Looking Back Reflection 2017

My time in Youthreach

Eli

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Today is Tuesday the 2nd of May and in a couple weeks I will be finishing Youthreach and getting my QQI Level 4. At the moment I am working on finishing up all the remaining work for my classes and tidying up all the work I have already done. The deadline is in just a weeks’ time, and everyone in the centre, as well as myself are working extra hard to have everything handed in before then. I am excited to be almost finished everything, and I am very  proud of myself for getting it all completed in just a year and a half, since I only joined Youthreach in late January 2016.

I am going to miss almost everything about being a student in Youthreach Galway. I made a lot of friends who have changed my life in ways I couldn’t have ever imagined before. Being a student in Youthreach is like being part of one big family and I’ll miss how supportive and empathetic everyone is, despite the differences in our backgrounds and personalities. I will also miss all the teachers and how understanding and helpful they are. What I like mostly about the teachers in Youthreach is how assertive they are, instead of intimidating and aggressive with their approach in teaching us. I also love how small our classes are, so the teachers can get around and help everyone since everyone works at their own pace.

I like how much I have learned during my time in Youthreach, and I feel a lot more confident going into the next stage of my life, which will be getting my QQI Level 5 and doing part-time work. I find it interesting how before Youthreach, when I was doing my Junior Cert, I was doing so much work but I always felt like I was wasting my time and stressing over subjects that I knew I would forget and have no use for as soon as I finished Secondary School. In Youthreach, I am studying QQI Level 4 and all the subjects I have done have either helped me learn more about myself  or helped me improve skills that I will definitely need later in life. I also like how I made friends that I know I will keep in contact with even when we part ways in a month’s time.

After I finish Youthreach the plan is to work all summer so I can go to college in September. I want to do QQI Level 5 Art Portfolio course in either the Sligo College of Further Education or Galway Technical Institute to study. I had my interview in Sligo last month and already got accepted. All I have left to do now is to decide which one I really want, which is probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

I have changed so much since I started in Youthreach last year. I have gained a lot of self-confidence, which was a huge issue for me before. That self-confidence has come from improving skills such as team-working and communication through classes such as P.I.P.D. and Work Experience. I am a lot less nervous than I was before because I have been pushed to do things that I couldn’t have done before. This includes giving a presentation in front of others, making phone calls to make appointments or to enquire about something and even physically going out on work experience. I’m grateful for all my friends and teachers that have made me who I am today in just the short space I’ve been in Youthreach.

In the end though, I am so glad that I heard about Youthreach when I did, because since then my life has been turned completely around, and now I am motivated and heading the direction I want to be in life, instead of feeling stuck like I used to. Along with providing me with a lot of useful skills and qualities I will need later in my life, I will have my full QQI Level 4 and will be able to progress with my education.

My Final Reflection

By Tara McEvilly

Looking back at my time in Youthreach I find I am excited for the future ahead, but am sad in a way of leaving here. I started in 2015 and have spent the last two years with the same people and teachers, who I have come to appreciate and to who I am extremely grateful to. When I came to Youthreach I was different from the person I am now. I was escaping from where I was and didn’t think I would really accomplish anything here. It was sort of my last try at life in general and for an implosive decision, driven by negatives.  The positive and opportunistic position I now find myself in is rather ironic.

I did not think I would get into a college, especially into a course I wanted to be in. This course is in GTI doing General Studies and Arts. Secondary school for me, whether because of dyslexia or what was going on at home, was never easy. I tried and did my best but the whole set up and system meant I just wasn’t good at school. I knew I wasn’t stupid, just at a disadvantage, which I tried to hide at every turn, being seen as an idiot wasn’t something I wanted to deal with. So I tried my best, overcompensated and still it did little in the way of my future looking bright. That is where I found Youthreach really helped. I didn’t come here because of the continuous assessment, or because it was a well thought out plan. No, I came here expecting very little in the way of me doing as well, as I actually have. To say I am shocked and grateful doesn’t really do it justice. I came here for a last ditch attempted to be something other than then a person out of options, the person I was.

And yes, that person was shy and depressed and at the end of her tether, so to speak. I was alone and expecting this place to finally give me that finial validation to give up. And I don’t mean drop out and sign onto the dole, nope I wasn’t really planning a future for the longest time. But Youthreach changed that for me. Here I met people who had gone through things, had it hard and actually understood what it was I was going through. They didn’t look at me like I was crazy or something to fix, and when it didn’t work, would leave because they didn’t want to deal with it any more. No, I felt normal for a change. Here I wasn’t a big sister having to make it okay all the time, I wasn’t that McEvilly who everybody knew everything about, who was to be ignored or given pity. No I could actually figure out who I was. To put myself first, or rather learn how to do that.

I am still shy, but although I feel I am quitter sometimes, I am friendly and am happy to chat away. Not many know that I have a good sense of humour I just have to comfortable around the people I am with, which now is much more easier. I have made true friends, which is something I found hard before, mainly due to the fact I couldn’t relate to the people around me, now I can and have friends I trust and who actually care about me as much as I care about them.

But mainly what Youthreach gave me was a future. And one I actually want to be a part of.

 If you want to check out more of the 2017 reflections click here