Being Your True Self

Earlier this year, I had the good fortune to listen to Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis speak. She shared highlights and lowlights of her life story, including the hardships she endured growing up in poverty and how acting changed her life. She also shared a breakthrough moment towards greater happiness when she stopped trying to be (as she described it)  some avatar of herself and just started being her true self.

She inspired me to speak to students at last week’s assembly about the idea of living life as your avatar versus your true self. I asked them to, in these final months of the school year, reflect on how each of them has grown (physically in many cases, of course, but also personally). I encouraged them to not only spend less time living through a computer avatar, but to work at becoming more comfortable as their true selves. I hope that here at Greenwood, students find themselves increasingly comfortable celebrating their uniqueness, working towards growing as learners and positive members of our community and stepping out of their avatars and venturing further.

Our guest speaker at this week’s assembly, Dr. Greg Wells, shared the physiological response that people experience when they step out of their comfort zones and the “fight or flight” reaction takes over. His explanation helped him respond to our students’ questions, which they had asked him over the past few months, around strategies for managing stress.

Our students’ lives are significantly impacted by our fast-paced world. Social media has influenced the context through which our students experience high school; it is profoundly different from their parents’ experience. Dr. Wells broke down the physiological responses to stress and what could be done to capitalize on positive stress and minimize the impact of negative stress through different strategies. Several students commented on how much they enjoyed his talk today and we hope this leads to students living well. On a related note, I hope you will be able to join us for Dr. Wells’s parent evening on April 16. You can register here for this event.

This final term can move really quickly and I know that many families are busy making plans for the summer and upcoming long weekends. With that in mind, please note that we have a very special all-school event, Spirit Day, on Friday, May 17. Students will be dismissed at 2:30 p.m. on this day. While I know people want to get away early for the Victoria Day weekend, I understand that this is a very fun celebratory day for our community.

Greenwood College School

443 Mount Pleasant Road
Toronto, ON M4S 2L8
Tel: 416 482 9811