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By Liz Boyd

From someone that took a roundabout way to their career, to the parents considering hiring Parros College Planning.

Today, I’m at Parros College Planning as their PR and Social Media Marketer, however, when I was in the 11th grade at Pioneer High School, that’s not where I thought I’d end up in my mid 20’s. 11th grade is when I should have looked ahead further and taken my future into my own hands. But instead, all I felt was ‘being overwhelmed’. I didn’t know what I wanted to do in my life, and I didn’t really know what interested me. Certainly not school work. Not that I was a bad student, necessarily. I was always in class and put in the effort. But I wasn’t really a great student either. There was nothing interesting about me to pick me out of a crowd. No impressive classes, basically no extracurricular activities. Added to that was the fact that I was quiet and quite introverted. I didn’t realize what impact this would have on me until too late.

Which, when it comes to college applications, that's the opposite of everything colleges are looking for. They want to know what makes you unique, and how likely you are to become a promising individual in the future. But I was unaware that there were internships for high school students in the summer, or I could be involved in extracurriculars besides sports. Added to this was that I didn’t really know myself, what makes me a unique, promising individual. I often wish that I’d just had more exposure to what kind of careers are actually out there. I am convinced that if I would have been a student at Parros College Planning I would have gotten the guidance that I didn’t even know I needed. Parents are busy, and they most likely aren’t up to date on how the current college application process works. It can be extremely competitive to get into most colleges these days, as well as expensive.

So, in the end, I was not able to make a decision about which 4-year college I wanted to attend. My fallback was to attend Washtenaw Community College and work on getting some basic classes taken care of while I further explore my career opportunities. I also had a financial reason to go there. At the time my older sister was attending a college out of state, and I didn’t want to put any more financial strain on my parents. Especially without a decided degree. I now know that there are scholarships for just about everything, and the government takes into account how many siblings in a family are in college when they dole out their financial aid.

In my four years at school, working part-time at a job that I enjoyed but didn’t see a career in, except as a back up to my back-up plan. I was able to figure out the psychology degree I was originally pursuing wasn’t going to be for me and found myself really drawn to Washtenaw's top-notch photography program. Which after I graduated with my associates in photographic technology, still left me without the marketing knowledge, and still missing a certain drive. While researching marketing I finally realized that it would likely be beneficial for me to drop the photography that, by then I was burnt out from. And instead, pursue the marketing that I’d finally in a very roundabout way, found a drive and passion for.

Watching other kids go through the college admissions process at Parros College Planning I have had the opportunity to think about how things could have been different. Our clients are intelligent, well-rounded students that have confidence that they have a promising future ahead; hopefully having already jumped through all of the hoops that I had after high school, before even starting their college career. Our students are being guided and encouraged right from the beginning to pursue anything that interests them and this will help them make the right choices for their future, the first time around. Parros takes the time to educate the kids and parents on all the options they have so that by the time they are ready for college they are motivated and have a clear path ahead of them. On top of this, they also get what I didn’t have: the financial know-how to pay for college.

In the end, I am happy about where I am but sad that it took a frustratingly long time to get to here! I’m finally at a job where I can see it is truly beneficial for my career. I now have a projected career path that I feel confident in. However, could I have learned about these interests sooner? Maybe even back in high school with a little extra guidance? Absolutely.

So when I see high school kids come into Parros, I’m really happy for them that they have this chance to have an experienced advisor and to learn more about themselves. Finding your direction and a purpose for your future makes all the hard work worth it.

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