Throughout this year in ESGS, my biggest takeaway is that just because you are young doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference. Blaming your problems on youth isn’t a reliable excuse, adolescents can also start a business, talk to various adults, provide advice, and have many intriguing opinions. Let’s start my journey as an entrepreneur before this class even started. I have always been a natural leader, but public speaking and team work were never my strong suit. I would always dominate every project, never really opening my ears to hear my teammates’ thoughts and opinions. I recognized that this was a bad trait, aka cognitive bias as we later learned in class, and wanted to change by signing up for ESGS. Our first big project was the Urban plan. I absolutely loved doing this project because I was the financial analyst and got a lot of control over what we did. It was nice having a partner like Paris because I realized that I needed to compromise with other strong personalities if we wanted our project to win. By working together we were able to create a well built plan that was able to persuade the judges opinion. Another take away I learned from the urban plan was to do your due diligence. Nothing is more embarrassing and disappointing than being questioned on the project you are working on and not knowing the answer. It shows that you don’t care, which provokes the question why would the judges pick you if you don’t put in the max effort? I am so glad I learned this lesson early on in the year because it created a strong foundation for many of the following projects. The next big project we did was the Incubator Design. I was again chosen for a leadership role, but unlike last time was able to work with my teammate more fluently and accurately. My lesson from this project was the importance of having a clear message. Adding graphs, charts, and tables help others understand your project and provide a good base for you to explain your product off of. The last big project we accomplished this year(and will continue working on) is our business ventures. Everything I learned in this past year fluidly fit together during this project, when I was doing the project alone I was able to talk to many adults and professionals, have a clear and consistent message, did my due diligence, and talk with many people in my community(I sent out a survey to the entire Mid-Pacific middle and high school). This helped lay the groundwork for when I got teammates. By showing my enthusiasm and being considerate to their ideas we laid out an awesome pitch(in my humble opinion) and I gained more respect and trust for my male classmates. Looking back to a year ago, I doubt I would have produced this level of quality work without taking this class. Talking to adults was never a problem but asking them for something in the past terrified me but now I can do it with little resistance. As a young entrepreneur, I realized that my ideas and ventures don’t need to be sub par because I’m only 17. I can do a lot of what adults can do if I put in a little courage and effort into the process and do my due diligence.
I got into a lot of what the big projects have taught me but I should shed some light on the smaller ones because just like kids and adults, being bigger doesn’t mean it’s more important. I absolutely LOVED reading the various books and doing the essays. I usually enjoy writing and reading, but for standard English I never got to read books I actually really wanted to read(sorry but Shakespeare is boring) and was stuck to writing conventional essays about random things that never really made sense to me or connected with the outside world. I was able to explore ideas in ESGS like: you can’t feel courage without fear, the ideas of relativism, and how kids are the greatest entrepreneurs. Another one of my favorite aspects was that I was able to choose my books that I wanted to read. I’m so grateful that I was given the chance to take a deep dive into lord of the flies. I remember reading that book and being absolutely shocked and fascinated by all the hidden messages and details. This helped me create a what would you do quiz that I shared during my reading seminar. I remember feeling proud of myself because I thought my idea was creative and it only took me an hour to do. Another thing I appreciated was the various people who came in to talk to our class. The one who stood out to me the most was Rechung Fujihara from box jelly. He was able to connect with students on a personal level by discussing places kids can volunteer for and gain experience. He really hammered in the idea that working for someone who meets your interest is important. Doing jobs in areas that you like or are curious about makes you work harder and enjoy your life more. This also connects to what we learned in ESGS, our Ikigai chart. I would like to think I know myself pretty well, but using the Ikigai chart helped me lay it on paper and create a clearer picture of things I might want to do in the future. To close this reflection I wanted to say thank you and I am looking forward to a great senior year!