At our last staff meeting of the Core Staff we were discussing our work with the teen members and someone remarked that the reason any particular teen’s progress might be challenging to quantify is that we’re “here in the muck of learning.” This time known as adolescence is one huge and life-changing learning experience after another. Hormones, intense physical changes, and dramatic brain development set the stage for radical transformation of our whole selves. Young adulthood is not a time when we necessarily change anything about who we essentially are, but a time when we begin to fully become who we are. We make enormous strides in areas like independence, self-awareness, and self-determination. We establish connections with peers and adults that can stay with us for the rest of our lives, often even determining the course our lives will take. Our emotions are raw, real, and right in our faces. Overall, a very mucky time indeed, especially if we think of muck as the fertilizer and fuel that makes everything and anything possible.
Catherine Gobron …. program director of North Star: Self-directed Learning for Teens