Finding Confidence in Entrepreneurship

Michaela portrait imageIt’s hard to believe that after five years, I am simply done my Psychology and Business degree at the University of Waterloo. No more lining up to buy textbooks, attending lectures, cramming studying for midterms. After all those days and nights sweating over whether or not I would ever graduate, I can’t believe I’m here.

Lucky for me, my five years at the University of Waterloo were filled with more than just textbooks, lectures, and studying. I worked at Velocity, Desire2Learn and Kik on co-op, and was also a Residence Life Don. Though all of these experiences shaped who I am as a graduate, one of my most impactful extracurricular experiences was becoming co-president of the Entrepreneurship Society (EntSoc). The Entrepreneurship Society is a student-run organization that aims to connect undergrads with all of the unique entrepreneurial resources they have as UWaterloo students – from events and workshops, to mentors, to accelerators and incubators.

During my time with EntSoc, I had the opportunity to lead an organization’s rebrand, manage a group of 16 executive members, meet over 100 startup teams, host and attend countless events, and learn a ton about leadership, delegation, and motivating people.

Most importantly, I learned how to recognize my own success, and to give myself credit for the things I was able to pull off. When you’re so wrapped up in getting everything perfect, it can be hard to sit back, look at what you’ve done, and let yourself feel like you’ve accomplished something great. Getting featured in Cybernorth Ventures’ “The 55 Rockstars of Waterloo” definitely helped me realize that what we were doing was making an impact.

As mentioned in the article, one of EntSoc’s biggest achievements was Fall 2014’s What’s Your Idea Week. In total, over 400 students and members of the entrepreneurial community attended the events of What’s Your Idea Week, including idea generation, networking, mentorship, and pitching sessions.

I often reminisce about the last year with EntSoc – but just like my degree, my time with EntSoc is done – but definitely not forgotten. Looking forward, the lessons I learned as a student at the University of Waterloo and as a co-president of EntSoc will stay with me wherever I go.

Michaela speaking to crowd

So where exactly am I going? I’ve just started working at Kik as a Social Media Specialist. Continuing with the theme of entrepreneurship, Kik was founded by University of Waterloo students and has close ties to the entrepreneurial community.

I’ve already started putting the time management lessons I’ve learned to good use – running EntSoc while in school, and while being a Residence Life Don, pulls you in a lot of different directions – similar to managing multiple social media accounts and projects for a company. Though I don’t have my own team (yet), being able to manage the EntSoc team was a leadership experience incomparable to anything I’ve ever experienced, and something I’ll never forget.

Being a part of EntSoc helped me realize the importance of thinking big picture – how one small organization can work within a larger university system, and an even larger system of entrepreneurship clubs worldwide. Experiencing the power we could harness as one small club makes me more confident about the power that I have the potential to harness as one small University of Waterloo graduate.

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