Olivia Doan, Board Member
St. John's School - Houston, Texas
Teen Board Member 2020 - Present
Olivia is a junior at St. John's School. She is a member of her school's top dance ensemble, contemporary performance group and a dance instructor for underprivileged students at a Charter School in the Houston area. She began playing the piano in kindergarten and has participated in local performances and events. Olivia is the Vice President of the Shape Up Fort Bend Youth Committee Board, an advocacy group promoting wellness in the Fort Bend County area. She is a staff writer for her school's online newspaper and an enthusiastic member of the East Asian Affinity Group at St. John's. Olivia recently received the Gold Presidential Service Award. She enjoys baking, yoga and playing with her dog.
For all my life, my family has always been my biggest support system. My parents and my brother have seen me at my highest highs, my lowest lows, and everything in between. If high school, with all its academic and emotional stresses, has taught me anything, it is that a solid support system, be that your immediate family, your friends, or a mentor, is crucial to success at every level. Here are three tips to building a stronger, more supportive connection with your support system:
Have challenging conversations
Sometimes I find myself shirking away from bringing up controversial topics to my friends and family. However, I have noticed that, even if we all disagree, when my family can come to a general consensus over a topic, we grow closer and more understanding of each other. Having challenging conversations forces us to listen to each other and respect each other’s differences.
Show your appreciation
Whether it’s saying “Thank you” to your mom or giving your best friend a hug, showing others your appreciation is an important way to tell them that you care. I find that whenever I tell my parents how much I appreciate them, I reinforce the connection between us.
Most importantly, be yourself and be vulnerable. Your support system is there to support you, not a censored version of yourself! I have learned that constantly censoring myself around the people I care about and the people that care about me only adds to the emotional burden; being myself has always resulted in my being more emotionally successful.