My time in high school
Attended high school in the
Overall high school experience
5/10. It really could have been worse. I personally didn't deal with bullying, people there were really nice overall. I had accepting peers and classmates. I felt well-liked and had enough friends but didn't need everyone's approval per se. The teachers are absolutely wonderful, and I found friends and mentors in many. But being a teenager just really sucked. Events that happened in my personal & family life made me enjoy [high school] less often. I had plenty of friends, but wasn't close enough to anyone to be able to be vulnerable and reach out and tell people what was going on. That made me feel really lonely and made me feel isolation and bitterness from my peers.
Grades in high school
A's and B's. I always tried my hardest. Good grades were important to me, but they weren't everything. I HATED discussing grades with my peers, I felt like it was some kind of sick self-validating competition a lot of folk partook in.
History / Social Studies, Foreign Language, Math
Physics -- even though I was quite good at math, I just really struggled to understand how to make formulas. I just wasn't getting it.
Both arts and music. I can't choose between the two!
Life since high school
Attended college / university at
Lewis & Clark College
Psychology from 2011 to 2015.
Post-graduate education or training
I am about to go to a computer programming bootcamp called App Academy. It's not formally a grad school, but it's training for the Computer Science world.
Places lived in US
Current occupations / past occupations
Currently, I'm working retail at Nordstrom in the Women's Shoes department because the hours are flexible and accomodate to my studying schedule.
Industries I've worked in
- Retail Trade
- Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (e.g. Law, Accounting, Interior Design, Graphic Design, R&D, PR, Advertising, etc.)
- Administrative and Support Services
- Health Care and Social Assistance
- Product Development, startup
Has your education or career/occupation trajectory ever changed? How?
Yes. I initially entered undergrad as a Psych major because I wanted to go into Mental Health care and be a therapist. I realized in doing so and focusing so much on others' wellbeing, it took away emotional energy and time I needed to take care of myself. It was junior year at the time, and I was going through a serious bout of depression on my own. I decided, at least for the time being, on focusing on my own self-care rather than taking as much energy to professionally care for others.
For the next year, senior year, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with my life. I stumbled across computer science through an elective and REALLY, REALLY enjoyed it! I found that I was naturally talented at it as well. I was hooked, and decided to go at a career in the field. I completed my Psych degree at Lewis & Clark and then found out about the programming bootcamps, which give you the skills needed to start out as a web developer, while not requiring a bachelor's degree or any experience in computer science prior to entering the bootcamp.
A little introspection...
To me, being successful means...
Finding a job that healthily challenges me and that I enjoy (it doesn't have to be something that I have a burning passion for), that works with my schedule and lifestyle so that I can still take care of my mental and physical health. That's very important to me.
My definition of success has changed over time.
My previous definitions of success hardly incorporated failure. I avoided failure like the plague, which in turn actually inhibited me from truly succeeding. I avoided taking certain risks that would have challenged me in a healthy way, had I succeeded or failed. I now understand that failure is both inevitable and necessary to be true to your dreams and goals , and succeed.
My greatest accomplishment to date and what I’ve learned from it
Getting into App Academy! I learned that I can do more than I believe I can do. I'm learning to believe in myself, to use my fear of failure and my fear of success (!) to motivate me to attempt to do great things.
My biggest mistake or regret so far and what I’ve learned from it
Not trying more extracurriculars or taking more research opportunities in college. I held myself back, thinking that the time would take away from my academic experience by giving me less time to work on coursework. But I could have been more deeply involved, and those experiences would have actually enriched my academic experience.
This alumni is open to your questions and follow-ups.
In order to protect anonymity, we will pass along your message and they can choose whether to respond.
My favorite spot in or around Palo Alto
I love the patio outside of Nordstrom! I just discovered how much of a gem it is recently. It's a beautiful place to work, read, or just enjoy a cup of coffee on a nice day.