Lucy Aditi, The Life Tutor
Helping young people to thrive in their education and take control of the future
The American mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn once wrote: ‘You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf’. It’s become one of my favourite quotes and has been a significant influence on both my personal life and my chosen career path.
I’ve worked in education for 20 years – first as a teacher and then as a pastoral manager – but have spent the past decade primarily helping college students with any problems they may have. These can be far-reaching – anything from personal development, future planning and applying to universities to offering support related to mental health problems or substance abuse; I have to be unshockable.
My own journey to mindfulness began in 2003 when I went on a 10-day Buddhist retreat to Thailand. We were not allowed to talk for the entire time we were there, so having that silence to become familiar with one’s own mind was life-changing. I was going through some big events during that period and felt ready to reinvent myself, so learning to understand who I was put me in a very different space when I returned home.
I trained as a secular mindfulness teacher and started to shift my focus to giving young people the tools and strategies they need to cope with whatever life throws at them. Recognising I could only help a relatively small number during classroom hours, I founded my own business in January this year so I could do more. I continue to work at the college on a part-time basis, which is perfect because it allows me to stay up to date with the latest educational innovations.
The great news is that I’ve had lots of positive responses from families who have recognised the need for additional help for their children. I’m also enjoying having greater control over my own time – allowing me to balance work with family life. My son has just finished primary school, and being able to pick him up from school and having the opportunity to connect with other parents has been really important.
The coaching programme I’ve created, ‘Ride the Waves’, is named in tribute to Kabat-Zinn and I’m proud to be working with families as The Life Tutor.