Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Could hanging in the halls be a path to career readiness?

Melanie McEvoy & Lisa Nielsen
Teenage years
Editor’s note: This is a guest post from my best friend who I've known since before we attended high school together. Even though she didn't like class, she liked school and thought it helped her achieve future success. Here's how.

Guest post by Melanie McEvoy - Owner/President, McEvoy & Associates

I attended public high school in Las Vegas, NV, Not exactly a town known as a bastion of education. That was okay, because getting a good education wasn't really my focus.

When I think back to high school, my fondest memories include all the social elements and none of the classroom experiences. I excelled at being social, walking through the halls and saying hello to everyone I knew, congregating around lockers with friends, and, of course, lunchtime was my favorite period.

We had a campus that allowed you to leave during lunch and return. We always went to Jack in the Box or Taco Bell, which is where all the 'cool' kids went. The 'cool' kids also hung out in the smoking area. Yes, back in the 80's our high school still had a smoking area, which still shocks me to this day. At the time it seemed perfectly normal, but today I doubt it would never have been allowed in the first place.

My teachers weren't so concerned about the students who showed up to class. I was able to get by under the radar, barely making passable grades, without being reprimanded or pushed to try harder. When I finally had enough of the 'high school experience, I sought out a guidance counselor to help figure out my next steps - I was looking for career advice, college advice and overall life advice.

I received none of that.

I took it upon myself to decide that I wanted to leave high school early, with a diploma. With some minor help from a counselor, I found a way to take extra classes in my senior year to enable me to be complete high school a semester early.

That relieved me in many ways. I was free to do what I wanted, when I wanted and wasn't beholden to having certain friends or cliques or teachers. I was 17 and ready to spread my wings so I enrolled in college where I began my metamorphosis from social butterfly to someone who was serious about my studies.

I don't regret my high school experience in any way. I believe if I hadn't had the freedom to be the 'party girl' at that time in my life, then I would have explored that aspect much more in college, which is what a lot of kids do. I was done with the party/social scene by the time I enrolled in college. Because of that I was able to focus on figuring out what my true passions were.

Today I own a successful event planning business in NYC which focuses on the non-profit sector. I have combined my need to be social with my passion, which is helping those in need, as many of the organizations we represent do. My need to be social was honed in high school; while living a passion-driven life was discovered in college.

Sometimes I wonder...

If it had been the other way around would I be where I am today?

1 comment:

  1. First of all, LOVE THE HAIR!!

    And second, this is a great post. When I was in high school although I was a "good student" I spent much of my senior year figuring out how to leave campus when I wasn't in class (we had a non-traditional set up where you did not have the same classes every day, or all day, but you were supposed to spend the free periods studying in the Resource areas). My best friend and I would leave with a forged pass, go to her house and watch soap operas & eat bagels with cream cheese.

    A little freedom (or a lot) at a younger age goes a long way. We relished it and I believe it did contribute to our ability, later, to focus on what we really wanted.