Life After High School: Lori Reddy

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What is your name?
Lori Reddy

What year did you graduate?
I graduated in 1987.

Where are you living now?
I live in Foster City with my husband and three daughters.

What do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy hanging out with my family and friends, going to movies, and my favorite thing of all time – reading a good book on a beautiful beach.

What did you do in high school?
In high school I was a news editor for the school newspaper. I wrote a weekly column my senior year called “Lori’s Line.” I was also the Community Service Chairperson my senior year. I enjoyed being involved in journalism and student government.

What are you doing now?
I started my career as a TV and Video Producer then became a Marketing Manager and Video and Webinar producer. I’m currently a Marketing Consultant for a hi-tech startup in San Mateo.

What surprised you about life after high school?
What surprised me about life after high school was how much I enjoyed paying my own bills! My first job out of college was as a production assistant for WRC-TV, the NBC station in Washington, D.C. My first year out of college I made $26,000. I loved the independence and  having the ability to pay my way.

Any words of wisdom for current Bearcats?
My advice would be to get involved. It’s a good way to figure out what you want to do (and don’t want to do) with your life. And also a great way to make friends.

For more Bearcat News, visit our Journalism website at: http://www.thebearcat.net/

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Life After High School: Jonathan Pando Ocón

What is your name?
Jonathan Pando Ocón

What year did you graduate?
I graduated from San Mateo High in ’09 (So Fine), then went on to the University of Southern California —“Fight On!” — where I earned a Bachelor of Science in Policy, Planning, and Development with a concentration in Sustainability Planning (a mouthful, I know). I graduated in 2013.

Where are you living now?
I’m back home in San Mateo where my awesome parents have taken me back into their home —probably to their regret…I kid, I’m a delightful person.

What do you enjoy doing?
I’m a man of many passions, but what especially tickles my fancy is good music, good food, & good people. What? Too general? OK, I’m a huge geography geek. I love places, spaces, and the people who occupy them. I could sit for hours in a Starbucks and just people watch. Learning about local cultures, trends, and getting to know the people that make a neighborhood ‘unique’ really drives me to travel and immerse myself in my surroundings.
That same drive also extends to uninhabited places as well; our natural environments are just as complex and fascinating as say, San Francisco on a Friday night.

What did you do in high school?
My time as a Bearcat centered around three main interests: (1) Leadership (2) Science (3) Track & Field.

At SMHS, I served as one of two Community Service Commissioners (the other being the lovely Kate Stern) where we rallied our fellow Bearcats to raise over 300,000 lbs of food for Second Harvest! At the time, it was my first major community service project that had an immense impact on me personally — since serving the role, I’ve continued with various volunteer opportunities in and around San Mateo, as well as in Los Angeles.

AP Environmental Science with Mr. Appleman was by far my favorite class. It allowed us to explore our local environments and research systems far away and how everything is connected in one way or another! I also was a big fan of our Biotechnology department and was lucky enough to serve a biotech internship at Genencor in Palo Alto because of it. If you haven’t already, give Mr. Ikeda a visit and take advantage of the resources he gives you! They go a long way.

Lastly, I ran track all four years, year round. I had a knack for it, and immediately fell in love. In fact, I’m currently coaching at SMHS as the new Sprints Coach! I specialized in the 400M dash and encourage everyone to play a sport at some point during their life. It’s by far the best way to learn about hard work, discipline, and improving yourself everyday.

What are you doing now?
I currently run my own business, Concrete Couture Designs, that offers logo/branding design as well as mapping/GIS products. But am currently looking to get out in the world, travel, and learn all I can about communities and people across our globe.

What surprised you about life after high school?
How little I knew and how much there was to explore! High school is great because you make relationships and have experiences you’ll never forget, but once you step out on your own, you begin to realize you haven’t even scratched the surface in this thing called life.

Any words of wisdom for current Bearcats?
Step outside your comfort zone! Anytime you come across an idea, a goal, or an opportunity that requires any sort of change in your life —I highly encourage you to take it. You’re young, you’re developing, you’re adaptable. The more experiences you go through now, the easier it gets to figure out what you really want in life.

For more Bearcat News, visit our Journalism website at: http://www.thebearcat.net/

Life After High School: Vicki Xiao

Vicky Xiao

What is your name?
Vicki Xiao

What year did you graduate?
2013

Where are you living now?
I’m a sophomore at MIT studying Biology.

What do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy cooking and eating new foods, watching TV and bad movies with friends, and making strange little arts and crafts. I’m actually in the process of turning my suite lounge into a womb for an event my dorm has every year called Steer Roast. The door’s going to be a giant knit vulva. It’ll be really cute. I also tutor local high school students in math, and I’m active in both the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity and the Pi Beta Phi sorority. I really enjoy getting off campus and contributing to the local community, which sounds like something people say when they’re trying to impress someone.

