As some of you might know — I am a university student, currently doing a one year internship at IBM, which ends in less than a month. My year at IBM has been fantastic, I have learned more than I could have ever imagined and became friends with some truly wonderful people.
But this post is not about IBM, it’s about what comes next.
As I approach my final year in university, what have I got planned?
In all honesty — I have no clue.
I thought my year at IBM would be the antidote to the question that plagues every university student “what should I do when I graduate?”. If anything, this year has opened up my mind to possibilities that I didn’t know existed!
I’m more confused than ever and that’s a good thing. Throughout our lives, we are being pushed to pursue a path, a degree, a career or whatever it may be. This has the effect of constraining our horizons, even if unintentionally so. It’s hard for someone who has spent their entire life trying to get good at marketing, to then suddenly decide they want to be an engineer. I get that. It’s hard and often times impractical.
And this is exactly my challenge right now.
My entire life, until this point has led me to be a “business guy”. But I think I want to be more. A few months ago I decided to make the leap and enrolled in a web development bootcamp with General Assembly. This is a 12 week intensive course which I’m doing over the summer, and by the end of it — I should have the skills to be a junior web developer.
This was a really difficult decision for me. I could have spent my summer either trying to work on my own ideas or doing an internship at another tech company, which would undoubtedly be a good learning experience and would also make me more “employable”.
I absolutely hate this word and everything it stands for. Universities and student institutions shove it down your throat all the time and it makes me cringe.
At this age, your aim should be to explore your passions and interests, as opposed to crafting yourself to be attractive to the highest paying graduate employer. We are young, this is not the time to settle. If there’s something else that will give you more fulfilment, go for it!!
Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos has this incredible framework for life — it’s called the regret minimisation framework.
Curiosity is the greatest weapon we all have, wield it like your life depends on it.
Do I want to pursue a career as a developer? No idea. But I said to myself, “Fuck it. Let’s do it” and made the counterintuitive choice — only because I would have never stopped thinking about ‘what it could have been’.
At the same time, I realise that money is important and you can’t just be unemployed to work on your passions, especially if you have loans. Thankfully, the internet has a plethora of free resources which you can browse through by making some free time in your day and getting started that way.
In my previous blog post, I designed and prototyped an app — I had zero experience with this. I just watched YouTube tutorials and worked on it bit by bit every night after work. It might seem intimidating at first, but trust me, if it’s something that you are interested in, it is going to be a lot of fun.
Coursera & EdX are my favourite resources to learn about new subjects and if you have the app, you can download lectures offline and hear it on your commute or wherever. I’m currently studying Introduction to User Experience on EdX and I just put on the lectures when I’m having dinner. It’s been super insightful and I didn’t even have to go out of my way to make time for it.
These are only a couple, in a sea of options out there. Google is your friend. If you cannot figure out how to get started, please reach out to me and I am more than happy to help out!
So…what’s next for me? I don’t know. But I’m open to trying new things and picking up new skills.
Always be learning — life gets 1000x more interesting, I promise.