Crash course in everything

I’ve often heard that the best way to learn a new language is to immerse your self in an environment where that language is the primary language spoken. Now, I’ve never done that, but working on the startup actually feels comparable to that idea.As we’ve been working away at it, especially this summer, it’s felt like a continuous crash course in everything.

And I mean everything. We’re learning about small business accounting as we set up bank accounts, and figure out what information needs to be tracked where. I’m starting to understand business legalese in order to draft (with a lawyer) a privacy policy, EULA, and share agreements. We’ve had to discover how to do good website development. And, for once, all those random pieces of information we learned as undergrads is turning out to be useful as we create and maintain a database for the site and deal with issues such as asynchronous updates.

It’s been incredibly stressful at times, but also highly rewarding. Every time something works, or we learn something new, makes up for those moments when it feels like everything we don’t know is going to drown us before we even get the business off the ground.

I kind of wish there was a way to turn grad school more into this type of environment. It’d be stressful (but hey, grad school already is) but it’d probably actually result in faster degrees. I think, on one hand, they try to sort of do this with grad school. But often the lessons you need to learn end up coming months and years apart. And there’s something to be said for having to muddle through a bunch of conflicting (and yet not) pieces of information at the same time and having to handle a bunch of tasks that all need your attention right now.

I guess it’s also kind of good that grad school isn’t like this, because I really couldn’t handle two things like this at the same time. I’m already worried about how things will work when I have to start really focusing on my research again. Ah stress, it’s wonderful, except when it isn’t.


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