I recently graduated from DePauw University and started my journey with the Orr Fellowship a few short months ago. I heard about this program from one of the second-year fellows, and I was instantly drawn to the entrepreneurial spirit, the unique work experiences and the constant social and professional growth the Fellowship provides. This post kicks off the Informatics class blog series – one of the many unique experiences we’re able to take part in during our two-year tenure.
It’s not that I thought I would stop learning once I walked off DePauw’s campus, but I could not fathom the people I would encounter, the information I would acquire and lessons I would learn only a few months into this “real world.” September showed up unexpectedly, and the Orr Fellowship has been jam packed with Career Fairs, Business Leader Meetings (BLM) and a director-led Informatics class (not to mention our day jobs!).
Lessons from Local Leaders
Just this week, the first-year Orr Fellows were invited into the Indiana Statehouse to meet with Gov. Mitch Daniels for our monthly BLM. Surrounded by paintings of governors before him, including Orr founder, Gov. Robert Orr, we spoke about Indiana’s past, present and future. We learned from the Governor that over the past few years, more college graduates have stayed in Indiana rather than left the state. Keeping talented graduates in the state is incredibly important to the state’s growth, and this is a huge part of the Fellowship’s mission. Indianapolis has grown immensely over the past couple of decades, and it has become a hub for start-ups and young professionals. It even made Forbes’ list as one of the happiest cities for young professionals.
The excitement of this week doesn’t end there – Monday was the launch of our Orr Fellowship Informatics class, led by one of the Orr Fellowship directors, Mark Hill of Collina Ventures. About two dozen Orr Fellows filed into a room in the Speak Easy for class on Monday night (yes, during MNF) ready to learn as much as possible from established business leaders over the next few months. We kicked it off with Developer Town founder, Michael Cloran, who titled his lecture, “Random Stories. Lessons Learned.” His title inspired the underlying theme of this post: the lives of individuals like Gov. Daniels and Cloran are not necessarily random stories, but incredible efforts made by young professionals that put them on tracks to success. There are reasons that individuals like this are where they are today, and these are the habits and practices we are striving to learn from and acquire.
After we listened to Michael’s unique and impressive post-graduate experiences that led him to become a restless entrepreneur, we asked what seemed to be the most relevant questions for us: Why Indy? And what should we take back from your early experiences and practice in our own lives? His answers were both reassuring and encouraging:
- The Midwest is much more welcoming than other areas, giving newcomers more comfort and opportunities for growth and success
- Build your reputation and credibility by sticking to your word
- Say “YES” to new challenges, projects and responsibilities – people who have changed the world are not the type of people who sit back and content with not taking action
I was naïve in initially thinking the transition to the real world was going to be simple and straightforward. You leave college on top of the world, and then realize that Columbus did in fact discover the world is round…and much larger than believed.
After listening to these accomplished and inspiring leaders in Indiana, we can find comfort knowing there are different paths we may find ourselves on, both in our nearest and more distant future. We don’t need to know what our next job will be, which graduate program we’ll apply to or even what we’re eating for lunch this week. As long as we are determined, willing to work through the night, and yes, occasionally commit to eating PB&J six meals in a row, the possibilities are endless. All entrepreneurs jump and fall; and we’re here to learn what it takes to take that first jump.