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Paige Johnson

Hair Stylist

Burlington, IA

Halfway through my training in cosmetology school, my mom posted on Facebook, 'Sometimes we learn things from our children.'

After I graduated high school, I attended the University of Iowa. My parents both have Master's degrees and built a great life for themselves and for me. This is what I was supposed to do, go to a university, get a degree and make a great living so I would never worry about expenses. This seemed like a great plan until I found myself never getting out of bed to go to class, dreading tests and quizzes and crying almost every week. I hated college. I kept attending— hoping it would get better and knowing this would make my parents happy.

One day, about the end of my third semester, I broke down. I couldn't do it anymore. I knew I had always wanted to go to cosmetology school, but my parents were constantly telling me that I wouldn't make any money. In December of 2011, I decided to take a risk and enroll at a hair academy. My parents were not happy one bit, which made my decision extremely difficult. I came to the realization that I'd rather be happy in this life I've been given—even if that meant I wouldn't be able to buy all sorts of material things.

Halfway through my training in cosmetology school, my mom posted on Facebook, "Sometimes we learn things from our children." She told me that I was right: I need to be happy and do what is going to make me happy.

I finished school a year later and am currently working in a trendy salon in my hometown. I couldn't be happier with the way my life is going. Looking back, it has been a long and difficult journey, but I am so excited that I took that leap and ended up where I am today.

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