Growth to be made along the way.

I am here because I wanted something different from my schools environment/atmosphere a place where I could find something I’m interested in and focus on it and learn about and make a difference through it. A place to challenge my collaboration skills, a get a break from the people at school and be able to work with people who actually want to work on something together and to attempt to make an influence. I don’t know what I want to do here, I have small ideas for topics and issues, and yes some of them stand out from others, but I’m just unsure. I know that there is going to be a lot of growth for me through this program. I know that there will be times when it’s hard, but that’s when we learn the most, and we gain from our struggles and mistakes. I am here because I want to make a change, and make some errors along the way and learn from them. I want to broaden my interests and learning, I want to follow a topic and dig in deep, and learn how to create and do interviews.

Photo by Taneli Lahtinen on Unsplash

Sasha Miler

7 Responses to “Growth to be made along the way.

  • Dixie Goswami
    5 years ago

    “I am here because I wanted something different from my schools environment/atmosphere a place where I could find something I’m interested in and focus on it and learn about and make a difference through it”

    Dear Sasha,
    As a long-time member of BLTN, I’m writing to you from South Carolina to let you know what it means to know that What’s the Story Vermont is meeting at Middlebury and you’re there because you was to make a difference through your participation. Many good wishes for today and this year. Dixie Goswami

  • Sasha,

    Nice to meet you yesterday and I so appreciate what you’ve shared here, particularly that you are unsure of what you will end up doing. Being unsure is both scary and an opportunity. Try to avoid deciding too soon and explore lots of ideas until you zero in on a broad topic that deeply interests you and a group that is going in the direction you want to go.


    Geoff Gevalt

  • Sasha,

    It was nice to meet you at the Kickoff Day last week. It sounds like you are in WtS for the right reasons. You are here to work with others who want to work towards a shared goal, and other students are here for that reason as well. You are here for something that will challenge your collaboration skills, and there will certainly be moments this year that challenge those skills. However, despite the hardships that await you on this journey, in the end, you are here to make a difference, and know that whatever topic you eventually settle on, you will make a difference.


  • Silas St. James
    5 years ago

    Hi Sasha,
    I’m Silas St. James, Curriculum Director at Shaker Regional School District in New Hampshire, and I am thrilled and honored to follow your blog and all of that growth that you so aptly anticipate! I heard about WTS a few years ago when I was a curriculum leader in Vermont, and I was intrigued for many of the same reasons you expressed in your first post. To motivate yourself, to set the terms of your own learning, to work together, and to strive toward something you find important – shouldn’t that always be the purpose of all school experiences?
    I know that wasn’t a reality for me as a high school student. In the way you describe your school and classmates, I see some echoes of how I felt in 9th-12th grade. Can you tell me more about some highlights and frustrations you have experienced in your journey of learning so far? What has it been like working with peers in your school? Where do you think your motivation to “make an influence” comes from? What are your expectations for how your WTS cohort will be different?
    I’m also impressed with your mature perspective on making mistakes and how that will lead to growth. When have you been able to turn a past mistake into learning or into success?
    I look forward to hearing more about your ideas and goals as they begin to take shape!

    • Hi Silas,
      I agree with your opinion of what school experiences should be. I’m a current 8th grader at Shelburne Community School, a K-8 school. The past 3 years of middle school has been a bumpy road. I’ve always struggled with making friendships and relationships with people because of a past situation in 6th grade. I have a teacher named Sam Nelson, our social studies teacher, in his classes he pushes the idea of student choice. He pushes us to create our own units as a class, and it’s feel really good to finally be able to make our own choices in what we learn. Their are some units were he decides the learning, but one of the recurring problems is that we usually end up not going to deep into our units, in general. You asked what it’s been like working with peers in my school, we do a lot of independent and group work in our classes, a majority of the time you get a lot of groups that don’t do any work or these other ones that have some people doing the work and the rest aren’t. It’s why I’m excited to be a part of a program that has people there because they want to be there, not because they’re forced to. To be honest I don’t know where my motivation to “make an influence” comes from. There could be the possibility it comes from the injustice I’ve seen and experienced from my family relatives.
      I expect that being at WTS will be a productive environment, and that I can be who I am and share my ideas and not know that they aren’t going to be judged or rejected. The latter is one that I’m personally trying real hard to be comfortable and understand that it won’t happen at WTS. I’m trying to open myself up and not be afraid of rejection.

  • Hi Sasha,
    My name’s Elsa. I’m a sophomore at CVU and I have gone through the What’s the Story? VT twice and each time I had experiences that matched what you said above. Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond to your post. I’ll try to be more punctual next time.
    The fact that you don’t have an idea on what you want to focus on this year is a great thing. It will give you the opportunity to dip your toes into different ideas and conflicts within our state. One way to really start thinking about a topic is to talk to adults and kids around you and learn what they see could be fixed. Another idea is looking at the I-Search Blogs and the Social Action Work tabs of the past years and see what other people have focused on. I think you’ll find some really fascinating stories there. You mentioned that you have some ideas that aren’t as common as others but that is totally fine. Look into Lena Ashooh’s project from last year and the year before. She did an amazing documentary practically by herself in case you need inspiration.
    I am so excited to see what else you write about and discover before the first retreat, which are amazing. Let me know if you have any questions AT ALL. I’m pretty busy, but I’ll usually respond pretty quickly.

    -Elsa Lindenmeyr

  • I really connected to you saying you wanted something different from your school’s environment to learn. I feel like sometimes that’s all we need to remind ourselves that learning isn’t tedious. It’s not something that’s meant to be put into subject boxes, and that’s something I hope we can get away from during this experience.

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