Embracing Uncertainty & Preparing our Students: A Case Study | Colleen O’Boyle | 5 Min Read

In March, it will be two years since the pandemic has impacted our lives. Over the arc of this time, we have been given a healthy dose of uncertainty. For some, this spoonful of uncertainty has taken the shape of fears about the pandemic, loss, isolation, concerns about job security, political divisions, and social unrest. Uncertainty can be paralyzing if we let it, and it can also be freeing. It can be revolutionary if we know how to respond to it. Day-to-day uncertainty can be sustained, while perhaps the chronic sense of unpredictability can feel downright crippling. 

Stress researcher Robert Sapolsky has extensive work on the power of a sense of control in his book, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, summarizing essential guidance to controlling our stress responses. In chapter 13, Sapolsky speaks to psychological distress, particularly how a bioengineer views the body’s response to stress and uncertainty, unlike their peers in the field, a biologist or physiologist. They “view the body a bit like the circuitry diagram that you get with a radio: input-output ratios, impedance, feedback loops, servomechanisms. I shudder even to write such words, as I barely understand them; but the bioengineers did wonders for…

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Colleen O’Boyle

Colleen A. O’Boyle believes it is not enough to prepare students for their time in the classroom, but for life. O’Boyle has a deep responsibility to prepare students for a life of leadership and innovation. This process begins early when we position young minds to become active in their own decision-making with the help and guidance of trusted adults. Serving as the assistant head of school for academic affairs at La Jolla Country Day School, she leads a group of remarkable faculty, staff, students, and parents/guardians. O’Boyle grew up with a balance between the arts and sciences. Her mother, a crafter and oil painter, placed a great emphasis on music and the arts, while her father, a former leader in the telecommunication industry, ensured his children were exposed to cutting-edge science, innovation and technology. O’Boyle’s husband, Isaac, a scientist and fellow leader in education, has a great passion for schools of the future and how we can position students to make a difference in this world. Formerly a faculty member of High Tech High in San Diego and a founding member and principal of the Da Vinci School in Los Angeles.