My time in high school
Attended high school in the
Overall high school experience
Grades in high school
Nothing through school. I had a horse, worked at the stable, and competed in a lot of shows.
Life since high school
Attended college / university at
UC Santa Cruz
English & Women's Studies (BA)
Post-graduate education or training
UC Irvine; English (MA & Ph.D.)
Places lived in US
Current occupations / past occupations
Escort (in college)
Research assistant (between college and grad school)
Tutor (in grad school)
Technical writer (after grad school)
Industries I've worked in
- Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (e.g. Law, Accounting, Interior Design, Graphic Design, R&D, PR, Advertising, etc.)
- Educational Services
Did your education prepare you for your career or occupation?
Yes, but not very directly. I learned to read & process a lot of information quickly, to figure out what my questions are and keep pressing until I have a satisfactory answer, to write well & quickly, and to manage multiple competing deadlines.
Has your education or career/occupation trajectory ever changed? How?
It's changed completely. When I first went to college, I wanted to be a horse trainer. Then I realized I needed something more intellectually stimulating and switched to a path toward an academic career. Then I realized that those jobs are extremely hard to come by, they aren't nearly as merit-based as they seem (a grad school classmate who won the MLA's award for best dissertation in the whole country, was a star teacher, and was heavily involved in grad student administration never got a single job offer and now teaches high school French), and I really wouldn't like it that much as I didn't enjoy academic culture and wasn't that into teaching undergrads. I thought that was a disaster at first, because I had no idea what else to do, but it led me into the perfect role for me.
A little introspection...
To me, being successful means...
Being happy with my personal life, having work that I'm genuinely interested in and that is challenging but not too stressful, and being financially comfortable.
My definition of success has changed over time.
I used to mix up success on a specific small goal and success overall--I thought that if I didn't achieve a specific career step I wasn't successful. Now I realize that being successful at each step isn't the same as being successful overall. I'm happier where I ended up in my career than I probably would have been where I thought I wanted to go, just like I'm happier with my husband than I would have been with exes I was devastated to break up with at the time.
My greatest accomplishment to date and what I’ve learned from it
I've chosen a company and career that doesn't hand out a lot of high-profile awards or titles. I have a Ph.D., which is an accomplishment, and I've achieved a lot at work, but I'm happier in a job that doesn't focus overmuch on titles. Perhaps the best way to describe what I've achieved in my career is that I've created my own role to enough of a degree that the president of our company has officially recognized that I'm doing work not equivalent to what anyone else is doing--I'm technically a technical writer but I do so much process design and management that we had to invent a new category.
My biggest mistake or regret so far and what I’ve learned from it
I would be farther along in my life goals financially if I'd skipped grad school (at least after my MA) and gotten a "real job" sooner. I don't use the content of my doctorate at all. At the same time, I learned soft skills in time management and dealing with stress that are a huge advantage to me now. Plus I met my husband in grad school, so it's hard to regret being there. I learned that it's too easy to get trapped into a very narrow standard path, but there are a lot of other options that are worth exploring if you're not happy where you are.
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My favorite spot in or around Palo Alto
Running with my dogs in the Baylands