Life After High School: Interview with Elicia De Leon

Elicia De Leon

Today’s segment of my ongoing blog-to-book project: Life After High School: Secrets To A Successful Life By Those Who Have Had Twenty Years To Think About It (or) What They Didn’t Teach Us Gen Xers In High School continues via an interview with Elicia De Leon. If you missed the last post, click here, otherwise, you can start at the beginning here.


Elicia De Leon

(Formerly Elicia Crofoot)

Naples, Florida

My Life In High School

Elicia De Leon (Crofoot) AHS 1996

Who were you in High School and how did you feel about it?

In high school, I was very shy with anyone other than close friends even though I wished I wasn’t.

What did you think your life would become when you graduated?

I thought I would have a fulfilling life full of adventure and great friends.

My Life After High School

Elicia De Leon

What happened in your life to you, for you, and by you in the last twenty years (how have you used your time and who have you become)?

I had always enjoyed going to school and everything that went along with it until high school came around. I wasn’t interested in the classes and I didn’t connect with wanting to get good grades or to join in any activities at that stage of my life. The social and emotional aspects of being a teenager were just too distracting. Thankfully Dr. Anderson (our school counselor) and my parents worked with me and set it up so that I could do home schooling combined with some classes at the school in order to graduate early. This enabled me to regroup and choose a new direction for myself.

I flew through the rest of my schooling this way and quickly enrolled in Cosmetology school. That was the best choice I ever made. I got to be part of something that let me be creative, had flexibility, and brought me out of my shell. I loved being with people of all ages, not just teenagers all day. The adults I got to spend time with helped reshape my perspective. While my friends were still finishing high school, I had already begun the start of my career at a salon. From that point on my life became exactly what I had hoped for.

My career as a Cosmetologist has enabled me to develop so much empathy for people and it has been so fulfilling. I love that there are so many options for kids now to complete their education in flexible ways and pursue their goals at the speed they choose. I never would’ve imagined my life would turn out the way it has, because it’s even better than I could have hoped, mostly because of that pivotal choice I made in high school.

Owning my own business and having a flexible schedule was exactly what I needed to pursue all the rest of my hopes & dreams. I left Anacortes and moved to Florida at twenty-two to marry my best friend, another pivotal decision in my life that I smile about pretty much every day still. I could never have guessed the twists and turns my life would take, but I’m very grateful and proud to be exactly where I am today. 

My Life Lessons

What were the major life lessons and wisdom that you gained during your journey over the last 20 years?

In the last 20 some years, I’ve learned that when you’re young, you mostly focus on yourself, your feelings and concerns. The sooner we can grasp that everyone else goes through that too and instead become truly interested in others, that’s when your life will become fulfilling and interesting.

When I was younger I used to wish I didn’t have such a strict upbringing. Now I am so grateful and appreciate that I had parents who actually helped me avoid many of the pitfalls life can present to teens. I’ve learned too, that if you don’t like what your life is, you are completely able to change it at any time—it’s up to you.   

Letter To My High School Self

If you could write your 18-year-old self (or however old you were when you graduated) a letter, and send it back in time, what would you say? What lessons, wisdom, encouragement, or warnings would you give yourself?

There are a lot of things I could say, but the most important would be, “Don’t give a second thought about what people might think or what they might say about you. Instead, realize everyone else is going through the same things. Focus on what brings you fulfillment and work hard for it.”

Next time, I’m going to tell you a little bit about my high school experience. 😉

 

Are you from Generation X? I want to hear what you think! Please comment below and participate in the conversation about What They Didn’t Teach Us Gen Xers In High School. What do you wish someone told you when you were eighteen?

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