• Kristen Miller

New Year, New Horizons


Anyone who works in education knows how busy things can get during the school year. We have just finished the end of two blissful weeks off for winter break, and I literally took all two weeks OFF. Completely off. (Now I know what you're thinking - it's been a lot longer than two weeks since I've written anything, and you'd be right in pointing that out. What I HAVE been doing the last two months while not writing anything for my organization has been the intense, trying work on the ground of helping facilitate positive and meaningful change for many struggling youth - anyone interested in the nitty-gritty details can e-mail me for more info @ kristenmiller@withheartproject.com)

So back to winter break... One of the ways I recharge from the stress of working around the clock to help kids is getting away. My husband and I took a little trip up to Clearlake, and stayed in the same place we stayed the day I made the decision to start my organization.

It has been ten months since that day. It's amazing how much can develop within such a short time, and how returning to the same place after such a dramatic turn can bring up quite a few emotions that had already been dealt with. I've been in education for 12 years (11 as a classroom teacher, one as a vice principal) and am now teaching part time and running my organization part time. I have always been of the mindset that "everything happens for a reason," but even with that mindset various life events can seriously challenge our will, strength, and resolve.

As each of us moves through life, we are tested - tested by people, places, situations, things, etc. Last school year was one of those for me. I adored much of the work I did as a vice principal, particularly working with kids who were struggling. So when my career path changed, a variety of emotions surfaced from sadness to anger to frustration to grief to fear. I've been spending a great deal of time teaching my students about the importance of self-care and dealing with difficult situations as they arise. We've had many discussions about self-esteem, confidence, constructive negative thinking vs. destructive negative thinking, managing emotions, mindfulness, etc. So when I had a conversation with someone recently that triggered some of the difficult emotions about last year, I allowed myself to feel, deal and move forward with the ability to make an informed decision about how to proceed given the weight still attached to me.

As such, I am proud to say that I am applying to Doctoral programs within the next few months, and have many other exciting endeavors on the horizon. 2018 was a roller coaster, and while I'm not 100% sure what the short-term future looks like, I AM 100% sure of my vision and ability to follow my dreams and make my vision a reality. If I can take the life situations that have led me to be confident, self-assured, and resilient, and translate them to my students so they know how to make their dreams and visions a reality, I'll consider that a win.

More exciting news to come.

Stay tuned...

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