Quelling the Inner Critic & Social Entrepreneurship

This evening I had the pleasure of attending a Social Innovation Exchange event, hosted by the ASCent program out of Communitech. The program and tonight’s event are both aimed at fostering students with an interest in social entrepreneurship, and helping them to create companies aimed at advancing human health, prosperity, and happiness in this complex world.

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Students and mentors listen in during the keynote speech.

Seeing the idealistic young students made me reflect back on my time in grad school with new eyes. I absorbed cynicism in those days like a sponge;  critical analyzes in journal articles and the often hypocritical nature of academic research made me feel frustrated and out of touch with the real world. The students that I met at tonight’s event, however, had somehow managed to find positive energy at the thought of building a better local and global community. It is likely that they have read many of the same articles that I have,  and taken the same classes. So why the difference in experience?

I think it comes down to a difference in mentorship and human interaction. In grad school, it is very easy to spend time with only your studies and ignore the goings-on of the people around you. The bright young students at tonight’s  ASCent event found inspiration through mentors and their support networks. Their projects gained strength from the skills of multiple talented individuals working together. In essence, their hearts were open to new experience and growing through friendships.

Recognizing this made me feel very excited about the future, as I currently have a strong network of people which enrich and enhance my daily life and ideas. I forsee a lot of value coming out of the ASCent program and its affiliates. I found it to be a very inspirational event and can’t wait to see the further evolution of this program!

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. robertlfs says:

    This is a very interesting observation to me and follows along the lines of something i have come to experience/believe. I much more enjoy engaging with students than most professionals. The primary reason being that students are asking questions, looking for alternatives, making the box bigger, whereas quite often professionals are primarily interested in defending their positions published in the prestigious peer reviewed journals.

    Whereas professionals often speak of the importance of testing, retesting, adding to knowledge, too often I find that we are convinced that the search should stop with our latest proclamations.

    I do enjoy exploring the possibilities as opposed to becoming limited by the certainties, which often are not really so certain.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. marialegault says:

    I’m glad to hear that you share the same thoughts, Robert!

    I find that events like the one described here lift my spirits for that exact reason; the overall mood of the young people present is that ‘nothing is impossible’. It makes for a great experience. I walked away from this event with more reflections than doubts, and more excitement than concern! Such positive emotions!

    In my current role, I’m finding that a significant portion of my time is spent mentoring young students and identifying ways to grow their careers through internships and volunteer work. It’s incredibly fulfilling work, and a subject area that I am eager to learn more about.

    I will have to read up on how you’ve mentored young people in the cultural heritage field – I know you’ve written about it on your blog quite a few times!

    Take care šŸ™‚

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