“I went from failing more than half the subjects to graduating as one of the top students in the school”
We talked to former IES student Jonathan Gohde about what he has been doing since he graduated in 2020 and what he values most from his time at IES Länna.
Jonathan Gohde had been to three different schools in three years and was really struggling, both academically and behaviourally. When he joined IES Länna, things started to turn around for him. Now he is finishing his final year of law and economy at a top upper secondary school (gymnasium) and mentors students at IES Länna who struggle as he once did.
What was going on in your life before you came to IES Länna? I had gradually turned into the problem student I was constantly told I was. After being kicked out of my previous school I didn’t see any reason anything would change. I was always a smart, high-achieving kid (when I wanted to be) but didn’t realize my potential. Then I came to IES Länna to start year 8. I didn’t really have any expectations, not of the school, but more importantly, of myself. Fights between me and the teachers started in the classroom just a few days in. Things were just as normal.
How come IES Länna made you change things in your life? My first year wasn’t perfect, but for the first time, a few teachers and the principal had faith in me. The second year I promised myself to do what was best for me and put in the work needed to get into the gymnasium I wanted. So, when graduation day came, instead of failing more than half the subjects to I graduated as one of the top students in the school. All it took for me to change was one person to believe in me, even though it required more persistence than anyone could ever ask for. This had an impact on my whole perspective on the world and how I deal with people now. But my last year wasn’t perfect either, nor am I perfect now, or even planning to be, if ”perfect” means abiding by everything teachers and authorities tell you. It is important to stand up for yourself and others when needed. Essentially, developing enough self-respect and confidence to be able to stand up for yourself and what you believe in, but not arguing just for the sake of it, because it’s “cool”, or because you feel you're expected to.
What are you doing right now? I am in my final year of gymnasium, studying economy and law. I am also mentoring students at IES Länna. In everyday life, and at my work at the school, I implement tools developed through my own experience to communicate with people and students and reach them in ways nobody else does. The main problem is almost always that they feel misunderstood, and that nobody is even trying to understand them, and that is basically what I do. Talking, but more importantly, listening to students who feel misunderstood and therefore often lack the self-worth required not to act in a self-destructive manner. I try to reach them in ways that often nobody has ever done before and try to give them more insight and reflect on their own feelings and emotions. It is a very energy-consuming and demanding task, but if I can be that one person to change someone’s life for the better, it is worth it a million times over.
Looking back, what do you value most from your time at IES Länna? That most of the teachers cared for and were invested in the students. They wanted us all to succeed. When I misbehaved at my previous schools, that was it, the teachers either just gave up or punished me for it. At IES Länna, most of the teachers at least tried to respect me and had persistence with me when I did not know what was in my own interests.
Do you have any dreams for the future? I want to study psychology and behavioural science and become a professor and lecturer within the fields. I am also working on starting a business, so I will do my best to grow that as well. I also think it is important to travel and explore different cultures, to widen my perspective of the world, which I think is only possible through experience. Eventually, when the time is right, my biggest dream is to have a family of my own as well.