We’ve all heard the "standard" life expectations. Graduate from high school. Go to college. Get a job. But what if you don’t walk the typical, expected path?
“Don’t put expectations on yourself. Do the best you can do and don’t conform to what anyone else wants you to do,” said Emily Josa, a 2013 Stanbridge Academy graduate.
Emily says she chose to take a semester off before starting her college career at a small community college.
“Transition is always difficult, but I think the fact that I gave myself some time to figure out what my plan was going to be helped me to be completely ready and succeed in my classes,” said Emily. “I’d recommend to anyone starting off very slow.”
Emily says she took only two classes her first semester and, when one wasn’t working out, decided to change her major.
“You can change your mind. You can make mistakes. It’s going to happen, and we just have to do what we can,” said Emily.
Today, Emily is thriving at Cañada College in Redwood City, CA and hopes to transfer to Notre Dame de Namur University and majoring in Psychology after finishing her general education requirements.
“With the right tools I think I could be a big help to people like me,” said Emily. “I started therapy in fourth grade and I loved it. I really admire what they did.”
In addition to becoming a certified therapist, Emily one day dreams of opening her own center teaching life skills.
“I want to start a place like Stanbridge, but all social workshops instead of academic classes,” said Emily. "Even neurotypical students are never taught life skills or don’t think they’re important. I think if I can make it fun to learn, they’ll be more like to participate and learn.”
In between classes, Emily is writing a series of high fantasy novels, which she hopes to publish in a mixed media, hybrid format.
“I’m a very visual person, but I can’t draw my own comic so I’ve been working with [Stanbridge teacher] David [Hopper] on getting art and music,” said Emily “That way it won’t be static; it will grow with the community, which I think would be pretty cool.”
Emily is also an avid figure skater and is working on a program set to music from her favorite band. Click here to listen.
Despite her perhaps unconventional start to life post-high school, Emily says she’s learned from every experience.
“Everyone says being young is the best time of your life. Maybe it’s not, but you still want to enjoy what you can and take away something from everything,” said Emily. “I use what I’ve learned as a springboard for the rest of my life. I try to tie all of this information together so I can continue living.”
If you are a Stanbridge alumnus or alumna and would like to be featured on the blog, please contact Director of Marketing and Communications Rachel Baker.