids Help Phone has helped revolutionize the meaning of #togetherapart by providing ongoing, confidential Mental Health support to our youth via phone, text and online as well; throughout Canada, 24/7 for the last 30 plus years now. They were made for this Pandemic and now they need our help more than ever to ensure that they can keep up with the ever growing demand for their services.
I find myself left with a heartwrenching feeling lately knowing that our young people (under 25) are at their most vulnerable right now while trying to navigate their way through this new norm and that this crisis could leave the greatest effect on their future selves between now and when this is all over; my only hope is that they all come out stronger than ever. But for now we need to keep lifting them up and reminding our young people every single day that their feelings matter, that it’s okay for them to feel sadness or disappointment, that it’s okay to be scared or unsure and that it’s more than okay to ask for help.
So let’s all celebrate a special someone in our life or community with a “Class of 2020” Graduation sign for your front lawn or anywhere else that you wish to display it and let’s make sure that every young person knows that help is never further than a phone call or text away. Please feel free to share 😘
*All proceeds/donations for my “Class of 2020” Graduation Campaign/Initiative will be given to Kids Help Phone*
*Signs will be set up or delivered right to your front lawn or porch; options available for image to print too. etransfer is preferred; $30 each*
*Available in Thornhill & GTA*
*Choose from 6 different designs*
*Kids Help Phone is always open: 1-800-668-6868, Text: 686868, or connect with someone online; adults welcome too*
*Message me on Facebook/Instagram or email me at: email@example.com to place your orders*
I try not to divulge too much information about my family as I have always said that their stories are not mine to share but today I feel like I need to share maybe a teeny bit in order for others to feel like they are not alone.
I’ve witnessed my child breakdown in his first year of University upon coming to the realization that the program he had worked so hard to get into was not in fact what he wanted for his future. I’ve witnessed my child begin to panic about her future 3 years into her degree upon realizing that she needs to start figuring out what she wants to do with the rest of her life sooner rather than later and I am now witnessing my child in grade 12 feverishly working day and night on several different art portfolios in order to submit them to various schools in the next 7 weeks in hopes of being accepted into her dream program for next September.
I’ve witnessed holes being punched into walls, I’ve witnessed overwhelm, I’ve witnessed sadness, I’ve witnessed anxiety and panic, I’ve witnessed silent cries for help, I’ve witnessed disappointment, I’ve witnessed frustration, I’ve witnessed fear, I’ve witnessed anger and I’ve witnessed vulnerability in the last several years. As a parent this is truly heartbreaking when you are left feeling helpless to their pain and knowing that all you can do is try and lift them up, guide them and hope that everything will be okay even though you can’t really know for sure.
For many of our youth today we may not be enough especially when they are living remotely in another city, province (state) or even further. Many are often too scared to ask for help for fear of being judged or ridiculed by their Professors, their peers or even their own families and for those who do find the strength to reach out for help are often being turned away because our University and Colleges don’t have enough supports in place to handle the growing epidemic on campuses both near and far.
Over the last several years I have listened closely to other frightened and concerned parents tell me about their child’s feelings of overwhelm, their anxiety and their depressive behaviours due to the pressures and frustrations of University, many of whom may be living away from home for the first time and are also feeling vulnerable and abandoned by the lack of programs and supports in place for them. And sadly I have also read countless stories about yet another child who took their own life because they may have succumbed to that said pressure and frustration.
Our youth are under too much pressure today feeling the need to keep up with their peers and sometimes there is a huge feeling of pressure when trying to satisfy their parent’s expectations of them and of course there is the pressure from society in general who often imply that a University degree is the be all and end all. It seems like every other week I am reading another story about another suicide on our University campuses, including this past week and it is beyond devastating.
Last month I read a news article about a University of Toronto student who had reached out for help when she was experiencing suicidal thoughts just days after news broke that another student at their sister campus had taken their life. The way in which the mental health support team handled the situation left this student feeling more like a criminal and even further traumatized when she found herself being handcuffed and arrested by the campus police for divulging the location in which she had planned to die.
The University of Toronto just made the top 20 list of the best Universities in the world! Not just in Canada, not just in North America but the entire fricken world!! That is quite an incredible feat and although they deserve it for excelling in teaching, research and international outlook, they are more than lacking in the area of compassion for mental health.
But they are not alone as there is not enough training and support to go around for the amount of students in crisis and in need of urgent care. This student was told right before the mental health support worker called the police for fear she may harm herself or someone else that it will most likely take several months for her to see a doctor/therapist. Something needs to be done and fast! How many more students have to die before proper support is put into place to help them? We need to do better, I know we can. Please continue to follow my journey at: https://youareenough712.wordpress.com Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #startaconversation #dontsufferinsilence #yourmentalhealthmatters #endthestigmatogether #youareenough #bekindtoyourself #checkonyourlovedones #depressionkills #anxietyisreal #suicideprevention #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #advocateforchange #ouryouthdeservebetter Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.