By Rachel Fry, Former Island School Semester Faculty

When I look back at my time working at The Island School Semester, I see it as a pivotal experience that directed me down my current career path. I went into that job because of my passion for the environment and sustainability and left with a deeper understanding of the role I could play in peoples’ lives. I carried various roles at the school as most of the staff do including Human Ecology Teacher, SCUBA and Freediving Instructor, and eventually Sustainability Teacher. One of the things I loved about teaching diving was the concentrated transformation that I got to facilitate and witness for the students. They were often challenged with overcoming the discomfort and fear that breathing underwater brought up. It was rewarding to watch students move through the SCUBA course and come out on the other side with a new sense of confidence and accomplishment for themselves. Doing something they may have thought was out of reach for them initially was now something they enjoyed and no longer feared. 

I was also an advisor for 4-5 students each semester, supporting them in their academic and emotional journey. I think this role especially is what I look back on as the thing that guided me to go back to graduate school, so I could continue doing similar work with others. I earned a Master’s in Positive Psychology Coaching and my professional coaching certification. I like to describe positive psychology coaching as a way to help people go from ‘living’ to ‘thriving’, whether that be in the personal or professional realm. I now have a coaching practice, Free To Flourish, where I help individuals who are looking to make a career transition into more purposeful work, individuals who are looking to launch their own environmental or social impact venture or passion project, and individuals who are looking to grow their leadership skills and strengths within their current work position. I am very passionate about different topics like environmental conservation and gender equity, but found my role as a coach helping others is where I could make the biggest impact.

You can connect or reconnect with Rachel here and be sure to check out her podcast, Passion Stories with Free to Flourish, which has featured episodes with Island School alumni Maren Roberts F12 and former Faculty members Michael Bowleg and Peter Zdrojewski.