(Editor’s Note: This blog post is written by Yvenique Lovinsky, a senior student and dual major at Syracuse University (information management and technology at the iSchool; marketing at the Whitman School of Management).
Raised to think about other careers, she describes how her trip on the entrepreneurship immersion #EntreTechNYC let her come face-to-face with the reality that she truly could choose a career in entrepreneurship as a valid path instead. Here’s more from her experience.
During one of the site visits while on the EntreTechNYC immersion week, I had a flashback to being in grade school. I was going through my school yearbook and saw all of the regular career aspirations: doctor, lawyer, and police officer. Suddenly, I saw a career aspiration that I was not familiar with: entrepreneur.
Coming from humble backgrounds, I was always told that the only way I could succeed in life was through education–and specifically, an education that would lead to a career in medicine. However, I was never interested in medicine. I was often conflicted with my environment. Not only did everyone choose their career options based on their parents’ preferences, but everyone knew exactly what they wanted to be. I felt like an anomaly because I could not comprehend the concept of a steadfast career choice.
Realizations from Within
Fast forward to EntreTech 2015, and I realized that the anomaly was in good company. Through the various site visits and multiple interactions with industry experts, I leaned that entrepreneurship is a journey of continuous learning, as well as a trial-and-error process.
Most of all, I realized that entrepreneurs like myself are problem-solvers. The entrepreneurs I met all identified an issue they were passionate about and used their educational degrees and experiences to solve it.
My Social Goal
Ultimately, I would like to create a social platform that would provide individuals, especially those in underprivileged communities, with the resources to discover their passions and create their own opportunities.
Not a Lone Wolf
Prior to this trip, I always viewed myself as a lone wolf and did not think I needed anyone to succeed in life. This statement now seems the farthest from the truth.
On EntreTechNYC, I learned the importance of networking (what really should be called relationship-building) through the company visits, the faculty of EntreTech, and my peers. For example, General Assembly credits its success as a computer programming school to its beginnings as a co-working space that allowed them to build community and relationships.
Faculty and Staff Guidance
The faculty and staff of the iSchool also showed me the importance of relationship-building. Not only did Barbara Settel, director of alumni relations, help facilitate a connection between past Syracuse alumni and students of EntreTech, but Meredith Tornabene, assistant director of Career Counseling at the iSchool, taught us ways to network with alumni.
Most importantly, the faculty and staff paid special attention to students’ interests. For example, Julie Walas, director of Advising and Student Development, knew my interests in retail, and she helped facilitate many of my connections during our retail visits.
Importance of a Team
Lastly, my peer group helped me realize the importance of a team. Each of my peers had a special back story responsible for their passions and their beliefs. Through our numerous company visits and debriefings sessions, learned different viewpoints from a diverse peer group, which allowed me to expand on my own beliefs and goals.
Passion +Drive+ Support System= Success
On the last day of the trip, I was talking to one of my peers, and he told me he was going to make it to the top of the Empire State Building one day. This made me think back to how I once believed that I could never become an entrepreneur.
This learning experience–as well as his comment–made me realize that you should never let your socio-economic limitations affect your aspirations. The city that once seemed so big and the dream that was farfetched became so much smaller and attainable because of EntreTech.