Nicolette made the move to boarding school during her Year Dot and opened herself up to a world of self-discovery…

Nicolette's Story

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Nicolette Ester

Nicolette says goodbye


Nicolette reflects on the past year and swtiches off her video diary camera for the last time...

Nicolette's to do list

  1. To fully adjust to living away from home when I go to boarding school. To cope being an independent person without the constant worry for my family.
  2. To encourage other local teenagers to participate in the elections for the Young Essex Assembly, in preparation for the end of my term of office in December 2008. As well as making a positive contribution to the running of the Braintree District Youth Council of which I am a current member.
  3. To continue with local charity work with teenagers and children.
  4. To act as a positive role model for other teenagers, and endorse those nominated for the Young Person of the Year Award 2008.
  5. To continue my contribution as Director of Fresh Voice magazine, to ensure the views of young people can be heard across the Braintree District.
  6. To spend quality time with my father who is severely disabled with Multiple Sclerosis.
  7. To make the most of facilities and opportunities when I attend Felsted Boarding School in September 2008.
  8. To further my love of performing arts.
  9. To enhance my involvement in cultural diversity, this was inspired through my recent participation in an exchange trip to South Africa with Essex’s Youth Services.

Nicolette's big plan

Posted: 30/06/2008

Hey, so I’m Nicolette, 16 and I’m Junior Young Person of the year in Essex. I’m taking a huge step over the next year, leaving my family to go to boarding school to do my A/S Levels. My life revolves around supporting my amazing mates, my community, in youth schemes and councils, fund raising for charity, and my family, all the things I love. Life’s always been a little tricky as Dad has Multiple Sclerosis, but my family copes somehow. It scares me leaving him and my family, but I’m passing responsibility on to my sister Isabel, who I have total faith in. So now I’m concentrating on setting myself up for a new beginning, somewhere completely different and making the most of new opportunities, but at the same time remembering the most important things in my life, my family and my friends. This means a new start and new freedom - so watch this space.

Nicolette's journal

Final Update: 16/09/2009

Life After Year Dot

Saying goodbye to Yeardot was really hard..and seeing it on television the other day just reminded me what a great bunch i've got to know over the past year..and how i'm going to miss all their exciting lives being shown online. But life has to move on, and i know change is always for the best..even if it doesnt seem it at the time..

The summer was a busy one for me, although i went away with my boyfriend and then on a family holiday to Egypt (which was lovely!) i was also busy reading, wider reading that is, for my Personal Statement, and mostly for an interview at Cambridge Uni (if i even get that far)..It scares me how much there is to learn about theology..and how i'm just touching the surface of it all..but its very exciting and i can't wait to get to know more about the suject.

I also learnt alot about myself over the summer, having time to myself and going out with my boyfriend and his friends really boosted my confidence..last year at Felsted, i honestly think i lost confidence. I was on my own in a new school, with different settings, everyone there knew each other, and i was alone. And spent alot of the year with my head in books because everyone else knew what they were doing and were quite happy just getting on with things. I really missed my old friends and my boyfriend...and over the summer, i've realised how much we've all changed..and i've grown seperate to them..thats quite a scary thing for me since we were always so close. But still it was fun catching up, even though at times it scared me how much people were growing up around me..without me.

I got my results too, for my A/S levels..and i really needed good grades for Cambridge, to make a good impression on my UCAS application. I got an A in RS..with one module at 98%..I got an A in Psychology :) , a B in History (one mark off an A) and a B in English (5 marks of an A). For me that was a great basis for my A Level results. I'm planing to take resits in each subject to get me the best results i can at A2. And now i've written my personal statement, its all getting very scary! But i'm excited about an adventure :)

But i've only been back at school for a week now, and there have already been huge changes..I started off by changing to the Upper Sixth Girls House Garnetts..and it really wasn't for me..i was a full time boarder last year, but i didn't enjoy it, i felt very alone and didn't really have the support network i needed to stop me falling into negative states of i decided to put an end to it..This week i've moved to Manor, the Girls day means i get the school bus to school i can come home in the evening. My new house at the school is lovely, the people are amazing and really welcoming, and its quiet enough to concerntrate. I love it there! And thats what matters..this year is important A2's mean alot to get into Uni..I've been predicted A*AA, which gives me a good chance to get into a good its all hard work from here..

