After creating a college mentoring focused Local Ideas Festival (LIF) as a 2016 Bezos Scholar, I realized I had a passion for helping students succeed and thrive after high school.
The process of creating, coordinating, and working with my community, as part of my LIF, helped me realize that I wanted to turn helping students utilize their passions to succeed into a business. My LIF, Take the First Step, has turned into a side business of mine while I attend college, and has continued to be my passion project ever since I hosted my LIF as a Bezos Scholar.
Take the First Step is aimed towards educating high school students about how to apply to college with an emphasis on financial aid and the different types of continuing education options available, such as trade schools, entrepreneurship, and the military. One of my goals for Take the First Step is to help students who come from unsupportive backgrounds know that someone is rooting for them and will provide a helping hand to improve the quality of their education.
Currently, Take the First Step mentors high school students online on how to apply to college and improve their chances of getting into a college that best fits the studies they want to pursue. Through Take the First Step, I want to help high school students understand how much they can accomplish in their four years of high school, including advancing their resumes and lifestyles by continuing their passions. All students can become leaders who create their own projects, have a passion towards their education, and strive towards being a role model for others.
As I’ve grown my side business, I’ve found it’s important to keep in mind that growth starts slowly and to keep pushing forward as time goes on. It can be hard at times, but it’s important to remember not to become discouraged. You will make connections along the way that increase the public's awareness of your business and gain an invaluable network of peers who will support your desire to succeed.
I find a side business fulfilling because it satisfies my creative needs outside of my everyday work by providing a happiness in my life. I enjoy seeing students realize that they can pursue their passions while they work towards higher education. Many students believe they have to drop subjects they’re passionate about such as art, theatre, dance, photography, etc, to get into a college or pursue a trade after high school.
After attending middle and high schools dedicated to the arts I know the importance of including what students are passionate about into their education. I love helping students realize that being passionate about subjects outside of core curriculum is a big deal for colleges nowadays. Colleges want well-rounded students who have strong grades and also has an enthusiasm for projects that increase a student's view of the world. By being involved in the arts, it opens a new door of possibilities for the student to learn about themselves and the mark they want to leave on the world.