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Photo ofTatyana Fuentes

Being in school, sometimes you can get carried away with fitting in or being afraid to stand up for yourself. While in school, I would let the people that made my life miserable treat me like trash, and I never gave myself a chance to stand up for myself because I was afraid. I was fearful of what they would do if I said something back to them or what they would tell people and how it would make me look. 

When I heard that we were leaving school and switching to online, I felt such relief. I was tired of dealing with people. I would deal with a situation at school by shutting down and letting my emotions bottle up. Within a month of online learning, I realized that I was doing the same thing whenever I got into an argument with a sibling or got in trouble at home. I would be quiet and not show emotions; it didn't feel right. I felt drained every day and didn't want to go anywhere. I would stay in bed all day and sometimes not even eat.  After acknowledging that I had to work on myself and how I treated people in my household, I decided to be more observant about how I approached a problem. I would say to my parents that I am currently working on tatyana.1 or tatyana.2, and it was based on how much I improved. I guess that's what helped me become a better version of myself. 

Whenever I spoke up or disagreed with a situation, my so-called "friends" would belittle me, and I felt embarrassed for saying anything at all. I then noticed that by not being in school and not talking and hanging around the people I usually would, I felt free, less worried, and more like myself. Overall, focusing on myself was the best thing that I could do for myself. I have never felt so happy and so relieved with myself, tatyana.x.

© Tatyana Fuentes. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.