The youth-written stories in Represent give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

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Teacher Lesson Return to "College Can Be Hell"
College Can Be Hell
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Think About It [Questions to use in groups, or that teens can use on their own.]

—What is Tamecka worried about as she goes away to college?

—Can you relate to the worries and fears that Tamecka has? If so, how? If not, why not?

—When Tamecka starts failing her college classes, what does she blame it on? What is your reaction to this?

—Why does she keep comparing her situation with other students? Does that make her feel better or worse? Instead of comparing herself to others, what should Tamecka do instead?

—What makes Tamecka start to change?

—List five things Tamecka did to do better in college. Of these five, which do you think was the hardest? Why?

—When Tamecka decided to help herself, who did she ask for help? How did asking these people help her get better grades?

—Tamecka writes, “I realized that just because people live with their biological families does not automatically make their lifestyle better than mine.” What does Tamecka mean? Do you agree? Why or why not?

—Tamecka writes, “I also realized that in some ways being a foster child was an advantage for me.” How did being in foster care actually help Tamecka to do better in college? In what ways has being in foster care been an advantage to you?

—Tamecka felt a sense of stigma as a foster child (a sense of shame). Write about a time you felt a sense of stigma as a foster child. How did it affect you? What could you have done to get over this sense of shame?

—Tamecka writes, “I realized that time was passing me by and nobody was going to care for me until I cared for myself.” What does she mean by this? How does it relate to your own life?

—Tamecka blamed her low grades on being in foster care, although foster care had nothing to do with it. She writes, “It wasn’t being in a group home holding me back, it was me holding myself back.” Think of time you blamed foster care for something that didn’t go well in your life. Was foster care to blame for it? If so, how? If not, why not?

—Tamecka found a substitute for family among her teachers and counselors at college. Who, in your life, has been a substitute for family?

—Pretend you’re Tamecka. Write a short letter to a friend, explaining the steps you took to change your attitude toward your past and to improve your college performance. Describe what was hard and why it was hard.

—Roleplay: Tamecka and a friend. Tamecka’s friend was in foster care and is thinking of dropping out of college because she has doubts she can succeed. Tamecka wants her friend to know that there are steps she can take to overcome her self-doubt and do well in college.
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