Wanting to give up ‘schooling away’

June 2, 2018

You wouldn’t be the first student who wanted to give up ‘schooling away’ at boarding school.

Those city kids don’t realise what it is like to have to leave your family, mates, Country and culture to live in a place where people don’t even speak your language. Maybe your teachers don’t understand the way you learn or the things that you find tricky. Maybe your host family or boarding home staff don’t understand what you are going through. You might feel like you are missing out on what your mates are doing back home. You might have had to miss funerals or cultural celebrations. Or maybe the pressure of a different school and the different work is building up on you. Whatever your reasons for wanting to move back home, you are not a failure and you are not alone.

I grew up in Halls Creek in the Kimberleys at the top of Western Australia. I never schooled away at boarding school- but heaps of people I know did and heaps of students that I mentored as part of my job with Clontarf did too. Most people felt like giving up at some stage, heaps of mob even gave up the first time and moved back home. You know what though… a lot of the kids that came back decided to give it a second chance again. They needed the first try to learn about what it would be like and then to come back again to see that they weren’t really missing out on much back home. Home never really changes: we might lose someone special but we would have lost them even if we were home and I can guarantee that whoever you lose while you are away was proud of you for taking your shot, you’re mates might have some fun without you but you are seeing new places with new mates having different fun too. The kids that wanted to try again had the new knowledge to make them deadly at it the second time. They knew the ropes this time, how to overcome some of the tricky feelings.

If you want to give up this time- I hope you would talk with your Aboriginal Education Officer, your school teachers at this school and your home school, your family. You can even connect with a school counsellor to help you figure out your next move. Tell them how you feel. It’s not weakness to get help- it’s strong.

See if you can wait until the school holidays you will be able to be with your family, on Country and think about your options. Most feelings pass- if you can put your goal in the center of your mind and focus on what you want your life to look like in ten years- that might be enough to help you overcome these feelings. Get out with your new friends- see if that helps you see things more clearly.

And if all that doesn’t work- you can go home. You can achieve and succeed in your school on Country. If you don’t feel challenged there you can do School of the Air for some subjects or even move to another community with a school that has calmer classrooms. You might decide that you are ready to try again later- even if the first time didn’t work that’s okay there are other opportunities for students who push hard to achieve.

You can do this. Now, later, here or there. Focus, dedication… this feeling can pass and you can reach your dreams. I’ve seen it.

Need more help? Shoot me an email or call any of the numbers below. 

HeadSpace 1800 650 890

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800


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