From Close to Open Minded

My time in high school

Attended high school in the

Overall high school experience
8/10. High school was a rollercoaster. It had so many ups, downs, loop-de-loops, twists, and turns. It was an adventure, to say the least, and although I did enjoy it, I probably wouldn't repeat it. I worked very hard in school, I did every single extracurricular or club there was and won awards in basically all of them, I played sports, I was involved in music and the arts, and I also had a stable group of friends. But I was also bullied and singled out a lot because I had a very eccentric personality.

Grades in high school
Mostly A's. I was mostly an A student with some Bs peppered here and there. I worked extremely hard in high school, and took practically every single AP class under the sun. The heavy courseload was the most probable cause for the Bs -- I was very hard on myself and would spend a good portion of my time studying, doing homework, or asking questions about a specific class. I was enrolled in a program called ThinkTank Learning, an after school camp for high school students to work with professional, one-on-one tutors to give them an edge in that pesky AP or Honors class.


Favorite subjects
Computer Science / Engineering / Technical, English, History / Social Studies, Foreign Language, Math, Performing Arts, Physical Education, Science, Visual Arts, Backstage Production

Struggled with...
I did not struggle with a particular subject because challenges motivate me all the more to do better. I would say I struggled the most with difficult math and science classes like biology, chemistry, physics, calculus, and computer science. But these were the classes that really polished me into a more diligent and disciplined student, and also made me all the more enthusiastic and fascinated about STEM-related fields.

Favorite extracurricular
I was involved in so many extracurricular activities, but my favorites would have to be DECA, MUN, robotics, a research project I embarked on at the Stanford University School of Medicine, running my own section on a teenage social media website, FBLA, Science for Sight, Students United Against Cancer, Girls Learn International, Girl Up!, Project Enybody, Girl Scouts, Japanese Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, National Honor Society, French Club, the Chariot, Research Science & Invention, Key Club, Investigative Medicine Club, Free the Children Club, Backstage Production, Thespian Society, and Illustration & Comics Club.

Life since high school

My biggest mistake or regret is probably not appreciating the journey more. I spent so much of my life being so fixated on a particular point of success that I was not able to establish relationships with the people around me or acknowledge the amount of progress/improvements I have been making.

Attended college / university at
I will be attending the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) in the fall. I will be majoring in Biology at the College of Creative Studies and double-majoring in Economics/Accounting and Political Science at the College of Letters & Sciences.

Post-graduate education or training
Although I have not completed any post-graduate education, I plan on attending medical school, business school, and law school.

Places lived in US

Current occupations / past occupations
I love filling my time with volunteer work and social activism.

Industries I've worked in
Wholesale Trade, Retail Trade, Information (e.g. Publishing, Film, Broadcast, Telecommunications, Libraries), Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (e.g. Law, Accounting, Interior Design, Graphic Design, R&D, PR, Advertising, etc.), Educational Services, Health Care and Social Assistance, Accommodation and Food Services, Other Services (except Public Administration) (e.g. Repair, Salon, Political/Labor orgs, etc.), Public Administration (e.g. Government, Police, Judicial, etc.), Nonprofit

Did your education prepare you for your career or occupation?
My education in high school has definitely prepared me for numerous experiences outside of school. I was invited to participate in the 60th Commission on the Status of Women, an annual women's rights conference held at the United Nations with thousands of feminist attendees from all over the world. I spoke my mind about a women's right to choose whether or not she would like to have an abortion. My high school experiences have always taught me to share my opinion and make my voice heard.

Has your education or career/occupation trajectory ever changed? How?
My education and/or career occupation trajectory has changed drastically -- at the beginning of high school, I was very concentrated on being a physician and pursuing a career in medicine. Then, I expanded my talents in other areas, such as business administration, political science, and law. I felt as if I not only wanted to be a doctor, but also pursue my own pharmaceutical company, and improve health care on a national and international scale.

A little introspection...

To me, being successful means...
Doing what you love and making a difference in the world.

My definition of success has changed over time. 
When I first entered high school, I visualized success as a formula: You had to receive excellent grades on your transcript, participate in a plethora of extracurricular activities that proved to be meaningless over time, be athletic and play sports, be involved with music and instruments, and still maintain a healthy social and family life. It was basically to do the impossible, and I realized that being able to juggle all of these different activities is unhealthy and negatively impacts a lot of people around you. Biting off more than you can chew does not make you look cool or capable, it just makes you look stupid. I learned to cut back unnecessary commitments and activities, and to indulge in the ones that I loved rather than the ones that I felt obligated to do.

My greatest accomplishment to date and what I’ve learned from it
My greatest accomplishment to date is the amount of strides I have made in my mental health. I stopped looking too far ahead into the future, I stopped caring about tiny details, I stopped worrying about what others thought about me, I learned how to deal with cyberbullying, I made friends with people who make me genuinely happy, I looked at schoolwork as "one test at a time", I let go of my anger and competitiveness, I became resilient and learned how to bounce back from sadness, I cared about other's feelings and became kinder to others, I learned breathing exercises and guided imagery, I learned how to recognize anxiety and stressful situations, I found balance between work and play, I learned how to branch out and try new things, I stepped out of my comfort zones in numerous scenarios, I became more appreciative of my parents, I got more sleep, I made a habit of coming to therapy, I learned my limits and how to set boundaries for myself, I knew when to make sacrifices, and I realized that I could not have everything in the world.

My biggest mistake or regret so far and what I’ve learned from it
My biggest mistake or regret is probably not appreciating the journey more. I spent so much of my life being so fixated on a particular point of success that I was not able to establish relationships with the people around me or acknowledge the amount of progress/improvements I have been making. I learned that what makes life beautiful is being able to smell the roses and recognize the little things, because those are what make life worth it. 

An unexpected event that significantly changed my life and how it impacted me
An unexpected event that significantly changed my life was having a classmate kill himself. I always knew that mental illness and suicide were serious issues, but I never realized that these problems could directly affect me It impacted me because I realized that it took so much out of a person to be so fixated on themselves and their own success, but only a little bit of effort to be kind and sympathetic toward others. I decided to be more considerate of other's feelings and situations, and to know that everyone is involved in their own battles.

Anything else you'd like to share?
What other people think about you doesn't define your personal success or your worth. I found myself happiest by living loud and not caring in the slightest about how others perceive me.

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

Elizabeth Gamble Garden