Moving forward

24 March 2020
24 Mar 2020
West Lafayette, IN
4 mins

Today, March 24, 2020, is my last day at Hack Club, and last day working on Hack Club Bank. I still have some thinking to do, but in the immediate future, I’m going to be in exploration mode working more full-time on the several side projects I’ve been thinking about recently. If you’re curious about what’s ahead, you can skip to the second section below.

time ≤ today

My conviction and heartfelt belief in the importance of Hack Club’s mission has only gotten stronger since I first joined the community in 2018, and then joined the amazing team in 2019:

The world is increasingly being shaped by the next generation of students. They’re building things with the skills they’re gathering in between pages of Stack Overflow answers and TensorFlow articles; across Slack channels, Discord servers, and Zoom calls; bridging time zones and borders. In the last two weeks especially, I’ve been hopeful to see the world’s collective creative energy being poured into the global COVID-19 pandemic, much of it from students with newfound time away from the confines of the classroom and academic calendar.

That students are at the forefront of this fight is not an anomaly; it’s a herald of the decades ahead.

Hack Club is a special place. I’ve met some of the most interesting friends and inspiring students in the community and on the team, and they’ll continue to inspire me to care about improving how the world learns and builds. Such amazing people deserve a world that cares deeply and with more empathy about how students can shape the world. But after some back and forths, I wasn’t able to find myself at my creative and productive 100% at Hack Club. There were moments of big wins and periods of lull, and I think long term, both Hack Club and I will be able to sprint towards our collective mission better now, apart on paper but aligned in spirit.

I want to thank Theo and Sean from the Hack Club Bank team, who I’ve looked forward to talking with every day we worked together at Hack Club. I’m also grateful for all the times working with Chris, Max, Zach, Mingjie, Christina, Michael, and the rest of the Hack Club team. You all brought the magic.

I’ll still continue to be involved in the Hack Club community as much as I’ve been this last year, and continue to work on side projects and hackathons with the community going forward. But from today, I’m just another Hack Clubber, another student trying to do the maker thing.

time > today

While working at Hack Club, I also spent the last three months visiting some new places and meeting some new people, trying to get new perspectives on life, the problems I care about, and where I might be able to help. Many of these thoughts are still rattling around in my head, but I have some ideas I want to work on, too.

For the next few weeks, I’ll be switching gears to read some more, get back into writing regularly, and work on some of my bigger personal projects. I have big plans this year, pandemic be damned. I want to start a live, online radio show that knows no borders. I want to open up a coworking space for students right here on Purdue University campus that’s a hub for the world’s strongest community of student makers. I want to write a book about all the things I’ve learned about communities, student makers, and the landscape of tools that are growing with them. And I’ve still got a long road ahead.

Longer term, I’m interested in studying how to design and grow better communities that are an engine for students making the coolest things in the world. Over the trip, I met students like me interested in finding communities of other people like us, hacking on ideas and trying to solve problems through some combination of business and creativity. I talked to Jidin from Kerala, India; I had a latte with Jude from Glasgow, Scotland; I’ve chatted with Sam from Alabama, US; and too many high schoolers to count in between. There’s a rising tide of student makers from outside the startup hubs of the world, armed with a cavalcade of tools, but without a place to go. I want to be a part of the solution. And I’ll be thinking about where I can go from here to make sure that, when the dots finally connect, that’s where I’ll find myself.

Cheers, and stay inside – stay safe.


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