HUMANS OF ISP: The People in our Community

Stories have the power to connect us, empower us, and teach us.  Here at ISP, we are a diverse and international community with so many beautiful stories to tell – stories of our families, our passions, our challenges, and our triumphs. Humans of ISP will give a glimpse into the lives of some of the many interesting people of ISP. 

Students, parents, teachers, alumni, share your story with us ( and let’s keep building connections across our ISP community. 

In this HUMANS of ISP interview, meet Tanisha, an 8th grader who discusses her extraordinary experience at Week Without Walls, what it was like to be away from her family for the first time, and why she thinks life is so much better without smartphones! Tanisha shares her passions and interests, and what she has learned about herself through conquering her fears. 

Hi Tanisha! Thanks for being our first student to be interviewed for HUMANS of ISP! Let’s start with your experience at school over the last four years.  Tell us about being in 8th grade.

Well, my favorite subject at ISP is Language Arts. I really enjoy reading, so I really find it fun. I remember at the beginning of middle school, I used to hate it so much.

But my teacher in sixth grade really helped me find the right books that I would enjoy. She found the perfect books for me and always recommended really good ones. So I got into reading and really love it now.

What is it about reading that you love?

I feel like reading just helps you in life in general, because it gives you these different morals that you can follow and I feel like it’s like one of the best ways to get yourself to learn things. It also helps me make decisions because sometimes when I’m stuck I put myself in a character’s shoes and think about what they would do. Normally when someone tells you what you should do and what you shouldn’t do, it can get frustrating. But when you’re reading through a book, and you know the consequences and the choices a character makes, it’s so much more helpful.

What is the most impactful experience you’ve had at ISP so far?

Week Without Walls, for sure! It was really fun because I’d never been on any overnight trips before this. I remember I walked into the room and then I’m like, ‘Okay, five days without my parents!’ It was really cool because we learned a lot of basic living skills that we didn’t know before like how to manage your time and know exactly when to do things.

What are some things that made Week without Walls so memorable?

We didn’t have any phones or anything. I feel like phones are a really important point, because many students have phones, and they’re quite addicted to them. But when you have five days without them, it’s, you know, really cool, because even on the bus ride everyone’s together, and like, the entire bus is singing the same song!

I feel free without phones around. And I feel like my friends do, too. 

Because they’re attached – like part of them at this point is their phone. If the teacher asked them about their identity, then they talk about social media. I don’t have a phone so if people ask me about my identity, I’d talk more about my hobbies and other stuff. So I feel like this trip was a great chance for people to let it go. Also, the trip really brings everyone together because at school you have these people that you don’t necessarily know, but the teachers put you in good groups on the trip, so you do activities with them and you make many new friends.

What did you learn about yourself on the trip?

I learned that I am more independent than I thought I was. Because at home I have my parents who help me with almost everything, and kindly do things for me, but there I really learned how to take care of myself.  I remember, my friend, one day she was like “My swimsuit smells like fish!” So I taught her how to wash the swimsuit in the sink because we didn’t have washing machines in the camp.

Was there anything you found challenging about the trip?

Yes! On the last day, they took us to this ropes course thing. And I did not want to do it.  It was scary, you know, really scary! The teacher said that everyone has to give it a try. So I did it – I tried it out because I knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Also because our teacher, my advisor, Mr. Evans, showed us this video before we went to Week Without Walls. He was bungee jumping off a cliff or something. He told us how you shouldn’t wait until you’re ready because you’re never gonna be ready…you are just going to freak out more overthinking, and then you’re just going to decide not to do it. So, I applied that advice to the ropes course and I decided to try it out.

It was one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life now. I was there saying “No, I’m not gonna do it.” But my friends encouraged me and the teachers encouraged me. So I went forward, and it was the coolest thing.

Wow, that’s amazing. How did you feel after that?

I felt great for actually trying it out. It definitely increased my self confidence because I never thought I would be able to do it. It was an incredible experience.