“What Do You Wish You Knew in High School?”

By Leah Kendal (’24)

Image courtesy of Pixabay

I asked this question to Kelly Petrocella of Raymond James financial. Ms. Petrocella has been with the company for fifteen years, as both a researcher and financial advisor. For five years, Kelly withstood the “monotony” of analyzing the stock market because of her love of the field. Her passion for finance began in high school when her favorite class was math. Believing her future lied in accounting, Kelly attended School Craft College. After one year, however, she dropped out because her interests lied elsewhere, namely interpersonal relationships. After transferring to Michigan State University, Kelly eventually graduated from the University of Michigan Dearborn with a bachelor’s degree in finance management. Straight out of university, Kelly had her pick of jobs, and was hired by a local financial firm. After five years, she sought out a career advisor to better understand her interests and passions. Realizing cultivating meaningful relationships is what gave her a purpose, Kelly then became a financial advisor for Raymond James. Evidently, it took a multitude of attempts to find what she loved, and that’s what Kelly’s advice to us is. “Find your passions, then your career. It’s a bit of a roundabout way to do it, but you don’t need to know what you want to do in high school. Now is the time to figure out your passions, make the wrong decisions, and take internships. It’s just as important to find out what you don’t want to do as what you may want your future career to be.” Understanding the “driving force” behind your career search, whether that be money, a passion for the unified arts, or a desire to change the world, is extremely important. We don’t need to know everything, and Ms. Petrocella wishes she knew that her life plan didn’t need to be completely written as a senior at Canton High School. We all have the tendency to desire closure, and to have a detailed trajectory for our lives written out in Sharpie. If there’s one thing we can all take from Kelly, it’s that mistakes and missteps are necessary to find true happiness. 

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