My time in high school
Attended high school in the
Overall high school experience
8/10. I had a very nihilistic view of high school. I was just there to get the minimum possible grades so that my parents wouldn't yell at me, and maybe have some fun in the process. Though I did end up having some incredibly inspiring teachers who taught very rewarding classes ([Teacher name omitted]'s creative writing class and [teacher's] choir stand out the most). Plus my peers were generally good people - I was never bullied, nor did I ever witness bullying, and the lines between social cliques were often blurred in a very positive way.
Grades in high school
B's and C's. I was a solid B student, with some A's, C's, and an occasional D.
English, Spanish, and History. I've always struggled with language and reading comprehension. I never enjoyed these subjects, and I never had a teacher who taught me to enjoy them or help me understand why I struggled so much. Plus my parents (an engineer and a chemist) didn't help me much with these subjects. Throughout elementary and middle school my parents fought with my teachers because there was some sort of curriculum change such that I was never formally taught a major piece of English grammar. It was something like grammar was primarily taught in middle school, but just as I was heading into middle school the school district decided that these grammar lessons should occur in elementary school, so I missed them entirely. I have no idea how true that is, but it's the excuse my parents always had for my struggle with language.
Life since high school
Attended college / university at
Right after high school I went to the Culinary Institute of America and majored in Culinary Arts. Then after several years of being a chef in Seattle, I started taking classes at Seattle Central Community College and eventually transferred into the University of Washington where I majored in Biology and minored in Quantitative Science and Dance.
Post-graduate education or training
Currently a Microbiology Ph.D. Candidate at UC Berkeley.
Places lived in US
California, New York, Washington
Current occupations / past occupations
Current: Graduate Student Past: Chef and dancer/performer
Industries I've worked in
- Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting
- Retail Trade
- Transportation and Warehousing
- Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (e.g. Law, Accounting, Interior Design, Graphic Design, R&D, PR, Advertising, etc.)
- Waste Management and Remediation Services
- Educational Services
- Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation
- Accommodation and Food Services
Did your education prepare you for your career or occupation?
Has your education or career/occupation trajectory ever changed? How?
Yes. I initially went to culinary school and worked as a chef for several years. Eventually, I got bored and went back to school to get a bachelor's degree in Biology. Now I'm a graduate student in Microbiology, hoping to one day be a professor.
A little introspection...
To me, being successful means...
Living a happy, vibrant, full life that has a positive impact on the world (even if the impact is tiny, it's still meaningful as long as it's positive).
My definition of success has not changed over time.
I don't think my definition of success has fundamentally changed over time so much as I've gained the worldly knowledge to understand what I always knew to be true.
My greatest accomplishment to date and what I’ve learned from it
My greatest accomplishment has been getting into, and now thriving in the graduate school program of my dreams. I've learned that meeting my first major long-term goal is scary in the sense that now I need a new long-term goal that will be just as fun/exciting/fulfilling as this one has been to achieve! Over the past decade I've also learned the importance of having a long-term goal to deepen, direct, and strengthen my passions in life.
My biggest mistake or regret so far and what I’ve learned from it
My biggest regret is cheating on my now-husband many years ago when we were dating. His honesty and integrity have always inspired me and I still don't believe how easily he forgave me when I told him that I had cheated on him, more than once. It's hard to say what I learned from this except that I'm incredibly lucky to have such a patient, understanding, compassionate husband, and sometimes it can be a lot harder to forgive yourself than it is for others to forgive you.
An unexpected event that significantly changed my life and how it impacted me
I had a fainting episode in my mid-20's at my brother's home that looked like a seizure at the time. My sister-in-law called an ambulance and insisted that go through the gauntlet of tests as the hospital (MRI, EEG, blood tests, etc.) to figure out what had happened. After a lot of panic and $5,000 in medical bills, the conclusion was that I had simply fainted due to stress, dehydration, and dangerously low blood sugar. The way that my brother's family lives is almost the exact opposite of how I prefer to live. I thought I could suck it up for a couple days to spend some quality time with family, but instead I learned that there are situations in which I physically can not just go-with-the-flow, and by trying my hardest to avoid being a burden, I ended up being a huge burden.
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My favorite spot in or around Palo Alto
The big field in Mitchell Park in the middle of the night when no one else is around.