Sylvia Skerry ’14

Youth Programme Associate at UNICEF Jordan Country Office

What advice would you give to a girl graduating from Williston today?   

I have two pieces of advice—one cliché and one practical. To start with the cliché, I would encourage you to keep Williston’s motto in mind and remember the things that you are passionate about. Graduating high school is a big step into your future and it is easy to get lost and feel overwhelmed by the pressure to have everything figured out. If you are feeling lost, return your focus to the things that fulfill you and try new things that make you feel similarly inspired. Search for role models, make connections with “grown ups” doing similar things, never stop seeking new knowledge, start to imagine your path, and be ready for it to change.

My second piece of advice: Learn to budget! The earlier you start actively managing your finances and saving, the better (and future you will be so proud and thankful).

What motivates you in your work and life?

I am motivated by a love of learning and a passion to help people. I am lucky enough to work in the humanitarian field where I get to dedicate my time to helping vulnerable communities, but I am even luckier that I have had the opportunity to learn so much from the communities I work with and my colleagues who constantly push me to be better.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

When I remember Williston, I often remember cross-country. One of the things Mr. T always used to shout to us when we were in the middle of a hill circuit during practice or mid-race, starting to believe the finish line would never appear, was “This is when you get better.” While this is not advice in the typical sense, it stuck with me. While I no longer find myself running hill circuits, I do find myself in situations that can seem impossible to overcome. But these words help me remember that learning to tackle the hard parts of life, one step at a time, will give me the skills to face whatever is to come.