Blog Post 1: Why I’m Here

I am here because I am curious and ready to learn.  I heard about the program through my sophomore English teacher, who thought I would be interested in the program and what it could teach me.  I hadn’t heard of “What’s the Story?” before, and I was hesitant to join. For me, commitments are a big deal, and I hate having to back out of something I agreed to do.  I didn’t want to say yes, only to realize that I had too much on my plate or wasn’t interested anymore. I’m taking AP college prep classes, and I was afraid I would be overwhelmed by taking on another class -especially one I’d just recently learned about and had never been a part of before.  But I realized that I wouldn’t really know what the class could offer me if I decided not to take it; I would never have the experience if I was too scared to do something that interests me.

Deciding to take the class was the right decision.  I’m starting to learn more about who I am and who I want to be by thinking about what matters to me, even though we’re still only brainstorming about the social issues we want to help change.  This program will force me to decide what I care about and what I want to do something about, which is something I never really had to think about in other classes I’ve taken.

I’m here because I want to learn more about myself, and about the struggles of the people around me.  I care deeply about many things, though sometimes I can’t exactly articulate what they are or how I feel.  I also haven’t had an opportunity to work closely with people the way I will in this class. I’ve worked jobs where I had to talk to people everyday; I’ve been a part of group activities that required me to work collaboratively with others; and I’ve taken a We the People class where the final project was to pick an issue in the community, conduct interviews with experts, and research a solution, which was a similar project to the one I will be working on in “What’s the Story?” this year.  I hope that “What’s the Story?” will help me define what is important to me, and help me to work and communicate better with others. These are both necessary and vital skills to have, and will help me in the future, no matter what field of work I go into.

I am here because I want to grow as a person and learn more about who I am.  

Kaitlin Emerson

9 Responses to “Blog Post 1: Why I’m Here

  • Hi Katie,
    You and I are very similar. As we both have a ton on our plate and were wary about adding one more. All with the fear of being overloaded. But unwilling to turn anything down. To me, it sounds like you are fully committed you are ready to take a leap of faith and see where you go. Even though you aren’t entirely sure what you’re interested in pursuing. I can see that when you get a gut feeling that you discovered that one issue. That truly gets under your skin you will just pounce on it.

    Your post gives an understanding of who you were, who you are, and who you aspire to be. Which is huge as you sound super self-aware about certain aspects of you. While you still wonder what matters to you.

    I remember you were in my group on kickoff day. When we were sharing what gets under our skin. I was wondering are you still interested in that topic or if you have you discovered something else?

    I hope you have a good week.

    • Hi Meredith,

      I want to see where the idea I shared at the kickoff, about the foster system, will take me. I’ve come up with numerous questions that will hopefully guide my research and put what I’ve seen in the media in a more real context, or even disprove some of what I think I know about foster care. Because foster children are associated with trauma, abuse, and mental disorders in television shows and movies, they are painted in a negative light in our world today. Even if the stereotypes are untrue, people are biased against fostering or adopting children because they are afraid they won’t be able to handle it. And yes, some foster parents are unequipped to handle certain children, not all children are unmanageable.

      It really does seem like we are alike, particularly in our shared reluctance to take on more than we can handle but not wanting to miss out on something that might be special. I’m glad we both decided to be a part of this program this year. I’m sure the journey of discovering what matters to us and what we want to do about it is only just beginning.

  • Nathan Archambault
    6 years ago


    I’m so glad that you listened to the advice of your ever smart sounding English teacher. It’s clear that you are an engaged and intelligent learner. This is certainly the place to take those skills and amp them up as you do some real world learning. I’m hoping that you are starting to find some issues that you are passionate about creating change around. Change is never easy. In fact, it’s often difficult and messy. You’re in the right place to get started. I know that you’re going to have a great year.

  • Robin Mary Bebo-Long
    6 years ago

    I am intrigued and inspired by your willingness to take a risk and join this cohort of learners that are striving to become socially active. In particular, I am struck by your words when you said,” This program will force me to decide what I care about and what I want to do something about”. Learning about social inequities can be challenging and uncomfortable. I applaud you for taking your first steps on this journey. I look forward to reading your blog.

  • Robin Mary Bebo-Long
    6 years ago

    I must apologize, I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Robin. I am a teacher in Cavendish, Vermont. I am formally a naturalist (which means I taught environmental education). I am part of a cohort of educators who are also passionate about equity and social change.

  • Hi there,

    English teacher connection – wondering what you think this teacher saw in you? Do you think it is because he or she saw that you did some interesting and engaged project work in the WE, or is it more about recognizing you are interested in social change, or better yet is it that the teacher knows you want to do more self-exploration and knows this is a good way to do it?.

    Glad to know you see it as the right decision. This is a new type of learning for me as well. I’m still feeling overwhelmed but think I’ll find I can settle in when I find a focus of interest to me. Hoping all of you can help.

    I appreciate you sharing your feelings of vulnerability with us here since it reflects much of the way I’m thinking.

    • Hi Liv,

      I’m so glad I made the right decision, too. I am excited to narrow down my interests to come up with a worthwhile topic for the project. I think what my teacher saw was that I am passionate. I put all of my effort into doing well in school, and I think he saw that I cared about what I was doing. I hadn’t identified the specific issues that I truly care about (I still haven’t completely), but I’m sure he knew that this program would be good for me in that regard.

      I hope you find something you’re passionate about. From what I’ve seen so far from the kickoff, vulnerability is something we have to grow comfortable with. We’re all here to help you on your journey to whatever topic you decide to pursue.

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