anonymous artist

My time in high school

Attended high school in the

Overall high school experience
8/10. High school was mostly good-- I had a close group of good friends I could lean on, and I found refuge in the theatre. It was hard, though, and I worried a lot about fitting in and what the hell I was doing with myself.

Grades in high school
A's and B's. A's and B's and C's and... a D? I think. My family wasn't too strict on grades, as long as I kept it at a C or higher. But I expected myself to get at least B's. I didn't take any APs (the one I did try, I dropped), and placed the most personal value on arts classes.


Favorite subjects
English, Foreign Language, Performing Arts

Struggled with...
Probably science. It can be really fascinating, but it's just not where my heart lies... I wouldn't spend enough much time trying to learn the material.

Favorite extracurricular

Life since high school

So. I guess my greatest accomplishment was technically a failure, but I learned a hell of a lot. Namely, I learned that I didn’t want to do that type of work again. I didn’t want to be promoting artists, I wanted to BE the artist. That information is invaluable.

Attended college / university at
Foothill -- UC Santa Cruz -- back to Foothill (current)
I did my General Ed at Foothill and took a bunch of music and theatre classes. After two years, I transferred to UCSC and got my B.A in Theatre Arts. I took a few years to work and make things after graduating, and now I'm back at Foothill to learn more things.

Post-graduate education or training
I'm currently studying at Foothill, learning the basics of music technology and studio engineering. I also recently got an internship at a studio.

Places lived in US

Places lived outside the US
No, but I'm hoping to leave soon.

Current occupations / past occupations
I'm currently a full-time student and a part-time server at a restaurant in SF. At one point I was a creative director at a music company, and at another point I was working in retail... I've done a lot of random jobs, everything from babysitting to data entry to dog washing. The hustle is real.

Industries I've worked in
- Retail Trade
- Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation
- Accommodation and Food Services
- Other Services (except Public Administration) (e.g. Repair, Salon, Political/Labor orgs, etc.)

Did your education prepare you for your career or occupation?
There's a joke that getting a theatre degree will totally prepare you for being a stellar waiter... and it's very true. But in seriousness, I don't define myself by my job-- that's just something I'm doing for money right now.

Has your education or career/occupation trajectory ever changed? How?
Yeah, sure it has. I'm back in school studying music and technology when I initially went to school for theatre-- they're really very different things. I think that working in a studio sounds fun, but if I had it my way I would be making avant-garde performance pieces that combine original compositions and live theatrical elements. I can't very well make a living off of that right now, because what the hell would that even look like? So I'm trying to learn more and gain a definable skill set so I can make money doing something interesting and creative that will still allow me time for my own artistic pursuits.

A little introspection...

To me, being successful means...
The way I measure my own success is in how much I am learning, how much I am creating, and how mindful I am of others and my environment.

My definition of success has changed over time. 
I used to care so much about what others thought of me... I've always been an anxious person and a people-pleaser. I used to feel validated when someone would compliment me on my achievements, and I think that the amount of praise I received became my metric of success. Now, though, it's much different. Compliments are appreciated, but they are not things that I cling to so tightly and I certainly don't let them define me. I don't define success as one thing, but rather how in balance my life is as a whole: am I being generous enough to others? to myself? am I learning and growing and exploring? am I throwing myself wholeheartedly into my art? These are the things I care about now, and this is how I define how "successful" I am.

My greatest accomplishment to date and what I’ve learned from it
A couple of years ago I was floating around and feeling directionless, and I answered a Craigslist ad for concert promoters. It led to an interview, which led to me helping start a very small company, which led to me working with a bunch of local artists and having creative control over the whole endeavor. We never really got off our feet, though, and it ended pretty abruptly. So. I guess my greatest accomplishment was technically a failure, but I learned a hell of a lot. Namely, I learned that I didn't want to do that type of work again. I didn't want to be promoting artists, I wanted to BE the artist. That information is invaluable.

My biggest mistake or regret so far and what I’ve learned from it
I wish I had treated my ex better. We're on good terms now but I wasn't my best self in that relationship and I know there were times when I made bad decisions and was a horrible partner. From that period of my life I learned that you can have two good people who aren't necessarily good together, and to trust my instincts; when it's time to let go, let go. 

An unexpected event that significantly changed my life and how it impacted me
A friend of mine committed suicide the week before our high school graduation. It turned my whole world upside-down.

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

The tunnel.