students and a teacher standing in a classroom stretching a string from person to person
May 26, 2023

Dissatisfaction & Other Common Workshop Crises

Spontaneous prose & letting my ideas breathe
by Marie ’23
A student post from The Workshop 12*

TRANSCRIBED : Spring term 2023, our graduation year, we all chose to do something different, to live something different. After spending the first week researching Kerouac, the second reading On the Road, I only truly started to understand what I think is a little bit of what made Kerouac’s writing what it is during the third week. I noticed that, in writing, so much was left to be interpreted. I also saw the differences in how people treat interviews, or recordings, when compared to text. So much of it can be used for and against you, and there’s so much missing to a simple piece of text. So, in proper Kerouacian fashion, I decided to put more of myself into this blogpost, and record it so that I can share my experience truly from myself.

Week after week, I find the days til graduation to be hauntingly decreasing as we follow this Workshop routine and I strive to find a sense of fulfillment in our daily activities and discussions with one another, hoping someday I’ll actually feel ready to leave this place. Being in the workshop has made me lose track of the time I had previously so much control of. I don’t really know how stark the difference is between a Saturday and a Wednesday, and our gardening days feel more like a breath of fresh air than any other days. This week’s, although less intense than last’s, was refreshing - the hot weather brings everyone a little bit more life, but I still wish we had a bit of the curiosity and excitement of the very first week we all decided to embrace this last term. So much of what we do now is in our hands, and, at the thought of having to present all the results from hours of mess-up time to graduate students scared me. I spent all of Tuesday morning preparing to share these ideas I wasn’t even sure I had properly developed. But even after trying to gather my thoughts and present on the things I enjoyed, I felt this pressure to wrap things up and an underlying feeling that there was always going to be more to know on what I loved. What we have pursued for weeks now is coming to an end starting this week, and I feel very unsatisfied with how much I feel like I have yet to learn. I catch myself speaking more than I should, and wanting to talk and talk and talk forever, and I wish I could do that and have someone listen. I can never really get enough of our project meetings and a part of me wishes we had more time. But even then, my neverending inquiries that have emerged in the past weeks is not something that could ever be completely answered or researched. And, obviously, learning something in four weeks is less than ideal, and I have been looking so much forward to finding new interests to work on with new people. I do still, however, feel incomplete within my learning. And maybe this is a feeling I am meant to have, as how can anyone possibly feel like they have learned enough of a topic they love? But for the meantime, I’ll have to learn to be okay with the fact that I have to move on from certain ideas and topics in my brain, and that doesn’t always mean that it’s because they are not interesting or good enough. So that’s what I learned this week.

“Spring day, In my mind Nothing”

Additional comments: After little consideration and thought over what I should write or talk about (Jack would be proud), I found that what came most naturally to me was this very concept of “spontaneous prose”. I decided not to revise a lot of this very post, and just write the way I do and talk the way I feel is right for me. After reviewing a lot of my peers’ posts, and appreciating the fact that I could talk about as many things as I would like, I also realized I really (like really, really) enjoy just thinking about everything. Not the most convenient way to come up with specific ideas on what to pursue or talk about, but as Austin put it, it’s encouraged me to reimagine my life. I want to keep thinking fuzzily and not insist on trying to clearly express all of my thoughts in a "smart" way. Instead, I want to let them breathe.

The "(Re)creating Kerouac" group includes Claire ’23, Sebastian ’23, Izzy ’23 Marie ’23, and Esmé ’23.



Each spring term, The Workshop welcomes approximately 20 seniors to this interdisciplinary, project-based course. With an eye toward reimagining what school can be, The Workshop is the senior’s only academic commitment for the entire term. Instead of splitting their time and attention into units of distinct courses and fields of study, they work closely with peers, faculty, and community and global partners on a series of linked, interdisciplinary projects that revolve around a single theme. Within the theme Experiments in Education, students explore areas of personal interest.

During the first few weeks of the term, students are working on one of four faculty-led projects. We feature blog posts by students during this time.

  • Inequality Visualized (led by Ellen Greenberg, instructor in Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science)
  • Listening to the Buddhists in Our Backyard (led by Andy Housiaux, instructor in Philosophy and Religious Studies; director of the Tang Institute)
  • With Liberty and Health for All: “Humanities for Public Health” (led by Corrie Martin, instructor in English)
  • (Re)creating Kerouac: From Jean-Louis to Jack (led by Gene Hughes, instructor in French)


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