Being Unconventional Starts Somewhere

by / ⠀Personal Branding Startup Advice / September 17, 2012

Though I had my heart set out on attending an arts school, I ended up attending a liberal arts college that I never heard of, more or less even thought about going to. I never applied to the school of my dreams that was located in my hometown, and instead applied to a school that a friend mentioned in passing. After submitting my application to the institution I found out a couple of days before Christmas day that I had been accepted.

It was a completely different world for me. I wasn’t accustomed to being around this diverse a mix of people. This Ray Ban sporting, BMW driving, Greek-letter wearing, elite group of scholars welcomed me as I entered my impromptu destination. I felt like I was a fish out of water.

My current institution is definitely top tier at what they are trying to do and what they are accomplishing. Their top tier tuition also reflects this. I’d like to think that this cost is a big part in my decision to create a start up. I feel as though I was provoked. If your tuition is pushing $40,000 a year and you come from a household that makes a little more than that per year, you may feel the need to exercise all of your options.

If we estimate that my tuition was around $40,000 a year and we multiply that by four years, we get $160,000. So, my tuition debt will be around that total number. This is what many other students and I have to look forward to upon graduation. You have approximately six months after you graduate before you must start paying your student loans back. This fact began diminishing the excitement of graduation for me. I paid attention to the state of the economy and recognized that more and more recent graduates had been finding it difficult to get jobs in their field of study. It became crucial to consider my personal outlook. It’s a matter that I was willing to face but not one that I was willing to accept lying down. As much as I adore my school and everything that it stands for, I felt like there was a different path that I would have to take. In refusing to just be another graduate with a degree who would eventually spend a few years working for someone else, I had to somehow find a way to do something that would change my odds. I wanted to go against the grain. I had to do something that was unconventional. I had to create.

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This is where I began, so here’s what you can do to kick start your process to starting up:

  1. Write down a list of everything you want to do. You may think of more things later so you can always add to the list as things come to you.
  2. Create a dream board. I absolutely love doing these. A dream board ranges from everything you’d like to have or images of the things that you’ve written on your “to do” list. Just make sure you put up things that you want to achieve. I also like to add affirmations and inspirational words that are going to perk me up (Ralph Waldo Emerson is a particular favorite of mine).
  3. Make a list of the people who inspire you. Research how they got to where they are and figure out how you can do it better by applying methods that work for you personally.
  4. Find a space to hang all of this. Pick a place that will allow you to see these goals every day.

I’m constantly adding things to this space. I also love to put check marks on all the things that I end up doing. It’s a great way to keep you focused on the task at hand.

We all have to start somewhere and this will be an exciting reminder of all the things you have set out to do. On those days where it becomes particularly tough to find fuel for your passion, just take a look at what you created and the drive to continue creating will instantly come back!

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Kayla Nelson is a junior English major at Spelman College. She is the author of “Screw You! I’m a Writer. And Other Things You Should Know”.

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.