If anyone has any advise on how to make a good UCAS entry or any advise on certain Uni's. Then get in contact! I really want to here from you!

Much Love x

Read all of Nicolette's blogs

Still want more?

Are you a young carer? Are you affected by a parents' illness? Want to share ideas in your classroom? Find specialist information and teaching resources on the websites below:

Young Carers Initiative

Princess Royal Trust for Carers

Teen Issues - Caring for a parent

Crossroads Caring for Carers

Multiple Sclerosis Society


Institute for Citizenship

Your messages

Check out Nicolette's amazing comments:

hey! after watching you on yeardot recently, i felt the urge to get in touch with you. i felt the need to commend you on what you have been through the last few months. being faced with difficulties in the family, and being away from home for so long, i just dont know how you did it. it was really nice to see things work out for you, and watch how you dealt with such different surroundings. you seem such a lovely girl, and you have shown me, there are ways to get to where you want to be. id love to be able to chat with you more. hope to hear from you soon, somehow.
well done with everything.
much love, Emma x

emma (1886 days ago) Report Comment

I just watchedyou on channel 4 and just wanted to say i find it quite refreshing the way you deal with everything that comes up in your life which includes dealing with your dad's disability! I myself have my mum who is disabled with severe rheumotoid arthritus and it took me many years to realise that i had to live my life for myself without just worrying about my mum. I don't think you really need advise as you seem to be doing great! x

kieran williamson (1887 days ago) Report Comment

hi nicolette, when i watched u on year dot i was really touched you are amazing how u have managed 2 juggle careing 4 ur dad so amazingly and manage 2 get the grades u needed 2 get into boarding school u are realli a brilliant role model for people who are growing up going through the same thing ur mum n dad must be soo proud of you well done all the best x

danielle (1888 days ago) Report Comment

Hi Nicolette, i found myself watching yeardot taday and i just wanted to say thank you for for sharing your life with us. You have had a lot of challeges(your dad illness and performing at school) to deal with and you passed with flying colours. Life will never be plane sailing but i truly beleive that you will be able to acheive whatever you want in life because you are ubstoppable. You might say that a lot more young people are dealing with the same issues but i can tell you that specific cases are different and no one could have handled being in your shoes better than you did and that makes you unique and special. I celebrate the incredible journey you will go through to get to your goals and i nkow that you will get there, coz you are unstoppable and may God bless you.

Alex Kajuba (1895 days ago) Report Comment

hi nicolette,
I am in my final year at uni, my younger sister is starting uni this month and our mum has M.S. Our dad works long hours during the week, so when at home my sister and i were carers for our mum.
If you want any advice about heading to uni or about your dad or anything add me on facebook

Thea Cantelli (1895 days ago) Report Comment

Picture of Nicolette EsterHi Guys, just wanted to may be easier to add me on Facebook than Myspace if you want to get in touch at any time and give me some advise..maybe on getting things sorted for Uni next year, or any advise with A Levels??? Would be a HUGE help! Thanks..Nicolette x

Nicolette Ester (1902 days ago) Report Comment

Well where do I begin? I think a lot of who you are is kept secret Nicolette. Good luck with the duke of Edinburgh award. Looking forward to when you get back. As you can tell I'm bored :) and miss you... Like a hellovalot :/ ah well. Got a party later on. Promise I wont get too drunk. Thinking of you. Enjoy the sheep ;) I love you <3

Gary (1969 days ago) Report Comment

Picture of Nicolette EsterHi Beth! Glad it all went well with TT's show! I bet it was amazing! And yes..sadly the year is over for yeardot :( But it has been amazing! Its just gone by soo quickly!Hope you are well :) Nicolette x

Nicolette Ester (1980 days ago) Report Comment

OMG i cant believe yeardot's over. Good luck with the future!

