Taking the Plunge

So I quit my job.

Originally, I left because I had plans of moving cross-country to sunny California and stay a few more years here in the United States. I was actively searching for positions that would sponsor working visas to international students. But after a few days of continuously pimping my LinkedIn profile, re-writing case studies in my portfolio page, and spending hours customising cover letters for jobs, I got tired of it. I realised that most of the things that I was writing was b.s.—“I would love to be a part of your organisation’s pursuit for creating great products” or “I believe in your mission to bring great thoughtful design in new technologies”—so like any other privileged millenial, I pondered on what I wanted to do. No, I did not go on a backpacking trip to an exotic place, nor did I buy a new MacBook to inspire me to create beautiful new things.

I spent the next few days reading: news, websites, blogs, journals, books. Interestingly I found my answer in a final paper I wrote in grad school, a brave and idealistic 2000-word essay titled Schools should teach kids how to fail. In that paper, I argued for the inclusion of design and project-based learning in school curriculum, less subject-matter concentration and more diversity in content and perspectives, and most importantly a spirit of embracing failure and learning from mistakes to develop grit and adaptability. “Pretty cool, how come I didn’t develop this concept further?” I thought. And that’s when it came, this idea for a non-profit that would be guided by the same principles I’ve studied and worked on during graduate school. It was clear to me that I already maximized my stay here in the US—grad school, new connections, professional experience—so I decided to finally come home and start an organisation of my own. The excitement fuelled me to work non-stop. Writing ideas down, watching videos, reading research articles, stalking people online, writing emails, scheduling calls, searching for events. I was obsessed.

Right now, while the project is still nameless, I believe it has a lot of potential. In a nutshell, it’s a non-profit organization that aims to bring the power of creativity and innovation to schools through design thinking workshops and mentorship. The long-term vision is to disrupt the top-down way of making educational policies by creating a channel for the people in the ground—students and teachers—to ideate and test new concepts that could potentially improve schools and learning. I’ll be writing updates and the different steps I’m taking to take this non-profit to fruition, the questions I’m asking, and most importantly the failures that I’m ready to face and learn from. Here’s me taking the plunge.

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