High school stress
“It was fun and exciting, but I would never go back to that time. It was just too emotionally intense. People say high school is the best time of your life. It was the most stressful time of my life. Being an adult is way easier.”
“I managed to crawl through high school mostly un-noticed being very awkward, shy and socially inept. I got good good grades and made my academic goals...but that was about it.”
“I was a nerd and was far from popular, I was not that into academics and the combination of the two made me an outsider...By a number of measures people would consider me successful but if you took a snapshot in high school I'm guessing you would never think I would be where I am today. ”
" I felt like I wasn't as smart as others, which was bs. I wish I'd taken myself more seriously.”
“After my first year at college, I was diagnosed with cancer...There were endless days and nights where I thought about what kind of person I was- and what kind of person I wanted to be. I learned about compassion, patience, perseverance, determination, acceptance and most importantly, being ok with not knowing the future...”
"I went from being a math teacher to an accountant. I went back to school for accounting and became a CPA."
“I abandoned the career path set before me from where i started. I looked around me at what others were doing, and looked critically and objectively at what I was good at - balanced with what I enjoyed.”
“I suffered a career ending injury athletically. The tough thing with sports is when your body quits and your mind is still in it. I had to figure out what I wanted to do next and start over from ground zero to go after that goal.”
"Not understanding my true academic potential in grammar, middle and high school. Comparing myself to the smartest people in the room and diminishing my strengths in the process. Eventually, I realized my own potential through hard work and exposure to a different environment (not Palo Alto)."
"Honestly, my biggest regret is that I spent so many years looking for outside approval or recognition. That I really defined myself by the values and goals of something outside of my own heart."
"My biggest mistake was thinking that grades in school were more important than social networking. The truth I learned as I got older was that knowing the right people at the right time is infinitely more important than having a good report card."
"I chose my college (UC Berkeley) based more on its reputation and less on what would be the right fit for me. In hindsight, I wish I had sacrificed some of that prestige for a smaller school (like UCSC) where it would have been easier to try different subjects and participate in a broader variety of activities.."
"I started in consulting and then joined a startup where I worked on the talent side. And realized, my true passion and interest is in helping companies think about their internal talent strategy and capabilities. My career has taken a turn that I never expected but I love what I do."
"I went from living in my car at age 19-20 to managing a cafe, working with computers, living in Italy, owning my own business, serving in local government, and only then getting the education that got me an eventual professional career."
"I was supposed to go to medical school, but my MCAT scores were dismal...After working 2 years in a research lab, I discovered that graduate work in biology was not for me. But I was drawn to the chatty sales people who technically knew a lot about their biotech products. I asked for an interview and got my job *during* my interview."
"Following my heart and making it a career. It was scary but I stuck with it and I literally have my "dream job" that I dreamt of having 5-9 years ago. I learned that if you believe in yourself you can accomplish anything."
"Getting laid off from my first job out of college as a Marketing Coordinator at a small start up. I didn’t expect it but it was such a blessing in disguise. It drove me to go back to school to get my Masters in Teaching and allowed me to explore a career I really have enjoyed and I feel I am really good at."
"I was preparing for a career in museum work, when I started volunteering at a school. Up until then, I had never thought about teaching or working with kids. When you discover your true passion, it can sometimes hit you like a giant wave. My whole life and career changed over a period of months."
"Moving to another state and hating it, but now I realize it was for the best for my family and myself... What looked like the end of the world then, Losing my home and leaving was just a new beginning. We are stronger and happier now."
"Depression and an eating disorder my 2 year of college, and 2 more depressive episodes in my 20's and 30's. It taught me the most important thing was to feed my soul, take care of myself first, love and accept myself so that I can share my love with others and care for them as well."
Definitions of success
Some stats from our respondents so far:
have changed their definition of success since high school.
named English as one of their best subjects.
struggled with math in high school.