“I remember the flier,” Griselle recalled of first hearing about On the Road at their school’s elective fairs.
“It was a [picture of] a group of people at college and a few students at a recording studio. And I thought, you know what, if I get an opportunity to visit colleges and do apprenticeships … this could be like a good thing to have under my belt.”
Griselle said it seemed like a good opportunity and gave them something to do after school.
In middle school … I would just get on the bus and go home. But I knew I wanted, during my high school years, to at least try to get more involved,” Griselle recalled. “And I didn’t know much about high school, so it was like, okay, I think I need to have something under my belt to show that I’m committed.”
Griselle, who will be a senior next year, joined our programs when they entered high school and has been with us ever since.
Griselle said one of the most important opportunities they’ve been given thanks to On the Road has been the chance to learn more about various colleges and careers.
“I had no idea … about colleges [and] I have no one who went to high school in the United States,” Griselle said, whose mom immigrated to the U.S.
Griselle said On the Road really helped them start to think more seriously about college and steps for after high school.
“We’ve had speakers coming in talking about the colleges and what the FAFSA [is], and On the Road was my first experience with all of that,” Griselle said.
Griselle, second from left, during a college trip with On the Road.
Griselle said the environment at On the Road really gave them a chance to start thinking about and visiting colleges much earlier— and start asking important questions, like what size college and what kind of environment best suits them.
“I got to learn about this a little bit ahead of time and even visit colleges my freshman year. And it’s like I never thought I would even visit colleges,” Griselle said.
Griselle, who’s now starting to think more seriously about college options, is interested in pursuing Environmental Science, which is a passion they discovered during an On the Road Career Enrichment Course.
“The [course] that actually kind of changed like what I want to do in college and what I wanted to at least prepare myself for was the Native Meadow Project,” Griselle remembered.
Griselle presenting about the Meadow Project during one of our learning showcases.
The Native Meadow Project was a program we used to run as part of our Apprenticeships, which looked at how to better conserve natural habitats. It has now become Earth Club, which Griselle is president of.
Griselle said this course is what initially allowed them to explore the hands-on aspect of Environmental Science and what that could mean as a career.
“I really enjoyed how hands-on it was,” Griselle remembered. “We went to a river and then chose to see microorganisms … and we did soil sampling. And then [we got] into environmental things like sustainability and everything like that. And it started making me reflect on how much garbage … we create as a society.”
“It’s kind of difficult to say what I enjoyed most because I enjoyed all of it,” Griselle said of that course and their further explanation of Environment Science as a field.
Griselle said that’s really what On the Road has offered: a place to explore and try out new things.
Griselle during a college tour.
“On the Road is a space to explore … you can talk with someone who is in the relevant field or get some hands-on experience in that relative field and see if it’s actually for you,” Griselle said, saying that’s how they realized Environmental Science is the right choice.
Griselle is starting to look more seriously at colleges and is wanting to look holistically at options because “a college isn’t just it’s programs; it’s also the environment, the students, the professors … the city surrounding it,” Griselle said.
Griselle’s also been exploring how big of a school they want to go to and how good the Environmental Science program is at each school.
As Griselle reflected on their next steps, they reflected on how many questions have to be answered to find the right fit, but that On the Road has been a safe place to explore their questions and get more information.
“Especially during the virtual thing, we’ve had more administrators from colleges and when I’m surrounded with a few other people, I feel more confident with my questions,” Griselle said, adding that it helps when the Youth Leaders are there, too.
Griselle said that having those connections and relationships with people at On the Road has helped them feel supported along this journey of discovering their next steps after high school.
Griselle presenting at a Learning Showcase.
But what’s truly made the biggest difference, Griselle said, is the sense of belonging they’ve developed in our community.
“[At on the Road], I have people I can rely on,” Griselle said. “And when I start applying for colleges and applications, I know who I’m going to be asking for a recommendation.”