Sincerely, Mary Kate | Dear Senior Portrait Series
I met Mary Kate in college, when we lived across the hall from each other and were in a lot of the same classes because we had the same major. (We also took a random screenwriting elective together, just for fun.) Mary Kate was in Fort Wayne recently and we were able to get together to catch up, and now I'm featuring her in my portrait series! We took her portraits in downtown Fort Wayne on a warm Saturday afternoon.
Mary Kate went to Lakeview High School (in Ohio) and graduated in 2011. As a high school student, she participated in lots of school activities, especially drama club and the school newspaper where she was editor in chief her senior year. She tutored middle school students twice a week, was class president her junior year, and was involved in the church youth group. Since her high school was a public school, she was a member of the Christian club that got together to talk about the bible, and she thought it was neat they were allowed to have a club like that at a public school.
Now, Mary Kate coaches people through the Enneagram (personality types) and is still in the early stages of turning her work into a business. She has loved working with individuals and couples all over the world (thanks to the power of the internet) to help them identify and break free of unhealthy thought and behavior patterns.
"My younger self put a lot of focus on 'doing.' I believed the lie that my identity came from what I did. However, I've since come to realize that who I am is more important than what I do," she says. She also focuses on this in her Enneagram coaching sessions, pointing people to find their identity in Christ rather than in what they do.
Looking back, Mary Kate sees the influence of her drama director as being particularly important to her in high school. In the drama club, Mary Kate was given her first role as stage manager and had a place to use her organizational and behind-the-scenes skills in a valuable way. This experience helped her see that she could be involved in theater even if she wasn't amazing at singing or acting, and that her skills had an important role to play.
"There's no 'one' path or career you need to find, and that's okay. I wish I'd been told that realistically, my generation would have multiple jobs and multiple careers and to not be so focused on finding the 'right' one. I wish I'd been encouraged to seriously follow my passions for photography and design instead of being told to focus on more academic skills. To seniors today, I'd encourage you that nothing is ever wasted; focus on growing in the areas you're passionate about and trust that everything else will fall into place."
Mary Kate Browning
Lakeview High School Class of 2011
See more of my Dear Senior portrait series here on the blog. This series features young adults so they have a platform to share a piece of advice they wish they'd heard their senior year of high school. The series is designed to benefit current seniors as they hear from real people who have survived high school and learned a bit from life afterwards, and it celebrates the unique paths taken by all these "former high school seniors."