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Schulz ’19 Turns Hardships Into Valuable Learning Experience

James Schulz ’19 HireEducation – This summer, I took a big leap and left my hometown of Fishers, In to work in Boulder, Colorado. I am an intern at HireEducation, a recruiting firm in the education technology space. My role here as has been in the research and recruiting part of the business. Since coming out here, there are three things that come to mind that have stuck out to me most.

The first is when my expectations don’t quite line up with reality, it’s important to keep an open mind. I came out to Boulder thinking I was going to be doing cold call outreach and assisting with ongoing searches to help find suitable candidates. However, that was not the case. I spent the first five weeks reorganizing an entire office and putting together/taking apart furniture. Many times, I would find myself with copious amounts of downtime, despite asking for more and more things to do. I grew frustrated and felt like my presence in the office was a nuisance. However, I’ve come to realize that I can take this experience, these feelings, and use them to my advantage if ever asked to talk about a work experience that did not as I expected. By keeping an open mind, I was able to flip these feelings of frustration into a valuable learning experience.

The second thing that comes to mind is starting a company is no easy task. In my very first weekend in Colorado, I attended TechStars Start-Up weekend in Denver. People from all over the country came to this event, pitched an idea, and the top pitch ideas spent the rest of the weekend coming up with a business plan to present on Sunday night. I even pitched my own business idea in front of an audience of 100+ people. Even though my idea did not win, I was fortunate enough to work on a team that helped create a mentoring app connecting foster children who are on the verge of aging out of a system to a mentor willing to help with those scary years of entering adulthood. My team members were from Utah, Colorado, Minnesota, Venezuela, California, and Vietnam.  Though my team did not win, I learned what the beginning aspects of putting a business together are like and how working with a team from various backgrounds is so great. I also came to understand the amount of excruciatingly tough hours it takes to start a business.

The third thing that comes to mind is stepping out of my comfort zone has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Committing to come out to Boulder was a first for many things. It was my first time living in a different state for an extended period of time. It was my first time ever being in Colorado. It was my first time living on my own, in my own place. It was my very first experience with sales and a recruiting. All of these aspects were brand new to me, but the best things have come of them. I have developed relationships that I will keep for a lifetime. I have gone on adventures in one of the most beautiful states in the country. I have found a career field that I have considered before, but now can picture myself pursuing post-graduation.

Despite the challenges I have faced this summer, the rewards completely outweigh them all. My time in Boulder will be an experience I can talk about for a lifetime, and it would not be possible without Wabash. The “Wabash Always Fights” mentality never left the back of my mind and has proven to be successful once again. Thank you to HireEducation, my family, and Wabash.