School is really just a runway for the amazing life you're about to have, so you've got to make it count. Founding your own business in college (or even high school) is the most rewarding way to spend your college years. Forget frat parties, soulless internships, and other distractions. Start early, think big, and keep your ego in check by failing often. I founded a nonprofit when I was 14 and ran two businesses during my undergraduate years. Seek out impactful, purposeful areas. Don't make the 25th restaurant discovery app. Target a problem in an industry and either disrupt the technology or the supply chain process. Here's my most rewarding takeaways from starting a startup as a student.
1. It's the best career preparation ever. Forget interview workshops and boring resume sessions. As an entrepreneur, you are constantly pitching, presenting, and getting immediate criticism. In my first interview with a national publication, I was so nervous I felt like fainting and could barely speak properly. Your confidence, weaknesses, strengths, charm, and intellect are challenged when you're showing someone your passion. You're open and vulnerable, and it will teach you an incredible amount about yourself. Communicating your ideas require clarity and the ability to connect topics. There isn't a more self-revealing experience.
2. It reminds you of infinity. CALVIN: If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d live a lot differently. HOBBES: How so? CALVIN: Well, when you look into infinity, you realize that there are more important things than what people do all day. College can feel like a suffocating bubble (or at least that's how it felt to me) with little resemblance to the real world. Projects give you purpose, and nothing gives you more enthusiasm for the future ahead than the potential of your company and how you will lead it to achieve its goals and mission.
3. It gives you a global perspective. No startup can grow in seclusion. An entrepreneur thrives in the company of others, and as a founder, you will have access to a global network of ambitious young people. I remember growing up in awe of teenagers who were working on the cure to cancer or something insane. Well, these people are an arm's reach away through online communities and annual conferences.