When Damaris Aguayo graduated from Truman High School in Federal Way June 17, she already had an associate’s degree and a cosmetology license in her back pocket to accompany her new diploma.
The fast track is nothing new for Aguayo.
Aguayo actually accumulated the majority of her high school credits during her sophomore year, then earned the rest over the next few years while she focused on her other interests.
She didn’t settle on cosmetology at first.
“I wanted to do a lot of things,” she said, adding at one point she wanted to be a crane operator and an emergency medical technician. “I really like learning.”
Her parents encouraged her, however, to choose one interest and stick with it. Aguayo said they were afraid she would start something, then abandon it for something else and not finish anything.
She chose to pursue cosmetology because her mother’s friend is a cosmetologist. She said it was a great opportunity to do Running Start, which led her to Clover Park Technical College and its cosmetology program.
Aguayo said cosmetology seemed like a useful skill to pick up.
“No matter where I go in the future, I’ll always have that with me,” Aguayo said.
Despite having a skill in an industry she really enjoys, Aguayo is pursuing her education further.
After taking a break to enjoy another passion — traveling — this summer and fall, she intends to start at the University of Washington in the winter. Aguayo said she will be enrolled in the university’s architecture program — exploring another interest.
“There are so many things I want to do,” she said, adding she always keeps in mind what she can use and what will benefit her in the future.
Aguayo said while she knows architecture can take her in many directions, at least for now, she does not plan to pursue a career in that field.
Aguayo, a Jehovah’s Witness, said her religion is very important to her. She said t emphasizes caring for others and volunteer work, something her parents have also reinforced through the years. Through her travels, she has seen so many places where people could benefit from architecture in the form of different buildings, houses, hospitals and schools. She said she’d like to use her future architecture degree to benefit others through her volunteer work. Cosmetology is what she envisions to be her actual career.
Although she knows she could probably make more money in architecture than cosmetology, Aguayo said she doesn’t believe money should be the end result when pursuing something. She’d rather rely on her cosmetology degree and license to support her day-to-day needs, then use her architecture degree to benefit others.
“I don’t think we appreciate what we have here in this country,” she said. “We have so much.”