Update: I'm Halfway Through Competition Season + Still Alive!
Wow ya'll ~ life has been a whirlwind of (both über exciting and really, really tiring) stuff over the last few weeks! And I'm super thankful for all of it. Where do I even start?
First, in March, I was notified of my acceptance into the YP4 (Young People For) 2017 cohort where I will be navigating the intersection between technology, creativity, and justice. And on July 24th, I will be off to PHILLY for the first time ever to get trained as a better advocate for justice. I'm so, so excited and thankful for this opportunity to learn, and see, and build with people who want to change the world. I can't wait to share what I'm working on too. But I'm even more excited because this is my FIRST fellowship EVER!
Okay, what else. So the last time ya'll read my blog, you saw that I went out on a limb by first moving on from Roomswap and then phasing into my second startup, BLOOM. Well, I can't speak entirely too soon, but I'd like to think that this risk has paid off immensely. My teammate Ryan and I have been working our butts off on BLOOM since October. Right now, it's competition/funding season and we're finally seeing the fruits of our blood, sweat, and tears actually come to life.
First, we got accepted into OU's Innovation Fund, where we got received over $1,000 to test and validate BLOOM. Next, we got accepted into OU's Summer Launch Pad accelerator, where we will receive an abundance of incubator-style mentoring AND $10,000 in cash. Lastly, we made it to the state-wide Love's Entrepreneurs Cup competition where last Thursday we beat out two more teams during our oral presentation and made it to the top 6. This week, we find out our status as top 3.
Although it may sound like much of this success has suddenly showered down on team BLOOM (and myself, in my personal life), it has truly taken 5 months of pivots, 80 pages of business plan writing, the juggling of both school and work, restless nights, tons of advice from our incredible mentors, twitching eyelids (seriously lol), and a few times of us bickering like hell because, well, we hadn't slept properly in days. Last month, we had to prepare for all of these opportunities, and agreed that, on top of other outside-of-BLOOM "life" duties, it was the hardest we'd ever worked in our lives.
I'm sharing all of this with you not because I'm a huge bragger (okay, maybe just a little..) but because when I first thought about post-grad life, I was pretty afraid. I had absolutely no idea what this shift in my life would look like. And although my parents keep pressuring me to go back to school (thanks mom and dad, it's only been 3 months!) I feel really proud of what my life is looking like these days. The last time I wrote on my blog, I could hardly imagine a life without Roomswap either. But I guess I've decided that I don't have to live a life without Roomswap; it's very much still present in my life. The lessons and the experiences still impact me today. And I still carry my Roomswap memories with me just like all of the new, upcoming experiences that I hope to carry with me too.
I guess that's how life works sometimes; the good stuff - you hold onto it tight. The hard stuff? You learn, and you grow, and continue living and believing in a brighter future. I know I did, and I know I always will.
~ Carey J. Flack