Ten Things Highly Successful Women Would Have Done Differently In High School

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

About a year ago, I read an article written by someone who was giving advice to her younger self. I found it interesting, as I am always interested in learning from my mistakes and the mistakes of others. I am very focused on success for young women in high school and I thought it might be interesting to find out what some of the most successful women would have done differently in high school. High school really is the springboard to future success and I am forever and always a proponent of hard work and high achievement.

I devised a questionnaire and asked 60 highly successful women what advice they would give to current high school girls yearning for great successes in their lives, as well. My list of successful women included those that had reached the pinnacle of success in their respective fields, such as a Supreme Court Justice, several Chief Executive Officers and Chief Financial Officers, Law and Medical Professors at the most elite colleges in the country, a University President, a Governor, several Senators, a championship winning athlete, an Academy Award winning actress and a Pulitzer Prize winning author. Although it took me about a year to contact and compile my responses from these women, I was pleasantly surprised at their willingness to communicate their experiences and advice with me. It was also interesting that many of these women shared similar responses. In my prior research studies, high school girls who successfully embraced this advice ended up at the most elite colleges in the country. There may not be a scientific correlation at this time, but it is an interesting outcome, nonetheless. I have published this in my other articles, which I encourage you to read.

The following are the top ten things these highly successful women would have done differently in high school and some advice they shared, ranked in order of the most responses:

1. Never Let Go Of Your Dreams And Dream Big– Your dreams become your inspiration to work harder and set goals for high achievement. These women related they purposely picked goals that were difficult to achieve, such as making partner in a prestigious law firm or becoming a tenured professor by the age of 35, becoming a Supreme Court Justice and running for the office of Governor and winning. Just because a state has never elected a female Governor before doesn’t mean it can’t happen. If you believe in yourself, you can make it happen. If you focus, work hard enough and stay away from the distractions in high school, anything is possible. Many of the women interviewed told me that high school, retrospectively, is a little part of a bigger picture and they focused on the long term, not the short term. They advised to stay away from the drama and negative peer pressure in high school and just follow your own unique path.

2. Learn To Say “No”– Don’t pretend to be something you are not; be yourself. You are not out to please the world and you shouldn’t do anything you are not comfortable doing. “No” is a very powerful word and the respondents alluded it will serve you well in the future if you learn this now. They also commented is it better to excel in a few areas than to spread yourself so thin you can’t excel at anything. They also reiterated that parents are usually right, so listen to them and don’t discount their advice and opinions because experience does matter.

3. Success And Money Really Are A Result Of Hard Work, Grit & Determination– Sorry to burst your bubble, but there really is no free ride or luck that takes you to the top. It is all about hard work, determination and dedication. These women kept themselves focused on the end result and worked longer hours and networked more than their peers. They were willing to take risks, work harder and pursue higher levels of education. An interesting point was all these women sacrificed something today for a greater return tomorrow. The respondents related their exceptionalism and their drive to keep achieving as drivers of their success.

4. Stay Away From People Who Tell You That You Can’t– The overwhelming advice on this point was not to let others judge you. It doesn’t matter what others think about you, it’s what you think of yourself that makes all the difference. It is this strong sense of self that will point you in the direction and the choices you will eventually have to make to determine your future endeavors. Keeping toxic people out of your life allows you to succeed and focus on accomplishing your goals. They also advised not to give up on something you are passionate about. Many told me they regretted quitting playing the piano or another musical instrument and cannot afford the time to learn it today. Time is precious and they advised sticking to a hobby or passion, as it will enrich your life at a later time.

5. Grudges Will Never Take You Anywhere, Let Them Go– It is important to understand that everyone has an opinion or belief that may differ from yours and should be the basis for discussion and learning, not resentment and avoidance. The capacity to forgive has produced great leaders, such as Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, who recognized that by forgiving people that hold you back, that have managed to hurt you, and forgiving yourself for the people whom you have hurt, you alleviate the toxicity that steals your energy, ambition and self-confidence. Essentially, it diminishes your leadership ability. Learn from the past and embrace the future.

6. Take Care Of Yourself Now– Studies keep coming out that show what we do when are younger may have dire consequences on us when we age. Now is the time to develop healthy lifestyle changes. Exercising and eating healthy, along with the determination not to smoke, take drugs or abuse alcohol, are all imperative for leading a longer, happier and more successful life. Get at least seven hours of sleep a night and try to avoid the drive through. The respondents said these bad habits will show up in your 30’s and 40’s and prevention is the key.

