Why should a college student or recent graduate start a business? To be honest, this is a difficult question for me to answer. At first, all I could think of were reasons why college students or recent graduates should not start a business. Numerous reasons came to mind including our lack of experience, societal pressures and norms regarding college students. This actually surprised me that this was my initial train of thought due to the fact that my parents have very strong entrepreneurial minds. I grew up learning what it means to own a business, to take risks, and to fail, as well as the feeling of being successful. The reasons why I thought negatively about starting a business in college or right after stems from the very thinking that students do not have enough experience in such matters. The more I thought about the question though, the more I realized neither do any other entrepreneurs, no matter the age or past experience!
Each start-up process is unique and catered toward a target audience, the product, and their willingness to make their product or service successful. For that reason, I began thinking that students are actually probably some of the best people to start a business because they are young, persistent, and hungry for success. In addition, students’ minds are not yet disheartened and still strive for challenges rather than just settling for mediocrity. College students also have the least to lose because generally speaking they are providing solely for themselves or anyone else relying on them and are willing to try whatever it takes to become successful.
Being a senior, I am very sensitive to the pressure of what we are expected to do or become after graduating. Although my parents want the best for me and always support my decisions, they want me to either continue school or intern in order to gain more experience in the professional world. Society puts pressure on seniors and recent graduates to take their $100,000 education and turn it into a high-paying, successful job overnight. Additionally, peers challenge each other to have the best internship, fellowship, or graduate school because there is a stigma that if you do not follow this route, then you will not be as successful. These pressures have forced me to think negatively about being self-employed after graduation; however, there is no better experience than building a company from the ground up! Internships, fellowships, and more schooling cannot teach life and business lessons as well as the trial and error of starting a business. For these reasons, perhaps starting a business out of college is actually a better step for some people than others. Maybe following a passion and committing to it is better than following society’s suggested steps to success!
After working through my thoughts and initial concerns, I want to revisit the question: Why should a college student or recent graduate start a business? Now is the time to start a business because why not, what does one have to lose? There is not a better time in our lives to commit to building a company. College students want to make a difference in the world. We want to follow our dreams and find what motivates us to work. If the service or good requires a change in location then let’s move! If the service or good requires a large investment then we can access resources and networks through our college, community, and social media. The only limit to recent graduates and college students is themselves! Additionally, mentors are more likely to allow recent graduates to ask them for advice because they want to help. Utilizing these opportunities will make students more successful in their start-ups and will allow them to follow their own path.
Alexandra Carr is a senior at Rhodes College. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org