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Out of Our Control: A teenager talks about perseverance

Jayce Jensen smiles in the WYSO studio
Basim Blunt

Sometimes all you need to get through a tough time is patience. Springfield High School producer, Jayce Jensen tells us why we, should never give up.

My name is Jayce Jensen, and I go to Springfield High School. I am 17 years old, working a stable job at Woeber's Mustard Manufacturing. Currently, I don't like my living situation. I'm working to make it better by moving into my own apartment soon. The first thing I'm going to buy is a proper desk to complete my college work.

A few years ago, I was struggling with self-harm and recurrent PTSD episodes. I viewed the world negatively. As a result of these issues and being in and out of the hospital psychiatric units, I was placed into a Springfield daytime therapy program, teaching coping methods, boundaries, providing therapy, working towards allowing teenagers to move past their trauma and to lead a healthy, productive life. This program would replace school for several months while you work through your treatment. We had group sessions in this room that was painted white. If you looked out the windows, you saw a dingy, unkempt parking lot. 

But what stood out to me were my peers, the other teenagers who also ended up there. All of us were between 13 to 17 years old, [all from] different walks of life, extremely wealthy and extremely poverty-stricken backgrounds. One of these teens had moved from the other side of the country in a nasty divorce. Another had gone through the worst homes of the foster care system. We had all came from unfortunate circumstances out of our control. The kids here were all dealt a crappy hand in life. 

For me, it was abuse I suffered in a summer camp and generally a lot of violence throughout my life. 

I remember this dude. His hair was black, draped in front of his face or over his eyes. He would almost hide behind it. We would often chat and play board games while waiting to be the last ones picked up. He was in a really dark place at the time. Every time he spoke about this dark place, I understood how the isolation and bitterness towards life felt. Nobody should have to feel alone in this struggle. It was small moments that may have been meaningless at the time where he'd opened up about his rough upbringing. We joke around with each other in wood, even made friendship bracelets there. I still think about him from time to time. 

That guy never thought he'd ever mattered to anyone. Invisible to his parents, peers, and he thought he'd fade from our memories as well. Though he stuck with me the most as now I’m the same age he was, hoping he saw the light and didn't stop at 17 years old.

A year ago from today, I had no job, no plan and was struggling to keep my head above the schoolwork and waves of depression. Today, I have a job, a car, college lined up and my future apartment to look forward to. Whenever I look at that desk in my new apartment decorated with the bracelets we made and the notes from my time in the program, I remember those wonderful teenagers who I had the privilege of meeting. They probably don't know that I think about them all these years later. 

I want people to know their existence is not meaningless, it's not insignificant. It will get better. 

It's not always going to be like...awful.

Jayce Jensen is a student at Springfield High School. Special thanks to Winkie Mitchell and Beth Dixon at Wellspringfield.org. Dayton Youth Radio is supported by the Virginia W. Kettering Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council.