I DON'T HAVE A REALITY TV SHOW ABOUT MY RICH FAMILY IN THE HAMPTONS OR MY CRAZY FRIENDS FROM JERSEY BUT I WILL BE ON TV
Growing up, I was told that insuring success for my future meant getting straight A's at school. Twelve years of education later, I can tell you that this statement I lived by was not necessarily true.
My mom being a teacher, my family had lots of expectations for me. I was expected to graduate from high school with honors as the president of my class, then go somewhere like Berkeley, Cornell, Stanford, or Harvard to propel my career as some kind of radiologist or doctor or lawyer into outer space. But the more my family pushed at me to be the perfect student, the less I became enthusiastic at school.
I was lazy, unmotivated, and depressed. Everyone around me knew what they wanted to do when they grew up, or which college they wanted to got to, or what outfit they were going to wear next week, and here I was an underclassman who takes like an hour to order a meal at Olive Garden. How could people expect me to just plan my life when I couldn't even plan what top goes with which pants? My life kept going downhill until one day, I finally landed on my face and hit the concrete of reality.
IT'S NOW OR NEVER.
Whether or not I believed that I should be making these decisions at an age where I am still learning the fundamentals of life, the reality is, I had to make decisions that will pave my path.
As Avatar Aang says in The Legend of Korra, "When we hit our lowest point, we are open to the greatest change." It was not until I was homeless that I realized my life would be my responsibility. I can't expect to be successful when all I am doing was laying on the couch playing Skyrim. Homeless or not, sad or happy, motivated or lazy, it was all up to me. I can no longer rely on people to carry me through life. I have to be independent.
And then I was introduced to Junior Achievement.
Junior Achievement helped me become the man I am. I became the CEO of a real student-governed company that inspired me and my colleagues to strive for success. Running a company while going through high school and lots of life tribulations taught me to manage time and complain less- because each second I spend not contributing to Herban Movement or doing homework was a second I would not profit from.
Once I found my calling, the universe somehow put the steps in front of me, and paved the path I am taking now. Under my leadership, we won the titles of Best Business Plan and Best Commercial at this year's regional competition, and the Microsoft Social Innovation Award at nationals, all with a lot of praise and recognition from local organizations, mentors, friends, and family in between.
Now that I have graduated from Junior Achievement and no longer the CEO of Herban Movement, I have a new task.
To inspire my generation who might be going through similar struggles to pursue success and find their calling, the way Junior Achievement inspired me.
There are lots of young people in this world who might be going through some kind of struggle like bullying, grief, or homelessness, and now I feel obligated to share that passion inside me that Junior Achievement ignited. I want to inspire people and spread the belief that no matter what you are going through, you can overcome it and open yourself to the greatest change.
This Saturday, October 3rd, I will be representing Junior Achievement during the American Graduate Day special on PBS! I will be interviewed by Juju Chang of Nightline on ABC, a fellow JA alumni, live from the Lincoln Center in New York City! The program will air from 11 AM - 6 PM EST (check your local listings!)
I am honored to be representing such an amazing organization ! See you on TV!