The Jeevika Trust recently gave a presentation to the Sixth Form. Their mission statement is that they "are working towards an India without absolute poverty, where all people have the opportunity to live with dignity, free from hunger,deprivation and marginalisation". Too often we can forget how lucky we are, and how trivial our problems can be compared to those of people in the developing world. The girls learned about how difficult life can be for those in absolute poverty, and how even obtaining the basics of life like food, shelter and clean water, can be very difficult. The girls also heard about how difficult it is for girls from poor families to receive an education, and how this then leads to them being trapped in a cycle of poverty. A very eye-opening talk!
Miss Pallan, who is a qualified lawyer and teaches A Level Law here at St Catherine's gave a very different but equally enlightening talk on housing law. Too often, students can be taken advantage of in the housing market, due to their lack of knowledge of their rights. Miss Pallan explained the rights and responsibilities that come along with having a tenancy, for example the right to two months notice before having to leave, and the fact that all landlords are legally required to protect the tenant's deposit in a government-approved scheme. We feel that it is very important that the girls are prepared for life after St Catherine's, and this talk certainly helped to achieve this goal.
We were also visited by Alexandra from Northumbria University. She gave two very useful talks; one on the subject of presentation skills, and the other on stress management. In the first talk, the girls were encouraged to critique and example of a weak presentation, and to consider how this could be improved. The stress management talk gave the girls a very interesting insight into the physiological reasons for the symptoms of stress. For example, that the cortisol that causes shaking when nervous helps to ensure that human beings can "fight or flight". The girls were encouraged to take 10 mindful minutes out of each day, and to reframe their thoughts of panic into more positive thoughts.