One or the other?

If there is anything that I am not lacking, it is the inspiration and motivation to literally do it all. You cannot make a person like me a choose between two very different yet very equally fulfilling opportunities.

And yet there I was Thursday night at 7pm presented with this circumstance.

There are two sides of me: a logical one that loves to use Excel spread sheets to make life decisions and a passionate one that wants to trample social injustice and provide everyone with equal opportunities for success.

My initial career goal when I began college was to make it big as a business person. I was going to become some high earning top management professional and make more money than I needed so that I could help others in need with the spare change.

But last year I attended ECAASU 2013 at Columbia and it changed everything for me. I found my inspiration to take those risks that I was too afraid to take before and enter the nonprofit industry and possibly even start my own organization. It wouldn’t be a financially lucrative but I think the meaningfulness would make up for it.

This past semester while I was looking for internships and applying to jobs, the conflict between these two roads, the  safe route and the risk, was a constant factor. I thought that as long as I was still in school, I would do my best to get experience in both areas so I could make a rational decision upon senior year and graduation. So after I secured a summer internship in supply chain with a globally known company that could definitely take me places if I followed through, I did my best to contact nonprofit organizations to offer my services to them for free over winter break, with one response and no luck finding something in time for break. Bummer, but at least there was still ECAASU 2014 in Washington, DC. Or so I thought.

I think it all begins with my varying interests and involvement in student organizations.

As a member of our Operations Management Association, I snatched up the opportunity to join our APICS (Association for Operations Management) case competition team. I was super excited for the opportunity to travel, network, and get some more experience working on real-world business problems.

And as one of the members of our Asian Student Organization’s executive board that attended the conference last year, I took it upon myself to be on the lookout for registration information and dates for this year. I was involved in the ability for our organization to attend again from the very beginning. I’ve been waiting a year, literally since the day after the conference, to go again.

Originally these two events took place on two different weekends in February. I thought I could do both. I found out last night at 7pm that they were now to be held on the same weekend.

I’m starting to believe that life is one giant fractal of difficult life decisions embedded into each other and to navigate that maze you must be careful to make the right choices that will lead you to your ultimate goal.

The logical part of me, the scared part of me, my parents, and my friends never fail to bring to light the rational decision to do all that I can to get a financial safety net and business savvy before I venture out into the unpredictable world of social entrepreneurship. My friends probably think it’s silly of me who clearly has the brains and the opportunities to throw them away for a “frivolous” conference. It was really no question as to what I should do, go to the competition rather than the conference, but it was the admission that to make this decision might be closing doors to new ideas and insights for my social activism and to inspiration that would keep me going when I had to make difficult decisions like this. What I’ve been afraid of happening already is. I’m losing the fire I felt on the last day of the conference to make a change in our society. I’m falling into the safe route. It’s comfortable but it doesn’t make me completely happy. I don’t to make it a habit that will trap me in a cubicle for the rest of my life.

In the seventh grade, my history teacher told me that he wish he could clone me so that he would have more students like me. Now I wish I could clone myself so I could do everything I want to in this world. No matter how hard you work, it’s not possible for you to be in two places at once. I think I need to borrow Hermione’s Time Turner.

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