My time in high school
Attended high school in the
Overall high school experience
8/10. It was fun and exciting, but I would never go back to that time. It was just too emotionally intense. People say high school is the best time of your life. It was the most stressful time of my life. Being an adult is way easier.
Grades in high school
A's and B's
Chemistry was a nightmare for me. I found it so hard and impenetrable that I ended up not taking physics. I am very lucky that my parents never put academic pressure on me. When they went to back-to-school night and talked to the chemistry teacher, my mom said, "Our daughter is stressed out. You're giving too much chemistry homework." "Don't you want her to get into the Ivy League?" the teacher asked. "No," said my dad, "but we would like her to learn chemistry." I am concerned that a lot of parents at [high school name omitted] don't have the kind of reasonable attitude that my parents did. If your parents are not prioritizing your mental health, find another adult who will, like a friend's parent.
Hardly did any. I was busy socializing, babysitting and writing poetry.
Life since high school
Attended college / university at
I went to a small liberal arts college.
Post-graduate education or training
I got two master's degrees.
Places lived in US
Current occupations / past occupations
I work at a non-profit. I use all three of my degrees in unconventional ways and have a lot of autonomy.
Industries I've worked in
- Educational Services
Did your education prepare you for your career?
Has your education and/or career trajectory ever changed? How?
Yes, I left a job and changed fields because I needed more work/life balance.
A little introspection...
To me, being successful means...
Having meaningful relationships and doing work that matters to me.
My definition of success has changed over time.
In high school I thought success was about amassing friends. Now I don't care very much about how many friends I have. I just care about how much fun we have together and how well we support each other. When I was a freshman at [high school name omitted], I was feeling really stressed socially. My [junior high school name omitted] friends were angry with me because they thought I was trying to be popular. I told my mom, "It takes so much effort to be cool, have fun, and be nice." She said, "Why don't you just have fun and be nice?" That didn't feel like an option. Now that I'm in my mid-thirties I follow my mom's advice. Friendships are a lot less intense and stressful.
My greatest accomplishment to date and what I’ve learned from it
Studying abroad in a developing country. It was the best learning experience I've ever had. I grew so much during that semester. I became more self-sufficient, braver, and much more reflective about the power of culture, nationality, and money. It opened my eyes to different concepts of what it is to be a girl and a woman. When I got there, I was told that when I had my period I needed to tell my host mother and I would not be allowed in the kitchen. I thought, how degrading. Over time I realized that not being allowed in the kitchen during menstruation meant that women got a little break from being solely responsible for the cooking once a month. The picture became bigger and I was able to understand multiple perspectives better.
My biggest mistake or regret so far and what I’ve learned from it
I regret the field I chose to get my master's degree in. It turned out that another similar field would have given me way more job opportunities of the type I wanted. I didn't get very good academic advising. I learned a ton getting my master's and do use it in my work, but I could have had a much easier journey. I realized a few weeks into the two-year program that I might be in the wrong field, and I should have pulled out and switched, but it seemed too hard. I learned that you should follow your instincts and judgment when something doesn't feel like a good fit, no matter how much work you've done to get there.
An unexpected event that changed my life and how it impacted me
I was deeply in love with one of my closest friends in high school. I have never felt such intense love since, and you know what? That's a good thing. It was not a healthy love. It was more like an obsession. Then he became very depressed and began coming to school drunk and high. Every night, we would talk on the phone for 3-4 hours about his situation. I thought other people were enabling him by drinking and smoking with him, and felt like his well-being was in my hands. My parents got really worried and so I took a step back to take better care of myself. He never forgave me. When I decided we couldn't talk for hours every single night, he told me that if we couldn't be friends the way we had been friends, we couldn't be friends at all. He completely cut me off and I was absolutely devastated. We were never friends again. It was the saddest time in my life, but I absolutely knew that if I didn't take care of myself I couldn't help him. Twenty years later it still makes me sad to think about it.
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My favorite spot in or around Palo Alto