7. Be Curious And Take Risks– “You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water”, is a famous quote by Rabindranath Tagore. Every reaction requires an action. You’ll never achieve your goals if you don’t take a chance. With every decision comes risk, but you only need to win more than not. The fact is you are not even in the game without taking the risk of stepping in. Take the road less traveled- these respondents said it made all the difference in their lives.

8. Failure Is Inevitable, But It Can Make You Stronger– One thing these women had in common is they were rejected from something they intensely wanted at least one time. Each one took it as a sign to work even harder and that’s what they attribute to their great success. Every one of your failures is laying out a path for your eventual success. Michael Jordan, who is regarded as the greatest basketball player in history, was cut from his varsity team numerous times and said, “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” How do you really know what a success is if you have not experienced a failure? These women advised embracing the failure and working harder to get an even better outcome.

9. Study, Study and Study– Get off the video games and reality television and put the time into improving your grades. With all the social media out there, it is hard to not let it invade your life, but you must. The difference between a valedictorian and a salutatorian can typically come down to one grade in high school. Colleges love to boast about the number of valedictorians and often provide greater scholarships and admissions. Students who work hard and achieve in high school learn to develop high expectations and demand stellar outcomes from themselves, which, in turn, become life-long traits. As Socrates said so eloquently, “Wisdom begins in Wonder”, so start contemplating and studying.

10. Get Into The College You Really Want To Attend– According to Vanderbilt economics and law professor Joni Hersch, who has researched and published on this subject, students who attend low-tier undergraduate institutions seldom transition to top-tier graduate schools. Even more daunting is those who do, rarely achieve the earnings power of peers who attended elite colleges. Women have it much tougher- A lower tier college graduate who attended a higher tier law school, as an example, earns only about 60 percent of the salary of a lawyer with a bachelor’s degree from an elite level college. Christopher Avery, a professor of public policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, has published and researched college as a mode of social mobility. Students who earn a degree from an elite college, even those with unremarkable grades and test scores, are handily too far ahead of those who don’t, which is why they will never catch up. The networks, resources and teaching at the elite schools typically cannot be rivaled by other colleges and set the path for success into motion. The most elite recruiters go to the most elite colleges. Recruiters often like to select candidates from the elite colleges they attended. The take away here is work hard and get into the best college you can. It will make a difference, according to the respondents and the research.

This was an interesting and thought provoking project for me personally. As a high school sophomore with two high achieving sisters currently attending elite colleges, I have seen firsthand how the right choices in high school can impact options for future success. I hope this list helps guide you to a life filled with opportunity.

High School Does Not Go High Enough

At Santa Monica College, a 34,000-student, two-year community college in California, students sometimes sit on the floor to hear professors speak. This is not part of a New Age approach to learning; there aren’t enough seats.

Over the past few years, demand for classes has grown dramatically, while budget cuts have forced the college, along with others in the California system, to reduce course offerings. As a result, according to administrators, nearly every class offered is filled to capacity. Instructors sometimes waive class size limits to allow additional students to enroll, even when that means seating some pupils on the floor. Many other students, however, are turned away, forced to take the classes they need elsewhere or to wait and try again the following semester.

In response, the college devised an unusual solution. It will add more of the most in-demand classes – generally basic courses in English, writing, math and science that are necessary to fulfill graduation requirements or transfer to four-year schools – for an extra price. After state-funded classes fill up, students will have the option to enroll in additional sections only if they are able to pay the full price of what it costs the college to offer those classes. Currently, each class costs students $36 per credit hour. The new classes would be five times that – $180 per credit hour. The new program could start as soon as the upcoming summer and winter sessions, eventually to be expanded to the entire academic year, officials say.

There is something wrong here. Santa Monica should get some points for creativity and good intentions, but too few for the program to merit a passing grade. An institution that enrolls students in a particular course of study has an obligation to make the classes necessary to complete that program available in the standard amount of time, at the prices students have been told to expect to pay. Anything else is clearly a bait-and-switch.

On the surface, the problems facing Santa Monica College are budget cuts and the state’s refusal to raise tuition rates to cover a larger portion of costs. The true issue, however, runs deeper. In today’s economy, an associate’s degree, or maybe even a bachelor’s degree, is the new high school diploma – the minimum level of achievement necessary for most middle-class jobs. Yet community colleges are not equipped to be the new high schools.

