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Hi my name is Maya, I'm in year 12 and I'm going to tell you about the difficulties I've faced going through high school with a chronic illness and how I've overcome them.
I have a condition called ulcerative colitis where my large intestine can get inflamed leading to frequent visits to the toilet and terrible cramps.
When I was diagnosed I found it hard to cope in lessons and missed a lot of work. This didn't help me as it stressed me out which made my condition worse.
On top of this I was put on steroids for a whole year which made me gain a lot of weight, this wasn't great for my self esteem as I was worried people were constantly judging me. I was nervous to use my toilet pass for the same reason. I quickly realised it didn't matter what others thought my health mattered most and people probably weren't judging me as much as I thought.
I was still however having bad days and getting stressed about being behind in work. This is when I learnt that I had to tell teachers when I wasn't feeling well so I would stop putting too much pressure on myself to be 'perfect'.
It was hard in the beginning and still can be sometimes but I've learnt to not worry about others opinions, to stop putting pressure on myself and to tell teachers when I'm having bad days. The last one is particularly important because sometimes telling others helps you feel better even if sometimes it's just a friend it will always help a little.
The mentoring scheme is the brainchild of year 12 and Senior Students' leader on careers, Ahbab Ali.
Mentor, Zakariya Chowdhury, said "I have gained a great sense of satisfaction in seeking to ease this burden meanwhile enhancing my connection to the school."
"Overall, I think by having someone who can empathise with your struggles and can help you overcome them, it can form a healthy relationship especially during any assessment season predicaments you may find yourself in."
Meanwhile, another mentor, Jami Chowdhury, expressed "The peer mentor scheme is an amazing prospect for year 11 students to receive tips and advice from experienced students. I can say that this scheme benefits these students during the current exam period and especially in a pandemic."
Year 11 students are not the only party to be learning from new experiences, as the mentors are learning lots about their own futures.
Malak Grira says it has allowed her to "get some clarity on what I intend to do in the future and it further motivated it me to work hard."
"Working with my mentor has really allowed us to connect and form a really strong bond over what we both enjoy in terms of academics and future aspirations."
In addition to this, children and young people aged 14-15 can now register to vote. Although the primary focus of registering to vote is to enable you to influence the outcome of elections, it can also benefit you in the future where you will grow up as healthy and confident individuals.
When registering to vote, please consider whether you wish for a postal vote or to vote in person, as some of you may be shielding. If you haven’t already registered to vote (it is super quick and easy to fill out), please do so ASAP as time is running out: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.
(THE DEADLINE TO REGISTER HAS NOW PASSED)
Wales is only part of a handful of countries that allow 16 to 17-year-olds to vote, implying that a shocking number of young people from other countries are still being denied the right to vote. Therefore, utilise your right to vote make your voice heard this May, so that you can define and establish new horizons for the forthcoming Wales.