Embracing challenges: stepping into light

March 28, 2024

Jacob with photo by Paweł L at Pexels

Jacob Kibrab is mindful that it takes courage to change

Experiencing bullying at school led me to withdraw and isolate myself as a coping mechanism to avoid the harassment. I still hung out with my friends, but my world became smaller, and I developed social anxiety.

I found it difficult to reach out and take the first step, to seek help. Having an older brother was a great support. I could be myself and relax at home, no matter what was going on at school.

When I started at Barnet and Southgate College, the atmosphere was very different. The encouragement from both tutors and peers to express my creativity and thoughtfulness started to have a positive impact on me.

Since the beginning of this year I’ve felt better about myself, more confident. Previously I have been stuck in the past and not able to trust or interact with people too well. But this year I’ve taken chances and become more confident talking to people.

I feel more comfortable because I understand now that I’m not alone. Everyone’s going through something. That’s life. We must build the strength and resources to get through difficult times.

My mate Jason says he’s seen the difference in me. He told me, “You used to be more withdrawn and on your own last year, but I’ve noticed you’ve come out of your shell and grown in confidence.”

Leaving your comfort zone is difficult and demanding

I know from experience that making the first step towards changing your perspective is the hardest. It takes a lot of courage, but after you make the initial shift, it does get easier as time goes on.

Many people struggle with change. It means letting go of the old and adapting to a new normal, which can be tough. Stepping out of your comfort zone is difficult and demands motivation. Staying in the familiar feels safe, and the idea of change can bring fear and anxiety about the future.

Growing up in the digital age, my generation is keenly aware of past mistakes and the inherent stigma surrounding mental health. We’re determined to break this cycle. Despite the ease of discussing mental health, especially on social media, men still find it challenging to open up due to fears of appearing fragile.

A series that has got me thinking right now, and I just can’t stop watching, is the anime series, Attack on Titan. It’s known for its intense plot, complex characters, and powerful themes. The emotional depth of the series evokes strong feelings in me, and I feel empathy for the characters.

The plot is complicated, linking the past, present and future, making it all the more gripping. The writer clearly planned the plot arcs far in advance and uses foreshadowing to reveal more details with each rewatch.

Jacob is studying creative media production at Barnet and Southgate College. He wants to further his education in TV and filmmaking at university. Jacob loves watching anime and working out.

Other work

Donate via PayPal

Exposure is an award-winning youth communications charity giving young people in north London a voice.

Please support us to continue our work. Thank you.