We’ve mentioned soft skills before, but we'll mention them again because today's international school students need them now more than ever. Not just for their futures, but to help them successfully navigate these unpredictable times. As educators, we have to equip them with such transferable skills, but it is up to them to recognise when and which one will benefit them in different situations.
We live in a time when we are constantly bombarded by others' thoughts and opinions. It can quickly become difficult to separate what we believe from the beliefs of others as we absorb all the notions and judgments that surround us. Younger generations are especially susceptible to this due to the omnipresence of social media in their lives.
Being an individual is gradually becoming more and more of a skill, and one we must work hard at to maintain!
Getting to know oneself can therefore be a very beneficial exercise. It will permit students to take charge of their lives in the way they hadn’t before. The idea is simple: take time to turn away from the external chatter and do some serious introspection. Putting it into practice, however, can be harder than expected.
We are attuned to listening to the world around us, so listening to ourselves can bring up things that have long been buried. However, facing these thoughts rationally and head on can offer a great confidence boost. We get the chance to reassert our desires for some things and change our attitude to others. If a student can succeed in this, they will become more attuned to themselves and to what feels right in everyday situations, because what is best for many isn’t necessarily best for all.
Auto-pilot can be switched off
It isn’t uncommon for students to fixate on an idea for their future at a young age and stick to it. Yet, in such a fluctuating present as this, that attitude can do students a disservice.
Flexibility is the new buzzword – the skill that will help us make it through the months ahead. So it is important students take stock of where they’re at now with 100% honesty. Does the dream they've had since childhood still work in this climate? Are they sure to still want what they wanted back then?
The world can change a lot in a short space of time, and often our initial plans cannot keep up. Stubbornly sticking to an idea rather than making an assessment of its validity against the present conditions can lead students to feel dissatisfied or stressed and unaware of the root of these emotions. So they needn’t be afraid to sit back and take some time to think their plans through. Sometimes, a change is all you need.
Negativity isn’t necessary
Everyone has likely felt a little brought down by the events of the last two years at some point. Constant news cycles of negativity do little to encourage positive thinking, and at such a formative point in their lives, positivity can have a large effect on the direction a student's life will take. However, the very act of becoming aware of one’s negative thoughts is a step towards pushing them in a more encouraging direction.
Students who can recognise when a bad thought is bringing them down are more able to make a change. Whether it means moving out of a particular situation, away from bad company or reaching out and sharing one’s burden with another, awareness enables one to take charge of one’s own happiness and success.
We’re all human
If the last two years have proven anything, it’s that human connection is vital to societal functioning and to our own mental health. Students should therefore take the time to assess the way they act with others.
Given the importance of these interactions, we must respect others’ wishes for distance, safety and mask wearing. Yet students can also develop and use this new habit to become more aware and honest communicators. Being able to read a room is useful in all stages of life, and often helps to feel and maintain control in various situations.
Ultimately, being self-aware can bring students to greater inner happiness and balance, as they learn to tune out the sounds and sights of social media. Self-awareness is an abstract concept, and it can be hard to grasp when we’ve done it right.
However, that niggling feeling that makes you feel uncomfortable about a given situation is often a good starting point. From there, it is time to go deeper, investigate within and try to determine how you really feel. Developing this response will enable you to maintain a harmonious attitude in a conflicted world.