Our current educational structure evolved in the early decades of the 20th century to meet that era’s requirements. Primary school taught the basic reading, math and civic skills that everyone needed in order to function in society. Secondary school then offered a path to a middle class that was expanding as American manufacturing did. Both were made available, for free, to all students, by local school districts. Meanwhile, states and private institutions created a university system for those students interested in the relatively few professions that required higher education.

Now a high school diploma alone is inadequate for most careers, but it is still the highest level of education guaranteed to students for free. The result is that many students who try to follow the path to middle-class financial stability that education offers find it clogged with their fellow students, as in the case of Santa Monica College, or prohibitively expensive. The goalposts have moved, yet we haven’t yet changed the rules of the game.

In order to continue to offer students the same opportunities as in the past, we need to reform our system to ensure that students can meet new standards. If an associate’s degree is now the equivalent of a high school diploma, then the public should pay for every willing and qualifying student to get that associate’s degree.

One way to achieve this would be to provide the necessary funding for community colleges to accommodate all interested students, sans tuition. But why have two separate systems to achieve the single objective of a suitable publicly paid education? Another approach, and one that could save a lot of public money and student time, would be to incorporate more higher education into what is now the high school curriculum.

Already, many high schools offer Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes, which allow qualified students to study at a college level without leaving high school campuses. In order to apply these classes toward college degrees, however, students must pass expensive exams and then enroll in colleges that offer credit in exchange for high exam scores. These courses, therefore, offer little benefit to those who aren’t college-bound. Furthermore, they generally replace traditional high school courses, rather than following them, meaning that they are available only to those in accelerated programs.

Why not enable students to walk away from graduation with both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in hand? Some high schools already permit students to do this, through partnerships with community colleges. Wyoming Public Schools in Grand Rapids, Mich., for example, launched a program last month to allow students to dual-enroll at Grand Rapids Community College in order to earn both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in five years, with the public school system paying the community college tuition.

Other schools offer fully integrated four- to six-year programs that grant students both degrees. One such school, Bard High School Early College in New York City, allows highly motivated students, selected through an admissions process, to earn a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in four years within the New York City public school system. The program is modeled after the private Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Massachusetts, which accepts students after 10th or 11th grade and grants an associate’s degree (but not a high school diploma) after four years, and a bachelor’s degree after two additional years.

Another New York City school, developed through a partnership between the public school system, the City University of New York and IBM, offers a six-year technology-focused program, which grants graduates a high school diploma, an associate’s degree and a position “‘first in line’ for a job with IBM and a ticket to the middle class,” as Mayor Michael Bloomberg put it. (1) Chicago recently announced that it too will partner with technology companies, including IBM, to open five new high schools based on the same model next fall. The schools will enroll roughly 1,090 freshmen. “We want to hire them all,” Stanley Litow, IBM’s vice-president of corporate citizenship and corporate affairs, said of these soon-to-be graduates. “All they need to do is be able to successfully complete a curriculum through Grade 9 to 14 that’s gonna be their ticket to a good-paying job and to the middle class.” (2)

These schools offer a model that every district in the nation could follow. Of course, not every student needs high school through grade 14. Those headed for another four years of schooling in college, for example, likely have no need or desire to spend an additional two years in high school first. But there is no reason high schools cannot be structured to allow both four-year and five- or six-year courses of study, with four-year paths resulting in just a high school diploma and five- or six-year paths resulting in both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree, or a newly defined credential that would be similar.

As grade 14 replaces grade 12 as the new “ticket to the middle class,” we will also have to address the needs of students for whom an on-campus education isn’t appropriate, particularly those who have already been in the workforce for a number of years. While these students can obtain a General Equivalency Diploma (GED), often quickly and inexpensively, to certify high school level education, there is currently no similar way to demonstrate knowledge equivalent to an associate’s degree. As we work on paving the main road through associate’s degree-level education, we also should build this new parallel route. Those who already have the skills an associate’s degree represents, or who are prepared to acquire those skills on their own, should have an effective means of communicating this to employers and four-year colleges.

There are a lot of obstacles to the system I envision, but they are purely man-made. Local high schools are financed through different mechanisms than are community and four-year colleges, though of course society ends up picking up the tab regardless. Different unions represent faculties at such institutions, different organizations accredit them, and we have established different requirements for credentials and certification of faculty.

