Authenticity or Bust!

My time in high school

Attended high school in the

Overall high school experience
8/10. It is probably better in my memory, but I owe this mostly to the amazing theater department and the growth I got from it.

Grades in high school
Mostly A's. Academics were never an issue for me but other life skills (negotiating salary, being assertive, choosing positive people to surround myself with) took much more time.


Best subjects
English, Performing Arts, Visual Arts

Struggled with...
Math. I think mostly I didn't believe in myself and didn't think I had the talent. In retrospect I wish I had taken AP Calculus and really challenged myself. I had a math tutor -- why not stretch my comfort zone?

Favorite extracurricular
[High school name omitted] Theater was the key to an amazing high school experience

Life since high school

Attended college / university at
Reed College. Awesome school. I didn't think I was smart enough to be there. In retrospect I was and should have changed my attitude.

Majored in
English major.

Post-graduate education or training
Master's in Education. Big mistake. I went into teaching because my parents were pressuring me to get a job with benefits. I totally crashed and burned mostly because I was too young (24) to be teaching in an inner-city school in Oakland. 

Places lived in US
California, Oregon

Places lived outside the US
San Jose, Costa Rica for a semester. Scary risk that was good for me at the time.

Current occupations / past occupations
Right now I'm doing non-profit fundraising, but I've done tech marketing, teaching high school, worked at a deli, wrote a screenplay, and toured with my band.

Industries I've worked in
- Real Estate Rental and Leasing
- Educational Services
- Health Care and Social Assistance
- Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation
- Nonprofit
- Food service

Did your education prepare you for your career or occupation?
I'd say so. Both Reed College and UC Santa Cruz (for grad school) were great experiences and I feel confident that in my current line of work I am well trained for it.

Has your education or career/occupation trajectory ever changed? How?
Yes. I went from Education to non-profits to tech industry and back to non-profits. In the tech industry I was earning more money as an office manager than I was as a high school teacher. I decided to go back to the non-profit world once I noticed that in the tech industry I was surrounded by people who I no longer clicked with and didn't share my values. 

A little introspection...

To me, being successful means...
Having a job that matches your values, relationships that are positive and authentic, and knowing yourself to know what you want out of life and will not put up with.

My definition of success has changed over time. 
Even as recently as 5 years ago I was convinced that people earning more money than me were more successful and talented. It took a few years in the corporate world to realize that even though I may not earn as much cash in my nonprofit job, the rewards and uses of my talents are much more important.

My greatest accomplishment to date and what I’ve learned from it
Breaking up with my boyfriend of 5 years because I realized I wanted more out of life and deserved more than he could give me. It has been simultaneously the scariest and best thing I have ever done! 

My biggest mistake or regret so far and what I’ve learned from it
Quitting a job because I was afraid of my evil boss and couldn't stand up for myself. I ran away and made them think I couldn't handle it even though I have the brains and the talent. My fear got in the way. 

An unexpected event that changed my life and how it impacted me
I have some chronic health issues and last year for the first time ever they caught up with me. I nearly collapsed and had to get serious medical intervention for the first time in my life. After surviving that ordeal I realized that I'm not going to die and that I need to live the life I actually want. Big changes started coming after that!

This alumni is open to your questions and follow-ups.
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My favorite spot in or around Palo Alto

The quarry after dark (remote spot up in the foothills)