Name: Sydney Kalainov
Occupation: Junior Board Volunteer
Relationship To Josselyn: Junior Board Member

What draws you to the Josselyn mission?
What draws me to Josselyn’s mission is my personal experience with mental health challenges. I have a family history of ADHD, ODC, GAD, and alcoholism, so I have seen the toll that symptoms of these conditions have taken on the relationships within my extended family. People often neglect to realize that one person’s mental health doesn’t just affect them, but it can pose challenges to those around them as well. This is why it is especially important that everyone, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, immigration status, and other societal factors that traditionally limit a person’s access to valuable mental health resources are able to take advantage of the tools they need to live a balanced, productive, and meaningful life

What’s your favorite mental health resource?
My favorite mental health resource is the podcast Anything Goes with Emma Chamberlain. I initially discovered Emma through YouTube in middle school and although I don’t watch her videos as much anymore, I enjoy listening to her podcast when I go for walks. In my opinion, the experience of listening to a podcast is similar to having a conversation with a close friend; especially if I don’t feel like sharing my emotions in instances where I am overwhelmed, having the ability to just listen to someone talk helps to regulate my mood.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
The best piece of advice I have ever been given is not so much advice as it is a mantra. When I was having a difficult time balancing school with cross country and water polo this fall, I confided in my cross-country coach, and he said to me, “you’re going to have maybe ten good days a year, but for now, all you can do is put in the work to make them count.” While some may interpret this quote to be oriented towards the future, I see it as a reminder that not every day has to be perfect. Especially with the existence of social media, adults and teens alike are led to believe that everyone is constantly living a perfect life, making it difficult and even stressful to appreciate the positive aspects of an ordinary day. Whenever I am feeling insecure or overwhelmed, I remember that my emotions are completely valid and there are at least a handful of better days ahead.

What is something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t done yet?
I have always wanted to write a novel. My favorite books growing up were Matilda by Roald Dahl and the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney because I was able to identify with the protagonists and their relationships with their families. Thus, ideally, I would like to publish a piece of realistic fiction centered around the theme of adolescence and family relationships.

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