My time in high school
Attended high school in the
Overall high school experience
8/10. [High school name omitted] was great. The entire staff was always so supportive and there for anything, with no questions asked. 10(ish) years later I doubt that's changed. I leaned on at least two teachers on a personal level, and I know that more would have jumped to help, had I had reached out. The school is a community and everyone shared the pressures. I competed with peers for the #1 and #2 spots in classes, but that didn't matter. The competition between us was fun to us, but too real to our parents.
Grades in high school
Mostly A's. I graduated with a 4.2 overall GPA. However, I was accepted into 0 Ivy League schools and neither U.C. Berkeley, nor UCLA. If that makes any difference.
English, Foreign Language, Math
I struggled with science, I won't deny it, but I wasn't really interested.
Life since high school
Attended college / university at
I went to UCSB
English Literature and Art History.
Places lived in US
Current occupations / past occupations
I'm in marketing.
Industries I've worked in
- I'm in tech.
Did your education prepare you for your career or occupation?
Absolutely it did. [High school name omitted] especially was key in preparing me for college and the real world; in fact, [high school] was often more challenging (academically) than college was, which I don't think is a bad thing.
At [high school], educators pushed me because they believed in me; at home, they pushed me because they didn't. That's the difference, and I will always be grateful to educators for that (at [high school] and UCSB both).
A little introspection...
To me, being successful means...
...that I'm comfortable in my own skin and don't need to adhere to my parents' or family members' definition of what is successful. It's not all about money, career, or status; it's about what's interesting or comfortable to me on the timeline that I choose.
My definition of success has changed over time.
In high school I was taught (by my parents) that money and status are the key to happiness. You're successful? Then you have a big house (that you own) and drive a BMW/Audi/Tesla/etc. to show others that you are important. It was about where you went to school, what your degree is, what your job title is, whether or not your parents stayed together, and making sure that everyone around you knew all of those things. Because of that, I currently rarely "talk shop." I hate it. I don't want to be defined by where I went to school, what my major was, or what my job title is. Success to me is being able to build friendships, sustain jobs (no matter the title), have interests outside of work (whatever they may be), etc., so that you aren't limited to being defined by any one thing.
My greatest accomplishment to date and what I’ve learned from it
This question, in all honesty, sounds like a job interview question. And not in a good way.
I think this limits people, making them feel as if they need to have "great" or "greatest" accomplishments in order to make their mark on the world. It's what the parental and societal pressures tell us we need... a list of accomplishments.
The greatest accomplishment I've had is to find myself and to find my own path.
I won't deny that it was a great privilege to grow up in Palo Alto. To live in the socioeconomic class that I did was a rarity, and yes, it made a lot of things easier. I didn't want for anything material. However, there was tension in my household, and family dynamics were (and remain) toxic. For my entire high school career I was the only child in the house, and because my parents thought they made some sort of mistakes with my siblings, my house was run like a military household. I had constant monitoring, a 3:30pm daily "curfew" (seriously), class/grade monitoring, etc.
My greatest accomplishment has been getting through adolescence and still wanting to graduate college and choose a career that will leave me financially comfortable -- for myself, not to please my parents.
Being able to separate myself from my siblings, parents, Palo Alto, has been the motivator and has been my "greatest accomplishment," I guess.
My biggest mistake or regret so far and what I’ve learned from it
I think the biggest mistake I've made was not listening to myself sooner; I began my college career -- and completed three full years -- doing what it was my parents pushed me to do in order to get a job they deemed worthy.
After three years I switched gears to what I actually wanted, and I'm still financially comfortable and much happier than I would have been doing what they wanted me to do.
However, since I wanted to graduate within four years, and because of the sudden shift of focus (major) after 3 years, I couldn't study abroad or travel or join a lot of extracurricular groups that I may have wanted to, simply because I had no time. Once you join the workforce your time becomes even more limited.
What I learned, though, is that "success" and financial freedom don't come from just one area of expertise. For 3 years I studied economics and accounting because I was told that this will earn me the most money. With my English Literature and Art History degrees I'm doing just fine in the Silicon Valley tech world, and my trajectory is only going up.
An unexpected event that significantly changed my life and how it impacted me
In 2012, I was laid off. I had gotten an opportunity to join a startup of just 11 people and I took the risk, leaving a stable (though uninspiring) job to do so.
I had just found a reasonably priced apartment in San Francisco after about 16 months of searching -- signed the lease, deposited first and last months, totally committed. Then out of the blue, I was let go from my job. For six months I lived in a $1,700/mo studio on $1,900/mo unemployment with no help from my family (as living off charity would be "uncivilized," of course).
When things are desperate you learn who your friends are, and who you can lean on. It stays with you, and it’s important.
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