At All School Meeting (ASM) on October 28, Michelle Weise, author and innovator of ideas about learning, spoke to the Andover community about a world beyond educational degrees. She focused her discussion on the growing shift from the traditional learning then rest life model to one that repeats a cycle of learning and earning.
“One of the things that I’ve learned over time is so many of the challenges and problems that I work on for older adult learners are things that can be mitigated today, that can be avoided by learners like you. I think we’re getting into this mental model of long-life learning and thinking that ongoing skill development is actually going to become a way of life. It’s hard because we’ve been trained to think that we mostly get educated in the first 25 years of our lives, we learn, earn a living, maybe build a family, and then we can rest. Instead our new mental model is going to become something more like ‘learn, earn, learn, earn, repeat’,” said Weise.
Daryn Burnette ’26 noted that she found it difficult to relate to the topics discussed and concluded that the ASM might not have applied to all classes attending, especially because most of the topics involved thinking quite far into the future. She added that it would have better suited a seniors-only crowd, in order to improve connection and understanding throughout the audience members.
“I felt like it kind of didn’t make any sense, at least for a freshman, and it didn’t really apply I guess. I know we were supposed to know it, and it’s important to note, [but] at the same time it was a whole bunch of stuff about the future that I wasn’t really thinking about at the moment. [In other ASMs,] I was able to at least connect with a little bit or understand the basics of but this one left me feeling like I didn’t understand what I was thrown into. [The hybrid skills cycle] seemed interesting because it was the first time it was introduced [to me] but it also kind of seemed like it was an endless cycle, where you work super hard and you never actually get to achieve anything. It was honestly kind of sad to hear,” said Burnette.
Some students like Amithi Tadigadapa ’23 questioned the timing of the ASM as Weiss spoke about future careers and work lives in the midst of the college application season. Tadigadapa also spoke on the weekly ASM taking away valuable time for Seniors who have overwhelming amounts of work, both school and college-related, and how the ASM time could be used more efficiently.
“I appreciated having an ASM speaker who was more focused on what comes after college and high school, but her messaging felt a bit strange considering the timing of seniors going through the college process. A lot of seniors are currently thinking about majors and it makes sense to bring in somebody to talk about career advice and goals. [However, the ASM] fell a little bit short for me personally. I like hearing from different speakers, but I would also love the time to get my work done. Especially now in a time of senior fall, it’s a lot. It would be nice to get that time for myself to catch up on some work,” said Tadigadapa.
Similarly, Jacob Kaiser ’24 commented that, unlike previous ASMs, it was more difficult to draw on his own experiences and struggles to relate the topics Weiss discussed. Although he engaged positively with the forward-thinking interdisciplinary ‘learn, earn, relearn’ idea in careers that Weiss had to offer, he was left wondering about the possible relevance of career planning for students who are not Seniors.
“I thought that idea was actually really positive to reinforce because I think for a long time the standard idea of a successful career has been you kind of settle down with perhaps one cooperation, one industry and you stay there for your whole life. A lot of ASMs that resonate with a lot of people, especially the student body, are super relevant. People can drawback to their own experience, their own struggles that they’re facing at the moment, and relate to the topic, and I didn’t think that was necessarily true for this ASM,” said Kaiser.