After graduating from Providence College, road-tripping across Utah with high school friends, and quickly moving to South Bend, I can officially say I am a survivor of Grad School Week 1.
While many of us have now memorized that ESTEEM is a Masters Program in Engineering, Science, and Technology Entrepreneurship, this first week really helped us learn just what that means. After a quick orientation last week, we began classes Monday and started learning things that many of us science nerds have never seen before—accounting, finance, statistics, design, and a business class that forces us to get out of the classroom and investigate problems in the South Bend community as we design customer-validated solutions. I found myself hanging out at community events looking to engage in my research with local residents, spending time with my new classmates (now friends) from around the world, and learning to navigate the big, beautiful Notre Dame campus that we all now call home.
I would say that Wednesday was a great snapshot of everything this program challenges us with: an early run around the lakes on campus, business classes all morning, a career workshop to prepare us for job-hunting this fall over lunch, an informational meeting (aka networking event) with local entrepreneurs and city leaders on an exciting local revitalization fellowship, dinner from food trucks, and team meetings with our advisor to discuss team progress. Not to mention that in the background of our now chock-full days looms the Capstone Thesis selection process, a matching system that will pair each one of us with an industry, research, or personal project of interest to us that we will study throughout the year. With that comes cover letters, resumes, interviews, and nerves. In a few short weeks, we will all be matched and diving in to complex problems, but for now…we wait.
While life seems a little chaotic, I have never felt more supported by my professors, advisors, and classmates. Everything we need to identify problems and start business ventures is available through the numerous connections within ND and the community and our classes strive to give us the tools we need to go out and initiate change. Life here is EXCITING and full of ENERGY and after being told numerous times that I am going to be a successful entrepreneur or intrapreneur in a year’s time, I’m starting to believe it.