I’d fallen in. The trap that swallowed millions of college students whole had somehow managed to find me, and I fell straight into it. I had succumb to the lethargic notion that my whole college experience, the whole four years of self-discovery and exploration was aimed at drafting the perfect resume: one filled with unmatched grades, innumerable extra-curricular achievements, exaggerated scholarly attainments, and pretentious teacher recommendations. But even I-in my trapped state- knew, that the product of college should be so much more than a piece of paper with an inflated list of things I’ve done. But nevertheless, knowledge though powerful, is only successful if it promotes action.
It took a crazed attempt to start off “that action”: me, hunched over my desk in my dorm room typing away at my laptop, hurriedly answering a questionnaire for the ASES Manila Summit 2014. The week I’d be taking off class seemed like a forceful way to push me out of grade centralism, and that’s why I went for it. Entrepreneurship had always been within my interests, but my view of the topic had always been limited by my inexperience. I figured that it was time to man up, ditch school, hit the road, and get my hands dirty even just for a week. What I didn’t figure was that the summit would completely change the way I view entrepreneurship, let alone my perspective of life after college.
A Social Entrepreneurship Immersion
Social entrepreneurship was at the heart of the summit, and our immersion into the topic took place mainly during our overnight stay at the Gawad Kalinga (GK) Enchanted Farm, a social entrepreneur hub promoting workforce empowerment, and environmentally sound and sustainable enterprise creation. Incongruent to the modern day concept of minimize cost, maximize profit by any means necessary, “GK” as headed by Tony Meloto promotes nation building, efficient and profitable investment in human capital, and enterprises that feature the many overlooked and unseen Philippine resources.
I always thought the entrepreneur to be the individual in charge of company assets and risk assessment in promotion of profit, a bland economic viewpoint. But now, peering at the self-giving vision of “Tito Tony”, I see the entrepreneur as a mediator of communal and societal issues. The entrepreneur is no longer merely the controller of the profitable firm, rather, he is the empathizer to a problem, and the visionary to a solution, a vivid and humanistic viewpoint.
Finding tomorrow’s solutions
With a better formed definition of the entrepreneur in mind, the technology start-up side of the summit commenced. This was a gathering of like-minded, enthusiastic, and bustling entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and everyone in between (I’d like to think of myself “in between”). Each one of these characters were excited, ready to hear of (and perhaps invest in) solutions to today’s or even tomorrow’s problems.
This part of the summit provided me with drive. New problems are cropping up daily. How then will old information, dated and used as it is, ever be the sole solution to these problems? The answer: through innovation.
This then lent perspective to how we view education in relation to future employment. Old information and old job descriptions are never going to solve tomorrow’s problems. It is only through realizing a need and acting upon it; seeing a problem and fixing it; taking old information and making it relevant, that we will be able to impact society for the better. Why then create a paper with achievements, when as early as now, you could be solving problems bigger than your own?
A gathering of future entrepreneurs
But where can these problems be found? That takes empathy and perspective to answer, both of which the summit tapped in to. Gathered at the summit were 30 of the most passionate, apt, and rapturous young entrepreneurs this generation has to offer. Through meeting them, working with them, immersing myself in their culture, and partaking in their friendship, I was able to draw multiple perspectives. The problems we face as individuals though grave at times, are in the grand scheme of things, tiny specs. Why then work 9 to 5 to solve someone else’s specs, when you could be developing solutions to worldly impediments?
I walked into the summit bent into a system with a job at its end. But in this ever changing world filled with enumerable problems why would one settle? The summit has challenged us all to strive for a higher purpose. We should not limit ourselves by money or wealth, but by our drive and hunger to improve the interconnectivity, livelihood, and functioning of the globe we live in.
We don’t just stop at the beginning of a resume; instead, we should feel free to pursue whatever we feel is socially relevant or whatever alleviates the struggles of this generation.
Furthermore we don’t limit ourselves to the conventions surrounding us, but rather we envision something better, encapsulate it, create it, and shape a world better off than the one existing. All these you won’t find on a resume.
Jaymes Shrimski is a Filipino-Australian who is currently majoring in Legal Management at the Ateneo De Manila University. He recently attended the ASES Manila Summit (http://asesmanila.org/) which highlighted the intersection of tech and social entrepreneurship in solving the problems of tomorrow.