Graduate’s experience shows that balanced experience is most important

May 3, 2010 — by Kevin Mu

Every student longs to be successful in their post-high school endeavors. And due to increasing competition, many students pack their schedule so full of AP class study sessions and extracurricular activities to remain “competitive for college” that they often don’t make time to simply enjoy high school.

But 2003 SHS alumna Michelle Lin, the older sister of current senior Maggie Lin, has shown through her own experiences that stressing out about competition and obtaining an insanely high GPA isn’t necessarily the only path to success.

Lin benefited from a “balanced” high school experience; among other activities, she was a writer for the Falcon, head of community commission, a member of various on-campus community service clubs as well as an avid figure skater.

“My extracurricular activities were a big part of me—I loved volunteering and working on the Falcon staff,” said Lin. “Looking back, these two activities defined a lot of my high school experience.”

Perhaps most importantly, she cherished her high school years as a time not only to learn but also to create everlasting friendships.

“I absolutely loved my high school experience,” Lin said. “I look fondly back upon all my memories. My best friends from high school are still my best friends today.”

After high school, Lin went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in economics and finance from Princeton University and found work as an investment banker at Citigroup. She recently transitioned to a job working as a financial analyst for Electronic Arts, a Bay Area company famous for churning out popular video games.

“I would say the best part of my job is being able to do something I like and working with a great group of people,” Lin said. “My friends would probably say it’s the great video game discounts I get for them.”

In high school, Lin knew that she wanted to pursue a career in business, but at the time wasn’t sure what field to enter. But the personal qualities she gained in high school helped to guide her in her career decision.

“SHS instilled in me a disciplined work ethic,” she said. “Hard work and perseverance are crucial in any job that you do and in my opinion, crucial to succeed in life.”

With the lessons Lin learned through a balanced high school experience, she was able to create her own successes in the real world. She adds that a student’s high school should be about pursuing the things that interest him or her the most.

“Don’t worry,” she advises students who may be stressing about their own futures. “Everything will work out at the end.”