What did you do in high school?
I was the Editor-in-Chief and Web Editor of the San Mateo Hi and the Bearcat throughout high school. I also helped run the SMHS GSA. In my free time, my friends and I had Minecraft LAN parties.

What are you doing now?
I feel like I answered this earlier by mistake. Is this question about what I’m doing with my life? I’m not sure, really, but my end goal is to apply to medical school and hopefully be someone who can address disparities in health care (especially with regards to the LGBTQI+ community) in a direct fashion.

What surprised you about life after high school?
It’s hard, is the simple way of saying it. I didn’t realize how bad I am at taking care of myself, especially since I’ve been cooking for myself in college. (My parents were very sure I’d starve without a meal plan, which so far hasn’t been true. Hi Mom!) I was also surprised how often I do chores in order to procrastinate doing my psets (problem sets). But it’s also hard just taking care of yourself mentally in the face of challenges you’ve never faced before. Classes here are much harder than I anticipated, and everyone around me always seems to be doing something amazing, so there’s always a culture of doing more and more, which can lead to a stressful, unhealthy environment. Also, I had mono my freshman spring, and I ended up dropping two classes. It was a really hard semester both physically and mentally. On a less serious note, it’s amazing how warm 32˚F feels after a long winter.

Any words of wisdom for current Bearcats?
One: You are not defined by what you do.
Two: Take breaks for yourself. Nothing is as important as your health.
Three: Sport death — only life can kill you.

For more Bearcat News, visit our Journalism website at: http://www.thebearcat.net/

Life After High School: Michael Beery

What is your name?
Michael Beery

What year did you graduate?
2013.

Where are you living now?
I am living in UC Berkeley

What do you enjoy doing?
The flexibility to pursue certain opportunities that were limited in high school Also living in an apartment is pretty fun. It makes you grow up pretty quick.

What did you do in high school?
I tried to do everything in high school and get as complete an experience as I could. That involved music, sports, academics, and building relationships with everyone My favorite part would probably be being able to see so many people I knew all the time. I rarely felt alone.

What are you doing now?
I am a sophomore in U.C. Berkeley with a business major.

What surprised you about life after high school?
Two things really. First is that there are an unimaginable amount of people that have different views on life. Second is that a lot of people have no idea what they’re doing with their life because growing up happens a lot faster than we’d like.

Any words of wisdom for current Bearcats?
Make the most of your opportunities in high school/college. It’s really easy to sit back and let your life run by itself. But you’ll never get anything worthwhile done. Work hard, otherwise you’re just wasting your time. Find what you love and do it to the best of your abilities. And most importantly, whenever you’re stressed or worried about grades/relationships/whatever it may be, take a step back and realize that in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter. That bad grade won’t ruin your life. You aren’t numbers on a page, you are your own person.

For more Bearcat News, visit our Journalism website at: http://www.thebearcat.net/

Life After High School: Sara Vidovic

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What is your name? Sara Vidovic

What year did you graduate?
2011

Where are you living now?
Senior at UC Berkeley studying Molecular and Cell Biology with an emphasis on Physiology.

What do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy hanging out with old and new friends and being involved in all my extracurriculars. I’m a biology tutor and was even an instructor for an introductory biology lab for a bit. I been really involved in contributing to a non-profit called The Hep B Project (HBP), which offers free education, screening, and vaccinations for Hepatitis B Virus to at risk populations in Oakland. I also do a lot of very general community service around Berkeley mostly focused on helping different types of underserved populations. In addition, I’ve worked as a research assistant in UCSF, using several of the techniques I have learned from SMHS’s biotech classes. Other than that, I really, truly enjoy just taking classes, and am sad that I will be graduating shortly.

What did you do in high school?
I was most involved in our biotech and dance programs. I also took a lot of classes at CSM during my summers off.

What are you doing now?
I’m finishing up my last semester at Cal and preparing to apply to Medical School. In addition to getting a Medical Degree, I am hoping to get a Masters in Public Health so that I can continue doing research, but from a public health perspective.

What surprised you about life after high school?
The most surprising thing about college that I have learned is that college is your first real step into adulthood. Yeah, you are still in school and still have to do homework and still will sleep in and do things that you will completely question one year after the fact; but you are expected to have a type of independence that is a few levels up from that expected in high school. Instead of being in a class of about 30 max like at SMHS, you will find yourself in giant lecture halls with up to 700 other people all listening to the same single Professor. While in high school it was easier for the teachers to get to know you on a personal level and to give appropriate attention to your strengths and weaknesses inside the classroom, many Professors won’t even try to learn their student’s names, even in smaller class sizes like those in high school. In college, it is really up to the student to realize when he or she needs help and to seek it out themselves, for there is much less hand-holding than in high school.

