My Brimbank: Ivanka Portelli

Aspiring writer Ivanka, 13. (Damjan Janevski). 207795_02

Budding writer Ivanka Portelli spoke with Tate Papworth about the challenges of online learning and how her passions are helping her stay positive.

What’s your connection to the western suburbs?

I’m a 13-year-old student from Caroline Springs. I have a strong connection with the western suburbs as I have known nothing but that. My mum has lived in the west all her life and I moved to Caroline Springs when I was six months old. I love living in the western suburbs. The west is my home.

What do you like best about the area?

I love my school as it provides all of us students with many opportunities, ranging from academic to performing arts and to sport. I love the Caroline Springs community and I aim to do what I can to contribute. I am also involved in my community at Caroline Springs George Cross Football Club. I volunteer my time selling club apparel. The area is clean and has many walking tracks and recreational areas where you can stay physically and mentally healthy.

How has COVID- 19 impacted your life?

COVID- 19 has impacted my life as it has disrupted my day-to-day routine and it has brought about unforeseen challenges. My schooling has been impacted and I am now learning remotely from home. COVID- 19 has impacted my health as we are only permitted to leave our homes for limited reasons, and I have subsequently needed to adapt to a “new” way of life. I have had to change my mindset so that I can appreciate the little things in my life. I am staying proactive and are generating small moments of happiness.

How have you found schooling during this time?

The first couple of days of my schooling was challenging as I needed to grasp how I would be communicating with my teachers and how my lessons would be completed virtually. It took me a few days to get my head around everything but once it was all made clear it got easier. It is hard not being able to have my student-teacher interaction, although I need to remain positive and remind myself that this isn’t forever.

Tell us about your writing ambitions and current projects.

My passion is writing, and I love it so much! I dream of becoming a journalist when I am older, and I want to continue writing throughout my life. I am currently working on a blog and I hope to provide other people with insight and hope through my writing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. If we all demonstrate small acts of kindness we will be able to get through this wild ride together.

Do you have an example of one of your blog entries?

When I woke up this morning I thought to myself, I need to practice gratitude and recognise all the really good things in my life regardless of the current situation we are in. This was my goal I wanted to be successful in achieving today. The first step to practicing gratitude is to recall and recognise, then list the great things in life which are usually taken for granted. Gratitude can be conducted by listing on paper things that you are thankful for. You may be thankful for a really good person in your life or it may have been a past experience, or it can even be a physical object that you can hold. This is what I did. I listed the things that I am appreciative of which I commonly take for granted. Always remember there are positives even in the most challenging situations. We need to make the choice to look on the bright side. During difficult times, I constantly remind myself that there is most definitely somebody far worse off than I am. We are all thankful for different things in our lives. Make sure you recognise them and practice expressing gratitude as regularly as possible.