A goal for many in university is to get as many experiences as you can before being thrown into the “real world.” Unfortunately, it frequently feels like you simply get pummelled with information and do not receive the experience so deeply desired.
University, however, is not a solo journey or a place to simply show up then leave, it is a platform for growth and self-learning. If you look for the opportunities to develop and learn new abilities, they become apparent and plentiful.
As I enter my fifth year of studies at SFU, I have begun to realize that there is a plethora of opportunities that are available if students look for them. Since I have always had the desire to run a business, one of the opportunities I took advantage of was the Technology Entrepreneurship @SFU program (Tech e@SFU).
Tech e@SFU is a collaborative program that brings together Mechatronic and business students—and anyone taking the Charles Chang Certificate—to give them the opportunity to collaborate and create a fully functioning business. This program challenged me intellectually, emotionally, and physically. Throughout the program, students complete their capstone classes while taking a combined class that gives a crash course in start-up development. Students also get to pitch for a share in funds to help build their prototypes.
The 3 major lessons that I took away from the Tech e@SFU program were:
1) Just take the leap
Most of the time you have no idea what you’ll get out of an experience. The more people I talked to, the more I realized that nobody really knows what they are doing, they just learn to move past their insecurities and jump in.
2) Give your all
In the Tech e@SFU program, you can run into some difficult situations that can tempt you to give up. If you are going to do something, do not give half the effort. Why give time, energy and attention to something that will not turn out in the end? Well if you don’t give everything you have, is it worth it? The same thing exists in business as it does in life.
3) Find the right people
When there are people supporting you, everything becomes easier to handle. The task or job may not be simpler, but knowing that people have your back lessens the load. When creating a start-up, a strong support system really makes an impact. Having a team that understands each other and can challenge thoughts and direction will allow the business to become successful. Our business team had this dynamic. The members of our team worked hard, challenged preconceived thoughts, but learned to laugh and enjoy the journey at the same time.
You never know when the right person or people will come into your life but you must be open. One of my colleagues, Tony Vukasovic, joined our team in the very early stage of our start-up by chance and has become a guiding voice for our team ever since.
I encourage you to take part in Tech e@SFU and other interdisciplinary programs during your undergraduate degree. These types of programs force you to empathize and learn to think from other peoples’ perspectives. It teaches you how different disciplines speak and comprehend information. If you ever get the chance, take a program like this, you will not regret it. You may even meet one of your best friends, like I did with Tony. Tune in next week to read about Tony’s experience in Tech e@SFU.
Braeden Peterson is currently a 5th year student studying Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Marketing, and Political Science. He enjoys pursuing a range of experiences, and through these, enjoys meeting new people. Above all, Braeden enjoys adventure, outdoor activities, and giving back.
At SFU, he is the Vice-President of SFU’s Student for Humanity club, and co-founder and managing director of Locus Technologies created from the Tech e@SFU Cohort. Along with his academic pursuits at SFU, Braeden runs his own businesses and volunteers with many organizations. Braeden is an entrepreneur, a humanitarian, a mentor, and a public speaker. He wishes to continue pursuing his entrepreneurial passions and help impact the world. Connect with Braeden at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Linkedin, Instagram, or Twitter.