September is just around the corner and it would be wise if we start talking about how to be vegan in school this year.
Young people are not supported when making a decision to live more ethical and healthier lives. We mock them, ignore them or bully them. We want them to do good yet when they do we don’t like it.
If you are a teenager, you probably spend a big portion of your life at school. Being vegan might be even more challenging in an environment that is not known for being veg-friendly.
Hopefully, our education facilities will soon become better at serving people with different values, beliefs and interests, but until then we have to do what we have to do.
Thankfully I did not have to deal with school when I was transitioning, but I did encounter challenging situations that tested how serious I was about being vegan. I learnt very important lessons that might bring value to you.
So here are my best tips on how to be vegan in school:
- Bring your own lunch and snacks.
I don’t know about your school but at mine, we had a canteen where we could get the food from. I’m not sure if there was a vegan (or vegetarian) option as this was a decade ago but if there are no plant-based meals you can choose from, bring your own food!
You can find delicious recipes on my Pinterest board but on top of my head, you can’t go wrong with bananas, sandwiches, yoghurt, and veggies with hummus.
- Don’t be an activist.
What do I mean? Exactly that, don’t be an activist when you are in school with a goal of learning about biology, history and math.
Sure, answer questions if people are curious but don’t go around trying to get people to go vegan because you will attract bullies and school won’t be so fun anymore.
Remember, when you meet people on the street or when you are posting things online, you can walk away and remove yourself if things get heated. But you will have to return to school tomorrow, no matter how ugly things might have gotten today.
- Seek new friends.
Instead of watching yet another Tom Harlock video, why not use social media to find new friends?
Nowadays almost every teenager has at least some social media presence, and when it comes to veganism, they are probably posting passionately about it all the time. Use this to your advantage.
Search hashtags, locations and comments to find vegans who are attending your school or the one that’s like 5 minutes away. It doesn’t hurt to at least try, no?
What do you think? Which one will make your school experience easier?
Remember to take care of yourself and if things get tough, you can always reach out to someone who understands. Plenty of vegans have been where you are and would love to help you.
As someone who has been bullied to the point of having to drop out of high-school because I was clinically depressed and highly suicidal, I know that teenagers can be really awful.
Obviously, everyone’s school years are going to be different, but if there is one thing I wish we could all say happened during, is that we had fun and that we learnt about the basics.
That’s why being vegan in school shouldn’t be a problem you have to worry about.