Bethany (1980 days ago) Report Comment

Thanks, the show went really well but would have been better if you were there!
love beth

Beth (1982 days ago) Report Comment

Picture of Nicolette EsterThank you for the help Beth :) The exams went as well as they could, so i'm quite happy. But unfortunately i've got alot on at school at the moment and will not be able to come and help out with the show..although i would love to! GOOD LUCK! And Scott, thank you for the encouragement, means alot! Nicolette x x x

Nicolette Ester (1987 days ago) Report Comment

hi its scott from notley, just wishing you the best of luck with whatever you are doing, you deserve to do well because you work so hard! Best of luck with everything.
scott :)

scott (1998 days ago) Report Comment

hey Nicolette when your sitting your exams just remeber being on stage at the civic and i'm sure you'll be fine. are you stiull helping with the show?

Bethany (2009 days ago) Report Comment

Picture of Nicolette EsterHi Faye, thank you for your comment, and it means alot that people are following everything going on in my Yeardot :) ..I am indeed a christian, and i always find prayer is a big help in my life, always turn to God in times of need to be honest, although alot of people may not understand that, it does help me, even if its to think through problems and what is actually going on, and i know my faith has always been there to guild me through the problems i've had over the past few years! It means alot to know other people can find the same relief through religion, even at times when society seems against it, and its not 'the cool thing to do' :) Thank you for your comment!x

Nicolette Ester (2047 days ago) Report Comment

Heyy x
I just wanted to say that I have been downloading your podcast (and a few other yeardotters (-: ) and i would just like to say how amazing I think you are. Giving up so much to look after your dad was amazing and seeing your video telling us how you came through your eating disorder was very brave and I know how you must have felt, stuggling with something similar myself. From your videos I couldn't quite work out whether or not you were a religious person at all (although there was a clip of you singing which made me wonder) but I am and however you want to take this I have been praying for you to carry on enjoying what life is giving you because even if you don't see it all now it is a blessing and you will be able to look back on this amazing oppourtunity (even the bad bits) and see everything it has done for you. I really hope that you can keep building on your sucess and keep smiling. The best of luck
Faye xx :-)

Faye (2053 days ago) Report Comment

hiya i can see you got alot on your plate but your doing well. you got to stay strong. i knew a girl wnt to boaring just like u with exact same hair bit longer and a big chubby face and she didnt like it at first but loved it after a term. xoxoxo

jena (2059 days ago) Report Comment

i think you are doing a great job. I am 12 and i go to boarding school too. I am now in my second year and really enjoy it . Some advice which helped me alot is to remeber home but still think how proud they are of you being there . This will help when you really feel down and want to go home. Keep up the good work and i think you are a real role model to everyone.

charlotte jiggins (2066 days ago) Report Comment

Picture of Nicolette Esteraww Bethany, i miss you, and Tomorrow's Talent, i will be coming back to help out for with the show! I've already been in contact with Gavin, so i've got that all sorted!And charity work..well you have to choose something you are interested in, say, looking at conservation work with nature..research charities onlne and find out events that you could take part in around your local area. And if you know a specific charity give them a ring and say your interested in doing some work for them, they are always looking for support and volunteers, and never be afraid to ask, because they are lovely people :) Hope that helps! x x x

Nicolette Ester (2071 days ago) Report Comment

Picture of Nicolette EsterThank you Liam, Jay, Collins and Tammy for your advise :) Its always nice to know that other people can relate to my story, but i'm not sure, Dan, that getting 'laid' would really be the answer to my problems.. and Carol, when your thinking about helping a parent with MS its important to realise that they will change, and their emotions for whatever reason will be all over the place. But don't be put off, its enough for your dad to know that you care for him and that you want to support him. Ask him youself if there is anyting you can do for him, and put yourself out there to help him, he will appreciate it. And for his sake, and for your family's..remain as positive as you can and make the most of the time you spend with them :) Thank you for your advise :) x x x

Nicolette Ester (2071 days ago) Report Comment

hey, i would love to get involved in some charity work. have you got any suggestions? would love to get intouch agian.

