~This blog entry is brought to you from the electronic portfolio of CS9 student Krystina Millar. Conserve School electronic portfolios connect student experiences to the school’s learning goals. Krystina is from Murrells Inlet, South Carolina where she attends St. James High School.~
“While I am at Conserve I hope to try new things outside of my comfort zone while also doing activities I love. I want to develop lifelong friendships and become friends with my teachers instead of seeing them as just people who lecture and give me homework. I would like to experience and thrive in an environment outside of my comfort zone. This means living in a close knit community as well as living in a colder climate. I hope to make the most of every situation thrown at me while at Conserve and learn from each of them.” My E-Portfolio Introduction
I accomplished my goal because not all of my time at Conserve was easy but I did not let any particular struggle tear me down. I tried to work through each challenge logically and I feel I was successful in doing so. I became much more self-aware while at Conserve School. I knew what circumstances helped me and what circumstances hurt me. I prioritized self-care while here at Conserve because I knew that in order to be successful in other areas of life I needed to be successful in taking care of myself.
There were a few surprises pertaining to situations I had never experienced before. I had to apply my stress management skills to fit the situation. I was definitely outside my comfort zone in ways I never expected but that is when I experienced the most growth. One of my initial goals this semester was to take advantage of every opportunity presented to me. While this a generally an excellent practice, especially at a semester school like Conserve, I quickly realized I could not do everything. I needed to set aside time for rest and relaxation as well as fun in order to be healthy here. It was hard at first to accept not being able to do every single activity, but my overall wellbeing benefited by doing the best I could and taking the time I needed to relax. Because I will be attending college next fall, my goal is to continue using the independence skills and self-awareness I learned while at Conserve to help me succeed.
I hope to thrive at college next fall and continue to learn more and more about what I love. I also hope to hike the entire Appalachian Trail in the near future. I value simple living so when I get home, I will make it a goal of mine to be less focused on material items. While I believe environmental stewardship is extremely important, I have realized that it is not my passion and it would not be fair for me to pursue something I am not entirely passionate about. However, I will not abandon the natural world completely. In college, I plan on majoring in Outdoor Ministry with a minor in Adventure-Based Counseling. I will use the wilderness as well as outdoor activities such as backpacking, rock climbing, and paddling to help struggling youth and assist them in establishing a connection with the natural world.
Outdoor recreation is my passion so I have no doubt I will continue to love the outdoors as long as I live. I would like to combine my love for the outdoors with my love for helping people and reach struggling youth and teenagers in the future. I plan on expanding my backpacking, paddling, and climbing skills and eventually be able to teach those skills in the future. One of the many reasons I am sad about leaving the Conserve School is the lack of cross country skiing available in my home state of South Carolina. I have fallen in love with cross-country skiing and I will be heartbroken to leave the wonderful sport behind.
Despite leaving so many wonderful things behind, I look forward to all I will accomplish in the future. Conserve is just one chapter of my life with many more wonderful experiences to come. I’m not sure exactly what the future holds, but I have no doubt that I will spend as much time outside doing what I love as I can. I hope to climb a mountain one day. Maybe Everest, maybe not.
Krystina Millar, Conserve School Semester 9
More photos from Krystina’s semester at Conserve School.
Conserve School provides a semester-long immersion for high school students in environmental studies and outdoor activities that deepens their love of nature, reinforces their commitment to conservation, and equips them to take meaningful action as environmental stewards. Thanks to the generosity of Conserve School’s friends and its founder James Lowenstine all accepted students receive significant scholarship support.