All these obstacles can be overcome if we care enough about getting real value for our education dollars, by providing every able and willing student with a 21st century education and credentials to match 21st century life.

Students deserve to get the education they need for today’s world without having to pay an exorbitant price. And they deserve to get that education at desks, not on the floor.

Sources:
1) P-Tech, “General Information”
2) The Chicago Sun-Times, “New six-year tech high schools in Chicago to offer associate degrees “

Importance of Early Childhood Education

Early childhood generally encompasses the first eight years in the life of an individual. The education given during these years of a child’s life plays a very important role and helps in proper development of children. Early childhood education can be fundamentally termed as “Learning through play”. Recent research have shown that early eight years in any children life are crucial time because during this phase their brain develops and much of its ‘wiring’ is laid down. The education experiences and relationships a child has along with nutrition can actually affect child mental growth enormously. While good early childhood education helps the brain to develop in healthy ways, improper education or study without play on other hand may affect brain development in different manner. So the experiences and the learning of a child in early years can support them in their entire life.

Recent studies of early childhood education have even shown some remarkable success. It resulting effects on child motivation and learning power last for a long time. Today where education has become very important role to play in a society, it is not right to postpone investing in children education until they become adults, nor wait till they reach school age. In fact early childhood is a vital phase of life in terms of a child’s intellectual, emotional and social development. Besides this, the most important point to know is that the growth of mental abilities is at an astounding rate and high proportion of learning takes place during this period.

It is very important for every parent to understand that a child spends first eight years in realization of his or her own identity. These are very crucial years when children gain a sense of self and learn to associate themselves with the people around them. They develop an understanding and behavior to a certain extent. For this reason it is suggested that early childhood education during these years should be more focused on teaching children about the world around them through play and establish the links. Moreover, many child development experts also agree that play is very important in the learning and emotional development of children. A play can be multi-facet and often helps in educating different skills in children. In addition to this, education through play also helps them learn social skills, and develop values and ethics.

Certainly, today it won’t be wrong to say that early childhood education is the key element that helps in building a god foundation for child’s educational success. Every child learns habit and form patterns that are not easily changed in later years. If parents and educators can develop productive early education patterns for the children in their charge, those children will be on their way to achieving great educational success. The lack of parental interaction during early childhood can negatively impact a child’s development. Ultimately it is the equal responsibility of the parents and tutors to assure the children have a good early childhood education that can further help them develop their personalities.

The Role of Early Childhood Education

Every child needs to experience early childhood education before they attend kindergarten. This experience offers support to prepare children for decision making later on in life. It also creates a foundation for the education they will receive as they grow older. Various support systems and services have been put in place by the federal government to provide high quality early childhood education.

Apart from passing on knowledge to children, early education for children teaches self worth and progress. The programs offer both emotional and social care for children to prepare them to face the world. Traditional forms of education do not include programs that encourage early childhood development.

During the first 8 years of a child’s life, they are able to perceive information and adapt to the surroundings. They perceive this information through education and social interaction. Teachers, parents, caretakers as well as friends play a significant part in a child’s life. In the first two years, a child will become aware of their identity and learn how to socialize with others. This kind of education can teach children how to identify their role in the society and take initiative. Once a child starts to make decisions, they can take on various tasks.

Early childhood education helps to enhance development for children. The education programs teach children how to communicate once they develop their senses. Communication is one of the most important aspects of growth and this is one of the areas that are highlighted during early childhood education. Once a child starts to perceive ideas and things, they can use the sensory organs and communicate and this is why you need to get early childhood education for children.

Childhood education allows a child to become aware of his or her motor abilities. Once they are aware of their motor abilities, their intelligence will be enhanced. The programs enable your child to start questioning his or her imagination and motives. A child is able to develop her interpersonal skills through their interactions and the environment they live in.

An individual’s sense of comfort and security is developed during childhood and if they lack parental care, it can damage his or her perception. Parents determine a child’s social and mental health and this will determine their ability to make decisions when they get to adulthood. Childhood education allows a child to nurture his or her natural talents when they are young. Guardians should help to nurture talents and make a child feel worthy during childhood development.

The programs of childhood education are designed to instill a sense of self-worth in children. This makes it easy for children to make sense of the things that happen in their lives later on. When a child’s self-esteem is developed, they are able to make a significant and progressive impact in their surroundings in future. Some of the most important areas of early childhood development that the early childhood education programs focus on include developing motor skills, socializing, communication and reading.