Guest Blog by ELP student Tyler Ringler – Mechanical Engineering – College of Engineering – Class of 2018
What in life has been accomplished by staying in the same place? Who prospers by doing nothing? What can be learned by being complacent? The answer is nothing. Taking a dive into unchartered waters can be one of the most rewarding experiences you can do. This has been my experience in entrepreneurship.
My first taste of entrepreneurship was in my intro to engineering course. Up until that point entrepreneurship was just a word that meant “someone who started a business.” Little did I know how wrong I was. The more I began to learn about entrepreneurship, the more intriguing it became. The sheer number of doors that the world of entrepreneurship could open up for me was mesmerizing. I wanted to learn as much as I could, as fast as I could. So I took the leap!
When I went head-first, I was overwhelmed at first. A one million page book had just opened up and I had to start at page one. The most rewarding part about the beginning of this endeavor however, was that with every page I read I became more knowledgeable. Every chapter I read gave me a new skill or insight. In this sea of information, I slowly became more and more capable of swimming.
I learned everything from what a value proposition was, to calculating the return on investment for a theoretical investor, all in a short amount of time. I grew more in a couple of days than I used to in a month. It was just so easy to get lost in an article or case-study. It was all shiny and new. However, the most important part of this journey was to be involved. Knowledge and information were important, but I wanted to put it into use. I found out that I had a couple of choices. I could take classes, join a club or society, or continue to learn on my own. Since I was jumping in the deep end however, I decided to do all three. Because of my passion for entrepreneurship, this extra work wasn’t work after all — it was fun! I enjoyed going into my entrepreneurship classes and being taught, as well as going to group meetings and collaborating with other students who were as curious as I was.
After taking one entrepreneurship course, I decided that I wanted to pursue the minor. For me, it was my way of saying that I wanted something more than what I already had. I wanted to be able to look back and say that i was able to turn my passion into a secondary degree. It was something that could further distinguish me in a crowd. As well as give me extra motivation to continue what I had started.
In addition to the minor, I have had the privilege of being in a couple of clubs relating to entrepreneurship. One focused on building a team and a product, then seeing whether or not the product would be able to go to market. The second was much more of a challenge: ELP. I understood what was needed of me for this program, but I also knew how much I would be able to learn, grow, and succeed within the program, so I did all that I could to get in. I have not regretted it for one second. The people, places, and experience I have had the pleasure to meet, see, and encounter has far exceeded my expectations. The bonds made with the rest of my cohort are bonds that I know I can come back to someday and utilize, which is a unique experience in a cohort such as ours.
Within all of this I started to narrow down and figure out what I was truly passionate about, product design. I realized that some of my favorite classes, articles, and entrepreneurs had something to do with a physical product that was revolutionizing an industry. Once I figured this out, I took another the dive into the design world, doing most of the same things as before continuing to grow and prosper. Who knows what I will dive into next? I do know that whatever it is will make me a more knowledgeable person.
This way of going about something new, or old, can be truly rewarding. It can also be applied to everything in life. Whether a kid playing a new sport, a student learning a new instrument, or even a middle-aged man learning new software. The amount of knowledge and self-growth is outstanding. My challenge to you is to find something you are interested in and jump in the deep end. I guarantee that you will learn to swim faster than you expect.