Bethany Smith (2084 days ago) Report Comment

Hey, you and i used to go to Tommorows Talent together with Gavin. Havent seen you for ages! Good luck with A-levels

Bethany Smith (2087 days ago) Report Comment

Hey Nicolette. :)

I saw the Year Dot TV show you were featured in the other day, so I came here to find out a little bit more about your story. I thought your attitude towards Anything Goes was great - I like performing but I'm not the most talented, so if I get cast at all in shows it's as a chorus member, but it's important not to dwell on the size of the role, and just appreciate the fun you have whilst taking part! It was definitely a really positive thing to get involved with whilst you're still settling in and making firmer friendships at Felsted. Throwing yourself into projects like that is probably a good way to stave off homesickness, too!
I've just read your latest blog - hope you're feeling better now! Your honesty throughout Year Dot is really interesting - I hope it's rewarding for you.

Best of luck with the rest of your Year Dot! xx

Tammy (2089 days ago) Report Comment

srsy i feel for u lookin after yr dad. now its ur time. uve gotta enjoy your self and just get laid ull be much happierand not look miserable. good look with new skiool

dan (2089 days ago) Report Comment

hi watched year dot a couple of times and think it must be really hard going from normal school into boarding school and i think you have done well. my gf used to go boarding school and said they are very stuck up i hope you dont get like that because it would be a shame good luck.

collins (2090 days ago) Report Comment

what do u do if u arent able 2 help ur dad with mupltle seriouis as i cant be able 2 help my dad as i dont know what 2 do any ideas

Carol roberton (2091 days ago) Report Comment

Hey nicolette i saw your year dot last week and i feel so sorry for you because you have a ver busy life i hope you do well in life because you desrve the best anyway my name is jamal but am known as jay anyway wish you the best and hope everything goes thr right way for you take care...

Jaal (2091 days ago) Report Comment

It's good to see young people interested in politics. Not only that but you caring of your ill father makes what your doing even more inspiring. I can't offer you any help or advice as far as adjusting to life in boarding school (i usually have a deep resentment for public schoolchildren, however i can make an exception), but i can tell you that your doing excellently, and keep going. Remember, you're your own worst enemy, no-one will put you down or criticise you more than yourself. Have faith in your abilites. Good luck.

Liam (2092 days ago) Report Comment

Picture of Nicolette EsterHi Laura, i know the idea of moving away from everyone can seem really scary, especially when you don't know anyone! I mean i didnt know anyone here at first. But what you have to remember is that you are going to uni for yourself, to do what you want, so make the most of it all :) Everyone there will be in the same boat as you, and there will always be people there who will be really supportive! Do your best to get to know people, and get involved in uni life. You will suddenly discover after a while that you never understood why you were worried in the first place! Just be true to youself and you will be fine :) best of luck! x x x

Nicolette Ester (2097 days ago) Report Comment

i know how you feel about the boarding school thing. i go to one in harrogate and while all other schools were closed we wer still open except mine also has day girls so none of them came in but we still had to go, which totally sucks!

charlie chapman (2097 days ago) Report Comment

Hey Nicolette,do you have any advice for me? I feel really really strong feelings for a girl but can't word my feeling for her.... Im usually really silver-tongued and can word everything smoothly but when I think of this amazing girl the rush of feelings amazes me. Any advice? Lots of love, Gary x x x x x

Gary Thomason (2098 days ago) Report Comment

hi nicolette. i was wondering if you have any advice for me. Im 17 and in my final year at college. in september, i am moving away from home to go to university. i currently live in wston-super-mare... and am moving away to wales. none of my friends will be attending the university with me. so i will be alone. and i wont know anyone there. do u have any tips/advice for me?
thanks for your help.
Laura King x

Laura King (2098 days ago) Report Comment

Picture of Nicolette EsterThank you so much everyone for your comments, it really means alot to me that people can be so kind! But as well as that to see other people have been through a simular thing to me :) I really appreciate knowing what you have been through to, it is very supportive. And i will take all your advise into consideration so thank you so much!

