The future. It is the topic I find myself speaking about the most lately, and if the words aren’t coming out of my mouth, then they’re constantly being tossed around in the back of my head.
With my graduation from Lawrence Woodmere Academy (LWA) coming up in the next few weeks, it is impossible to deny that my future isn’t so far off. At the beginning of the year, the word “future” was only synonymous with the word “college.” I didn’t see anything extending beyond the next four years of my education.
Now the word has taken on new meaning. To me, the future is 10 years down the line when I’m working, living on my own, and hopefully finding a place for myself in the world. How will I make a name for myself? How will I put all of my hard work in high school and college to good use? What will it be like to be a “grown up?”
Last week, I got the chance to meet with LWA alumni, all of whom are in the fashion and retail manufacturing business, at the school’s Career Services Roundtable. I and seven classmates gathered in New York City at Zara Zimmerman Tisch’s showroom for her clothing line, Zara Terez. Her line features brightly printed graphic apparel and accessories. She somehow makes it okay to wear leggings with chocolate chip cookies printed all over them or a hoodie covered in a Fruit Loops pattern.
As the eight of us ogled through the clothes in her showroom, sifting through an endless array of patterns ranging from glow sticks to cheeseburgers, it all seemed to make sense to me. Zimmerman doesn’t just make fun clothes; she sends a message to embrace who you are and every aspect of your individuality.
Zimmerman is as dynamic as the clothes she makes. She brings a sort of energy and enthusiasm to everything, welcoming us to her office with a huge smile and speaking to us with the kind of warmth you would use with an old friend. We sat and listened as 11 alumni representing all aspects of the fashion and retail industry tossed around their thoughts on success and perseverance. While every person there came from a different background in the industry, they all shared one thing: a passion for what they do. Theirs is the kind of passion that inspires and motivates, the kind of passion that I can only hope to have for anything I do in the future.
Looking around the room again, another thought struck me: The successful people surrounding me started off just like me, uncertain and perhaps a bit afraid of the future. We traded stories about how the school changed and how it still hasn’t, which teachers are still there, which sports we played, and the friends they still have from high school.
Zimmerman concluded the roundtable with the best advice she could give: “The best thing you can do is make mistakes. You learn the most from them.” So, although my future career isn’t what I have to think about for tomorrow, it’s definitely something to consider.
How will I find that sense of passion so many of our alumni possess? I’m not exactly sure of the “how,” but I know that once I find it, after my own series of mistakes and experiences, I’m never letting that passion go.