“What separates entrepreneurs, filmmakers, artists, and scientists who keep inventing?
They keep reinventing themselves.
They’re not afraid to experiment: tackle a new problem, try a new skill, take on a new collaborator, work in a new culture”
I read this on Adam Grant’s feed a few nights ago and it got me thinking about my own journey and how I got here. My dad has always been my role model, as a lifelong entrepreneur (and founder of the largest college counseling business in the U.S. during the 80s and 90s) he has been a huge inspiration for me. When I shared Adam Grant’s quote with him he said, “I haven’t worked for anyone else since 1979…often I question whether this is a blessing or a curse. There are good days and bad days”. He taught me to take risks, follow my gut and to think critically.
As I was thinking about all of these things and my current students whose normal path is now full of uncertainties, I realized that these current high schoolers are becoming entrepreneurs whether they like it or not (and possibly filmmakers, artists and scientists amongst other things). They are reinventing themselves during this pandemic.
Most of the conversations I have with students and parents these days are about data points; how will my efforts be acknowledged without a gpa for the spring, how will I be evaluated without an SAT score, how will I show how I did at a sporting event without a season or “scores” to reflect my efforts, (sub in a play, performance, show, etc). While I know these are all hard things to come to terms with, I keep trying to get my students to change their perspective…
The reality is that students should be asking themselves different questions: have I tackled a new problem? Have I learned a new skill? Did I learn to do something different in this new environment? Has being home forced me to take on a new role in my family? I talked to one of my students whose summer plans are now up in the air and she is working with a friend on a collaborative projective as an alternative. I can’t wait to see what they come up with.
How will you reinvent yourself as a result of COVID-19? A large part of the work I do is around storytelling – how are you telling your story to colleges and sharing your journey in a voice and in way that lets your personality come through. Maybe it’s the entrepreneur in me, but it’s one of the things I love the most about the work I do. I love tackling challenges and collaborating with my students. COVID-19 has posed a lot of challenges for high schoolers; I am grateful that I get to work alongside them and learn how to work in this new culture.