Nicolette Ester (2098 days ago) Report Comment

hi nicolette

i think your doing very well you are a very pretty kind fun loving person that takes time off to help her diabled family resident.(sorry that was a bit cheesey).

Hannah (2098 days ago) Report Comment

Hey Nicolette,

I just watched your programme on C4 and a lot of your story strikes a similar path to what I have been through. I have a younger brother who suffers from duchenne muscular dystrophy which means he is unable to do anything for himself despite having full mental and language capacity. I have been a carer for him for pretty much the last 10 years since I was 11.
I remember before I went off to university in 2005, I was worried about moving too far away in case something was to happen while I was away. However, I moved out and lived in halls and a student house for 3 years and to some extent it did make my commitments easier at home. Its hard to explain but being away from the constant pressures does it make it easier to deal with when you return because you feel refreshed. Obviously in contrast you do come home and find that the condition has worsened and that can be a shock to the system so it can be a difficult thing to balance.
Anyway, you look as if you are throwin

Alex (2098 days ago) Report Comment

Hey Nicollete
I was just sat doing sum uni work with the tv on and happend to catch your story on tv. I was at boarding school from age 10 to 18 in scotland and could really relate to what you were saying about the whole bubble environment etc. I felt that boarding school was a very regulated and sheltered environment and enjoyed it until I got to around 16 and realised that the kids out there who were my age and at normal school were living a different life and experiencing more than me. I guess the best advice is to surround yourself in freinds, activities, work and really get to know your teachers and housemates. That way when you are down and have those days where you want to be at home. Youve almost got a second family to support and talk to. I talked about what life would be like once I leave and uni and the real world etc with my freinds just to get a taste or an image to motivate myself to finish school and get out there. This seemed to help me.I was lucky enough to actually h

Colin (2098 days ago) Report Comment

DO NOT overload your self! I know what you are like!

Hope that you are having fun tho and all will turn out well give it time!


Ben (2098 days ago) Report Comment

Hi Nicolette, what a fantastic week that was, i rely miss everyone allready.. especially getting early in the mornings to wash my hair with a certain somebody. When i read this page i was amazed, i never new you had all this going on! You one fantastic girl and i no that your looking at fantastic things in the future! I cant wait to spend more time getting to no you on BDYC. keep up the good work :) X

Natisha (2099 days ago) Report Comment

hey, you know who i am :) lol. You're an amazing girl and someone for everyone to look upto. I know that in the long run you always make the right decisions, and i trust you will now. So.. how was the leak and potato soup? :P bit peppery lol. "There was a tiny bird... with a yellow bill... it landed on... my window sill.... i coaxed him in.... "

Tiny Bird (2101 days ago) Report Comment

Hi nicolette, I'v been boarding for the past 6 and a bit years, I'v really enjoyed it, you get to meet some really nice people and make new friends

ellen frith (2109 days ago) Report Comment

Hi, Nicolette, i know it seems a bit daunting having to think about what uni you wanna go to, but believe you and me, it really pays to start looking and applying now otherwise you'll get even more stressed if u keep putting it off, when i was going through that process, about 4 years ago, places filled up pretty quick, and people i kept putting it off, leading to lots and lots of stress!! you don't need to go down that route.

