My life

Living in cramped conditions with little privacy has been
stressful for 18-year-old Stacey, but it has also made her more
determined to succeed.

I have lived with my mum, dad and two younger sisters in a small
two-bedroom flat all my life.

The three of us girls share one of the rooms which at times can
be very stressful. Often we all want to do something different
which can start an argument. The fact that we have no personal
space, especially when me and my middle sister were going though
puberty, didn’t help. Hormones raging, we were at each
others’ throats most of the time.

This environment made it difficult to study. I needed peace and
quiet but by the time it was quiet it would be time for my youngest
sister who is eight years younger than me, to go to bed and I
wouldn’t be able to work in our room.

Eventually I got into a routine of just blocking out everything
that was going on around me so I could study. This worked most of
the time, except when my sisters would go out of their way to
aggravate me. When they were in one of these moods I would go to a
friend’s house, or to my nan’s for sanctuary.

I think because I had limited time in which to study I worked
even harder to keep my grades good. It also helped being determined
to go into higher education as it gave me more willpower to

Hard as it has been living in a crowded home I do believe it has
given me some advantages, including being able to tolerate a lot
more than some of my peers who never had to share their room with
two younger children.

I find now it doesn’t matter where I am. If I need to
study I will do so without worrying about having somewhere

My advice to other kids in a similar situation is never lose
your determination to succeed. If you want something there is
always a way to get it – try to mentally block out what is
happening around you – it does work!

My Life invites contributions from children and young
people about a significant experience or issue in their life which
they would like adults to understand better. A fee is payable for
those pieces we publish. Contributions of 350-400 words should be
e-mailed to

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.