lunch

This is a guest post I wrote for Easyread, which helps kids with literacy skills and addresses different learning styles.

When I was 28 years old, I went back to kindergarten. Not to be a teacher or a volunteer. I went back to be a student again.

Since I’d graduated from college, I’d felt lost and let down. I’d worked my tail off in school for 17 years with the vague promise of success and happiness at the end of it all. I had studied hard, gotten good grades, and gone to a well-respected university. But the payoff that I was expecting never came.

Instead, I struggled, not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. In school, I’d become an expert at following instructions. But in real life there was no instruction manual, and I had no clue how to write my own. I was afraid of taking risks and making mistakes, and I was so used to giving my teachers what they wanted that I didn’t know what Iwanted anymore. I felt as if school had taken away the creativity and joy that I’d had as a child and replaced it with helplessness and anxiety.

I kept wondering how I’d do school differently if I had a second chance at it. I knew that I’d spend more time figuring out what I wanted from life than I’d spend following someone else’s idea of what I “should” want. I felt like my life needed a major reboot.

So when I had the crazy idea that maybe I could do my education over again, on my own terms, I went for it. I contacted teachers at my old schools in my small California hometown, and my college an hour south of San Francisco; I asked them if I could spend a week in each grade and blog about it. To my surprise, they were excited about what I was proposing, and they welcomed me back. I called the project “Reschool Yourself.”

I spent nearly four months at my old schools alongside the students there, doing whatever they happened to be doing at the time. I fingerpainted with first-graders, turned cartwheels (badly) with third-graders, and took algebra tests with high school students.  Here are three things I learned from the experience.

Read the rest of the post on the EasyRead blog.

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