Any words of wisdom for current Bearcats?
Do what you love! This applies not only to choosing your major but also your friends and extracurriculars. The quote “do what you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” rings so incredibly true. Despite that many of you may have pressure from your family and friends to pursue certain fields, just remember that this life is YOUR life and ultimately YOU have to live it. In addition to that, don’t be afraid to change your major or your focus. I came into college thinking I would major in Neurobiology and probably be some sort of surgeon. Now I’m majoring in Physiology and am regretting not doubling in Public Health as well. Last, make sure you really use your major, college, and high school advisors/counselors and get to know your Professors. They are GREAT resources for information about majors, potential research, and prospective careers.

For more Bearcat News, visit our Journalism website at: http://www.thebearcat.net/

Life After High School: James Doolittle

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Who: James Doolittle

What year did you graduate?
I actually didn’t graduate! I tested out.  I started attending Middle College in my junior year of high school and decided that my time would be better spent focusing on attaining a B.A. than a high school diploma.  I took the California High School Proficiency Exam in 2003 and graduated from college in 2007 with a B.A. in East Asian Cultural Studies from Long Island University in New York.

Where are you living now?
I live in North Oakland with my wife and cat.

What do you enjoy doing?
Art, music, healthy living, eco tourism. I have a wide range of hobbies. I enjoy maintaining a healthy lifestyle focused on nutrition and personal fitness.  I’m in my second year of learning the flute–which is a lot easier having learned to read sheet music in band class.  I’m working on a science fiction novel about a future space zombie who realizes his infinite buddha potential.  I go hiking every Monday and I get a massage once a month.

What did you do in high school?
I read lots of Existentialism writers, ate lunch on the football field, and did Marching Band for PE.  I gained a little notoriety when Matt Heeney and I started the Satanic Thought Society, which was widely misunderstood–it was a philosophy club, and had nothing to do with devil worship.  I spent a lot of time with Mr. Freedman in drama classes and performed in musicals periodically.

What are you doing now?
I’m planning a trip to Spain!  I’m so excited!  My wife and I are going to Barcelona in July and traveling the Catalan coast for two weeks.  For work, I’m a massage therapist.  I love helping people heal old injuries and rejuvenate their bodily state.  I find a lot of satisfaction in the work I do and feel that is as much a creative outlet as a means to earn a living.

What surprised you about life after high school?
There have definitely been some big changes–for example, I absolutely HATED science in high school and now find it endlessly fascinating.  I think I had this idea that when school ended, someone would snap her fingers and I would be an adult.  Now that I’m twenty-eight years old, I can’t put my finger on the point in which I stopped being a child and started being an adult.  In many ways, I still have lots of growing up to do, but there are areas in my life where everything runs like a well-oiled machine.  The most amazing thing about life is the grand scale of dialectal experiences that continue to grow and shape the world around me along with my own personal development as a human being.  Sometimes it feels like the second I adapt to the world, the world has changed.

Any words of wisdom for current Bearcats?
Do what you love, love what you do.  Don’t stress too much!  And as Mary Schmich wrote, wear sunblock!

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For more Bearcat News, visit our Journalism website at: http://www.thebearcat.net/

Life After High School: Christina Maria Dressel

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Who: Christina Maria Dressel

What year did you graduate?
I graduated in May 2013.

Where are you living now?
I currently live in Hillsdale, Michigan attending Hillsdale College.

What do you enjoy doing?
My favorite thing in college is connecting with people and staying up late to talk to them. I love my studies and invest a lot of time trying to get the most out of my education. I am also very much involved with my sorority, Chi Omega, working to help the community as well as build social relationships on campus.

What did you do in high school?
I played softball for San Mateo and was the Opinion Editor for the Hi.

What are you doing now?
I am currently pursuing a Spanish major as well as either a Politics, Economics, or Marketing major at Hillsdale College. I also play club volleyball and am an active member of the Chi Omega sorority, but I spend the majority of my time studying and talking to people.

What surprised you about life after high school?
I was surprised by the amount of love and care people have to give, and how much more willing people are to share their life stories with you. I don’t think this is necessarily absent in high school, but I think people in high school are a lot more preoccupied with surface issues that can distract from what’s really important. In college, people have a lot of time to reflect and think and amazing things come out of that.

Any words of wisdom for current Bearcats?
There is so much to learn from those around you and from every experience. High school can seem really silly, superficial, and not very fulfilling, at least it did for me. But I think I would have gotten a lot more out of it if I had put more work into caring about other people and also my studies. I think one of the most valuable things I’ve learned in college is that you get out of stuff whatever you put into it. Same goes for relationships and schoolwork. If you truly apply yourself to things, the reward you get out of them can really surprise you.

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For more Bearcat News, visit our Journalism website at: http://www.thebearcat.net/