A changing vision

I’m having second thoughts, not on what I want to do but how I’m going to get there. If you follow my blog and my life closely, and know my inner most contemplative thoughts, wishes, and dreams (which I doubt because I rarely tell anyone everything) you would know that last year I attended ECAASU, which helped me to realize that I wanted to start a women and minority empowering nonprofit after I graduate, I entered a start up competition with this concept last month (I find out if I make the pitch level tomorrow), and that I currently have an amazing internship in supply chain lined up for me this summer.

But even with all of these plans and future opportunities to develop myself and learn, I am faced with doubts and insecurities. My passion for social justice work and proactivity for career advancement are constantly at heads with each other. I am a walking contradiction, a student in the business school surrounded by people who want to make money who wishes that the exploitation that accompanies capitalism did not exist. An activist who is just awakening to the idea that real change can only been made outside of our existing structures yet continues to fall back into the security and comfort of these structures. Change outside of the structure is so idealistic and it’s impossible to live outside of it, so I have come to terms that as long as I am conscious of how my future organization does its work I can help make a difference.

Then comes the doubts that I am not prepared enough now and won’t be right after I graduate to do the work I want to do. The reason why I want to help small businesses is because I am business-oriented myself. And the reason why I want to start my own organization is because I want to have a personal impact on people’s lives. One aspect of the nonprofit organization I want to found is consulting, but at this point in time, I have no idea what that entails. If I were to start in the next few years, I don’t want to outsource that work. I want to do it myself.

I need and want the experience in consulting before I graduate college but with one and a half years to go I’ve already committed myself to a supply chain internship for the summer. It was one of the first and few internships I applied to in the fall. I got an interview and I was shocked to receive an offer so soon. I didn’t have time to reflect on the direction I want to go or look for any other opportunities. The opportunity was rare and amazing and the time pressure was great. I will definitely learn something from it and I am really looking forward to working with such a great company, but there is this little part of me that wishes I had a chance to explore my options, learn a little more about my field, and what I could do with it.

Currently, I’ve made it my mission to begin working towards obtaining an entry-level position in consulting upon graduating. I don’t know how hard it will be without a consulting internship, but I think I have a fair shot at some firms. However, the really famous firms that I want to aim for probably aren’t looking for candidates like me. I only get more apprehensive when I see that their recent hires are from Ivy Leagues.

But with this plan in place I’m hoping to gain some experience in consulting, 2 or 3 years, and still be able to start working on my own nonprofit by the time I am 25. The end goal is the same but the means are a little different.

I think I’m done rambling. Good night world. I’m up early tomorrow heading to Pittsburgh for a case competition!

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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, theĀ  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.

Superwoman Semester

Fall 2013 is finally over. And I am both relieved and anxious of the fact that I am now more than halfway done with my college career.

You know this thing?

I somehow did all of them, plus marching band, plus having a job, plus occasionally going to the gym. I don’t know how but I did it all, but it’s been done. Yes, I feel like Superwoman.

You know what my most hated excuse is? I don’t have time. Do not even try to talk to me about not having time when I was going straight from class to work to activities some days of the week not returning to my apartment until 9pm to start my homework. If you want to do it, you’ll get it done, trust me. You have time, it’s just not a priority.

It’s only now that I realize how much pressure I’ve put on myself by being involved on the executive board of so many clubs. It’s too soon for my peers to be telling me “when you are president next year.” Although I believe that I would a great leader for some of these groups and I would love to be one, if granted the opportunity, I am afraid of how much responsibility I will be putting on myself. The problem with my leadership is that I cannot trust other people to things for me. If I want it done right, I will do it myself.

Sometimes I just want to give up and see what it’s like being a mediocre student that’s not involved in any activities. Believe it or not they exist. Where I work, I do critiques of undergraduate resumes. Sometimes a Senior will come in trying to get their resume fixed up for a job after college and I see that they didn’t include an “Activities” section, and it’s because they are not in any activities. Seriously, how do you go through four years of college without joining any sort of club? Not even the hobby or sports clubs? My response: “Sorry, I guess you’ve got to work with what you got.”

Now I can just sit back and relax after my last final on Friday. This winter I’ll be working and making some moolah but for the most part I won’t have to worry about classes, grades, and leading activities for once. I’m going to knit and crochet and maybe get into beading. It’s going to be awesome. Oh, and I’ve got a finished crochet project that I’m almost ready to share. I must admit I’m pretty proud of it. You’ll see it on here soon :)

A case against “major/minor only” course enrollments

Spring semester registration at the University of Delaware starts this week. And because I love doing scheduling and planning I could not wait to open up that spreadsheet I made Freshman year that detailed my coursework for all 4 years of college and see how on track I was.

As someone with a very strict course map for her major and two completely different minors outside of the business college, having a guide to work by is absolutely necessary. I figured out that I could finish both my major and two minors perfectly taking 5 classes each semester with no wiggle room. Well, things changed when I was able to take two classes over a winter session and study abroad for credit.

I now have two spots for business-related electives and two free spots to take any elective I want.

Except not really.

I threw around a lot of ideas – entrepreneurship classes, non-profit management classes, database management classes, sociology classes, women’s studies classes. But as I looked up the requirements and prerequisites, I saw a lot of these classes were reserved for majors or minors only, even if they were introductory level. Everyone I’ve talked to suggests that could get into those classes and do the minor as well. Trust me, if I could I would add approximately 10,000 more minors to my degree, but I’m not that crazy. As much as I wish I were Hermione Granger, I don’t have a Time Turner that allows me to have an impossible schedule.

I really don’t like that some of the University’s policies prevent students from taking classes outside of their discipline. I want to take these classes because I believe they will be a benefit as someone who wants to run her own society improving start up one day. I’m not a school to earn a grade, I’m here to learn something that I can use later on in life. Why must a student jump through hoops to be able to expand their knowledge to include other topics?

I understand that the school needs to be able to guarantee that those who need to be in the classes will get them, but why restrict them from the rest of the student body completely?

With that being said, I chose Introduction to Entrepreneurship as my elective for this spring. There’s only 20 spots so I hope I can into the class. Fingers crossed!