Do you believe that we are destined to follow one path or that we can find alternative routes?
Taking the Innovation Academy has taught me that it is possible to build an alternative path than the one you are given. Yes, you will undergo failure, have plenty of obstacles, and will require twice the effort, but there is a way to create a different path and be successful.
There is no question that when we began the IA we had many peers from outside challenging our decision. "Why would you have joined the IA? Aren't you afraid of being rejected from college?" our peers asked.
Building a path from scratch taught me much more than following the one that was already built. I learned, more than ever, the importance of comfort in learning. If you are not feeling happy doing what you're doing, then you have all the right to speak up. Being the first cohort to do the IA gave me room to explore who I am, and where I want to go. The road was bumpy, and the direction sometimes unclear, but we were able to pivot constantly. We left aside projects we didn’t see as valuable, we changed our grading system, and found more time so that we could explore our passions. There are many great takeaways I took from building my own path, and I’ve summarized my findings into these two lessons: adaptability and finding the why.
Now, this final lesson is definitely the hardest for all of us here. It’s quite simple, but very deep. I would like to reference Mark Manson's article “7 strange questions that help you find your life purpose." He gives a load of amazing questions for you to ask yourself if you have purpose in what you're doing, if you're doing something that you love and find value in. One of my favorite questions is “What’s your favorite flavor of sh*& sandwich and does it come with an olive?” So, what would it be? What type of sh&% sandwich would you eat? This is because school does not teach you this, nor will your parents. But everything sucks at least some of the time. You might be doing what you love, constantly, but there are always obstacles and roadblocks and challenges--maybe waking up early, or having to deal with traffic after leaving the office. Something, always. But your sandwich must be something that makes it worth going through all that trouble, something that if you take a bite of your sandwich (please don’t), you’ll forget about the problems and focus on what is most important, your passion.
It has been the best, and I will miss you guys.
And as always, thanks for reading.