How I went from attending a prestigious graduate business school to scoring a sick Boston fellowship (with the company of my dreams) where I was living on a futon in a rat-infested loft with two dudes above a rock concert venue, but ended up moving into 1970's trailer on my parent's driveway to pursue a business idea.
They say 10 months would fly by. I believed them. However, I didn't believe I'd have the vast experiences, emotions, living, opportunities, learning and relationships in that time period. From staying in the on-campus dorms to my last day sleeping on my couch…what has taken place over the course of theses 10 months has been a ride where I've grown in ways I never anticipated or sought. They also say you will be employed. I also believed them.
After some time to reflect on what took place over these 10 months at grad school - where I am now, where I was then, where I thought I would and what actually happened, after cherishing the special relationships fostered and unique souls who have forever impacted me...leaving this wonderful place and time in my life was bittersweet.
It's a truly special feeling to move on to a new adventure from a place and time in life that makes it so hard to leave. To drive away with a heart so full, knowing that you did it right, that you are heading in the direction that you've wanted, and seeing your friends head down the paths that is best for them is all for which I could have asked.
Monday I graduated with closure in every way I could asked - with friends who are following what they love, while I get to venture off on the path I'd always desired.
Yet, there was a moment where I almost dropped out.
It was never because I didn't believe in the program (disclosure: WFU was amazing and if you are ever interested in a jam-packed year of learning, hit me up to talk) or felt like I didn't need this knowledge - rather it was 100% me...I was so damn eager to get my hands dirty and learn through taking action right at that second. When entering grad school, my goal was to gain the business acumen that would allow me to start a business. I quickly learned, that nobody has the answer to that. While I surely gained business acumen, I also gained much more than what I hoped for - unique experiences that I didn't realize would make such a difference.
In January I stopped focusing on 'getting a job' and focused on the reason I went to Wake in the first place - to learn and apply. Everything changed. I had ideas again, I created, I was involved in the community, I had overwhelming support from the university, and I was presented with opportunities and experiences that gave me energy.
I never needed a piece of paper to validate myself and what I am capable of accomplishing (and no one should), however the people and experiences provided a sense of strength and newfound knowledge that by myself I would have never gathered. It's a blessing that it's so hard to leave, because that means I did it right. It took exploring those areas of discomfort, testing the waters, diving into the fields and conversing on levels beyond my realm of experience or interest. I struggled, I learned, I then ran with it.
In March I took that incredible trip to Boston where I hoped to one day work for the company of my dreams. I got the Fellowship, I was going to apply my new skills while improving the food system. I was going to live in Boston on a futon with two dudes in a rat-infested apartment over a rock-venue ..and I couldn't have been more stoked.
Then, two weeks ago, with deep regret..the company informed us that they would be closing their doors.
That was the final tipping point - between the cancellation of my fellowship and job rejection after rejection..at some point it's one of those things that you can't help but just laugh in amazement at how I was getting absolutely nowhere. If I wanted anything to happened, I was going to need to create the experience I wanted where I could apply everything I've learned in school while bringing my ideas to life.
I committed to longer investing my energy into convincing someone of my value and fitting their need - my energy was much better spent just making shit happen. I had an idea I'd been tinkering with since the winter and at there was no other option to make it happen. As if I was waiting for that invitation to do it - I felt like the closing of my next job was that.
The last few weeks of school were been spent heavily researching, meeting, learning and creating this. While most people were winding down, accepting their jobs and taking vacations and stuff...I was just getting picking up speed.
NOW WHAT: This will be something I'll be rolling out these next couple weeks however I had to share a taste (hint).
As my roommate constantly reminded me these past couple weeks - I was never going to accept a job (…if only I knew that too, it would have been the year much less stressful). So maybe this is what you expected (it wasn't really for me).
But here's the plan….
Yes, I'm heading back to Northern VA, the place I vowed to never return. However, ...it's for business opportunities where I believe I can make the greatest positive impact and learn the most.
Yes, I'm heading back to my home, the place I vowed to never sleep another night. However, …I'll be living in a trailer in my driveway (I get to live out my dream of staying in a tiny home). So that doesn't count.
I'm giving myself 3 months to do everything I love - learn from people, implement and test ideas, create, train, work hard, absorb in knowledge, challenge myself, follow a strict daily routine and only do the "hell *@^#^ yes".
I'll see where it takes me. If I don't do this, if I don't scratch this itch, I'll always wish I did. The worst that happens - I get a job after the summer. However right now, this is the kind of shit that I look forward to - grinding out on business ideas, making shit happen and being healthy AF.
This is the shit that makes me so excited that I can't sleep at night because I'm shaking in my bed ...the type of work where I can't help but wake up extra early to get after the day. It's a life full of energy, excitement, challenges.. and I absolutely thrive.
There's a time and a place for these types of projects, and it comes with it's uncertainty but I'm absolutely embracing it. Bring it on.
20 years of school was great, but right now I'm eager to get after what I've always wanted to do.