Written by Bethany Kogut
Twenty two weeks ago I wrote about what RISE means to me. Now that these weeks have gone by it only seems fitting to reflect back on not only what RISE means to me, but what RISE has done for me. My first post focused on how I stay rooted when things get out of my control. RISE seemed to be a safe haven for me during those times, but I have found that this program has done so much more than just be an escape from reality. RISE has developed me into a student who walks into a class with higher expectations than just the curriculum. RISE has taught me that there is more than to what the book reads and especially what the cover says not only in terms of education, but also with humans. RISE has helped me develop skills that I hope to use to influence many minds on my journey called life.
Relationships: RISE has helped me form relationships, learn how to make relationships and most importantly use relationships. I have become involved with distinguished professors, faculty, students, and strangers. I have realized that every individual has a lesson to teach me. At the beginning of September this lesson was to not throw away my food waste, but at the end of March my lessons have expanded to “the world is not scary, as long as you don’t watch the news”. Without the lessons that RISE has taught me about relationships, I would sit in the back of the classroom in every lecture, never exchange a friendly smile with the girl living down the hall at six in the morning, and definitely not ask strangers on a chair lift 19 hours away from home what advice they can give about life. The relationships I have made because of RISE may not be with people I will ever see again, but they will stay with me forever.
I: It may seem simple, and a little cliche, but RISE has taught me who I am and who I want to be. I knew when picking a major I did not want to just be another ordinary school teacher. RISE has allowed me to explore my options and use my creativity to come up with a life plan. This program has taught me to take risks and remember that anything is possible if you pursue it. Before RISE, I knew that I wanted to leave an impact on the world, that was my goal. But one day it was brought to my attention through RISE that you can say those words as much as you want, but without a plan, life will fly by before you know it and you wouldn’t have made a dent. From that day on I kept a post-it note on my desk saying, “Don’t just want to leave an impact, know what impact you want to leave.” I have now decided that I want to teach students who are underprivileged and show them the life and hope in learning gardens for themselves and their communities.
Studies: RISE has also helped me to expand my studies past tests and lectures. I believe that it is my duty to challenge the curriculum and to learn more than what is available. This may consist of reading extra books or going to talk to professors. It is my responsibility to reach outside of the classroom and to make thing more accessible to the way I personally learn. I feel that the skills that RISE has taught me about my studies will continue to help me to be successful throughout college and will also help me to adapt my future classrooms for the multitude of learners I may encounter.
Explore: If I can take anything away from the past year it is that every day should be different and routines are boring. RISE has taught me to explore new things. Whether this is to take a new route to class or to go on a spontaneous trip to the outskirts of Detroit, RISE has taught me that there is nothing to lose out of an exploration. Everyday there is something new to learn or see and RISE has reminded me that each day is unique. There are no standard operating procedures to life, and I learned that I get to make up the rules. RISE has influenced me to explore new ways to live my life and has helped me to explore new places where my life can go.
RISE has helped my first year of college be the closest thing to a breeze. I have found ways to go from ordinary to extraordinary and many opportunities that have helped me grow into a deeply rooted individual. Not only has RISE been my safe place, but it has also helped me to find the other places and ways in my life where I can make a difference.