• Kristen Miller

the pain of being in transition


i recently encountered a situation in my life that has forced me to change direction. again. two years ago i was thriving in the school i was working in; i created a beautiful program where STUDENTS were thriving and changing to be leaders. then it all shifted in a matter of seconds. i was in a place where i had to give up the program, the relationships, the beautiful changes i built and start over. it was an incredibly difficult time. now two years later i find myself in the same situation. major life changes often force us to look back and reflect about where we've been, where we are, and where we'd like to go. upon surveying my 12 years working with youth, i realized the one thing that remained consistent from school-to-school, year-to-year, position-to-position, was that student often sought me out for guidance, for advice on difficult life situations they were facing. this was the part of education i absolutely loved - building those one-on-one personal relationships; having in-depth conversations that helped give kids hope and a set of tools that would allow them to be strong, confident, and successful. i've coached students from all walks of life:

*a 14-year old boy who was shattered because his best friend just got killed in a gang-related shooting

*a 16-year old girl who was just about to give up on herself and school, until she was one of my students

*a 15-year old girl who was being abused at home

*a 16-year old girl who had so much pressure on her to achieve a 4.0, be involved in all types of sports and extracurricular activities

*a 12-year old boy who realized he was transgender, but didn't feel safe enough to tell anyone yet

*a 13-year old girl who needed assistance in coming out to her parents as being gay

all of these individuals stood out to me because even though they were hurting so deeply, they felt safe enough to confide in me, and ask questions about how to proceed when they felt broken. and they only wanted me, despite the several other (sometimes several hundred other) teachers, employees, counselors, etc., within the school.

i take pride in the last 12 years and feel honored that each of the students who sought out my help felt safe enough to keep coming back. because i've helped so many students so profoundly, i've finally figured out that this is what i want to do full time. i want to help, coach, guide, inspire, motivate, and lift up students to help them realize that they are beautiful and strong and have something valuable to give back to the world. i'm SO excited to know that this is where i want to go, but in the meantime i'm stuck in this transitory period. the only coping mechanisms i've found are to continue to put one foot in front of the other, to take massive action even if/when i am feeling overwhelmed, and use my inner compass to guide me and ensure i'm on the right path, and to rise above anything standing in my way. to anyone else struggling with some sort of life transition, i'd like you to know that you're not alone. i am here for you. we can get through this together. one foot in front of the other, and continue following your inner compass.

with gratitude,

km

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