I hope this advice is useful and everything works out for you

Matt McCann (2109 days ago) Report Comment

your story was amazing not many teenager would help look after their dad like you have. it goes to show what a great person you are and i wish you all the luck in the world

rachel (2111 days ago) Report Comment

Dear Nicolette.
I am so prowed to see a home born Notley High School girl doing so well. I would have never known that you have done all these amazing things when i walked past you in the corridor a thousand times over. You are seriously a role model to all students and esspecialy Notley Students. I really admire you and look up to you. I hope that your continue to enjoy felsted i really do. I love the amount of effort you are putting into all areas of your life i really am. You seriously prove that not all teenagers are bums!! And that is a great thing. I hope people will always give you the respect you deserve. Keep up all the great work your doing. Im sure a few teachers and Notley are Extreemly Prowed of you to. To be honest i dont think you need any advise because you are doing EVERYING right. Take care..x

Charlotte Hooks-Hales ( a year 11 student at notley) (2112 days ago) Report Comment

I don't really have any advice for you, but I just watched you on TV and felt the need to tell you how brave I think you are and how you really deserve all the luck in the world after all the hard work you have put in through your life with your family and your school work! I wish when I was your age I had the strength you seem to have. I hope you succeed in everything you desire x

Lucy Bunyan (2113 days ago) Report Comment

Hi Nicolette,
Just watched you on tv and have to say it's amazing what you have done for your dad and overall the grades you achieved even though you had troubles at home. I've just turned 17 so i'm in the same boat as you.. I'm a guy a hate most girls because what they have become but you are such a nice person even though how it is these days (sounding old) even though I was in a popular crowd at school, at first it went to my head then I realised and changed.. I'm just proud how your not like over girls and you've never let it go to your head. Anyway... heres the end of my speach.

Ash Lyus (2113 days ago) Report Comment

Hey Nicolette,
You don'tknow me but i think you are really amazing.Al the stuff you do.And i hav just seen you on t.v and your at boaring school if you have like msn or something would you add me ?

Kirstie (2113 days ago) Report Comment

Picture of NicoletteThank you so much for you advise and lovely comments guys! It really means so much to me, its great to have your support :) Thank you! Nicolette x x x

Nicolette (2117 days ago) Report Comment

Hi Nicolette,

I noticed that one of your videos was about how homesick you felt and if anyone had any advise, my Dad said that what he did at bording school was to look at the moon, as he new he could see it from his house.
I hope it works and let me know.

See you at school. :)

Emma (2117 days ago) Report Comment

Nicolette, you have more confidence than you know, you are such a lovely, bubbly person, continue to be yourself, enjoy your time at boarding school, you fully deserve it. You have something about you that makes other people happy. Everytime I see you, I have a smile on my face because you are such a smily person. You are able to build other people up and you just need to bring that into your own life!

Just go for your dreams girl, you are amazing.

Nicole (2117 days ago) Report Comment

Picture of NicoletteHi Marilyn,
Thank you so much for your advise, and i agree life isn't always going to be easy! I will keep your thoughts in mind :)
Your story sounds really interesting, and i think growing up in SA must have been wonderful. I was part of a South African Exchange group, and stayed in Paarl near Cape Town for 3 weeks, it was an amazing experience, and it is such an amazing country, it made me realise alot about myself and who i am. I would love to spend more time there someday doing work with the young people there,i found them so inspiring!
Thank you for your comment :)

Nicolette (2124 days ago) Report Comment

Are you kidding?! My mission in life is to promote confidence and well-being! And do I sense a bit of South African in you? I spent the majority of my teen years in Cape Town, South Africa. At that time, I felt completely lost and out of place. Having grown up with French parents in a completely laid back and surfy SA was not as easy as it sounds. Confidence comes from within. One day you will know what really makes you tick and thats when you'll realise what a waste of time it is to feel bad about yourself. And if anyone is mean to you, it's only because they're on the same boat as you, the only thing is that they react differently. Life is a journey, enjoy the ride; it's only doubt that makes us feel uneasy.

Marilyn (2125 days ago) Report Comment