Entrepreneurship: a word that I never really used or even knew what it meant. When people ask me what the biggest take away from my senior year in Florida was, my mind immediately goes back to my entrepreneurship class.
When I arrived at North Broward a year ago, I first heard of this class from my advisor. I had no idea what to expect, but I decided to get out of my comfort zone and try something new. That was the first of many times over this past year where I did something out of the ordinary.
My experience with the Entrepreneurial Studies program has had its ups and downs. Like I’ve always liked to tell the people I talked to about the program, I started out hating this class. I was anxious every time I had to go to my second period because I never knew what was expected of me. In fact, we were never really sure what we were going to do day-by-day.
One thing I learned as early as the first week is that we were going to talk and share our experiences and ideas a lot. Something I will never forget is the first thing that Mrs. Hall, the teacher, asked us to do the moment in which we first walked into her class: everyone had to tell something interesting about themselves. I know, you might think that many teachers ask students to present themselves when they enroll in a new class, but this time was different. After hearing the majority of my classmates, I started to realize that most of the things we were saying weren’t defining us; “I play basketball”, “I’m from China”, or “I like traveling” are sentences everyone can relate to, and, in fact, aren’t even interesting. I don’t know if you are getting the point, but that was the first moment in the program where I realized that I had to get myself out there and stand out in order to be remembered. That’s why I decided to talk about something more personal, something that would have defined me in a unique way: my story.
As early as 16, I decided to leave my own country and move to the US for a year. Of all places, I ended up in Kentucky, living with a new family, in a new school and with new people. It was hard at the beginning, I have to admit it, but I slowly found my place and I soon had a second place to call home. This was the first time in my life in which I finally got out of my comfort zone and started following my dream of living in the US.
I was determined to succeed, and I was certainly not going to let myself down. This is the biggest lesson I learned from this class this past year: if you really want to achieve something, you don’t stop for anyone or anything until you make it. Don’t be scared of trying out new things; it is the only way in which you are going to find your way. This is what entrepreneurship is about. Along the other million skills that an entrepreneur has to have, not giving up and knowing how to learn from their mistakes are the ones that I related to the most.
Throughout the year, I grew to realize that I was slowly starting to love this class. Day by day, without even acknowledging it, I was starting to understand how this experience was changing me and that’s when I realized I actually loved the program.
The last thing I want to talk about is networking, another word I didn’t fully know it meaning until I experienced it. It’s incredible the number of people I met this year thanks to this program. From patent lawyers, financial advisors, and even the ex-president of MAC Cosmetics, I now have some big connections which might even help me in the future. The world is full of successful people who are willing to spend their time mentoring young entrepreneurs like us; you just have to get yourself out there and don’t be shy to ask for help!
Talking about it now makes me go back in time and picture myself exactly a year ago, when I was about to start my experience abroad. I can finally see how much I’ve grown and I owe a big part of this growth to The Startup Studio’s Entrepreneurial Studies program and all the fantastic people I had the occasion of meeting throughout this adventure.