(KatherineBomkamp.com) — I had the opportunity to do a Google+ Hangout with a high school entrepreneurship class yesterday, and it felt great to be able to share my experiences with kids who were my age when I started out!
I think out of all the opportunities I get to speak to different groups of people, talking with high schoolers is my favorite. This particular group of students was incredibly bright and very interested in the patent process, I hope I was able to inspire them to pursue their ideas!
I certainly remember what it was like to be in their shoes, all of the pressures and distractions that are the high school experience, and how easy it is to be wrapped up in your own little world, instead of thinking differently and coming up with out-of-the-box ideas, simply because your entire life revolves around high school.
One of my biggest challenges has always been my age, especially when you’re 16 and trying to get an idea accepted (or at least known) by the medical community. It’s not easy pursuing business opportunities at a young age, but there are so many lessons outside of the classroom you will learn. You learn to be assertive; no one is going to come to you, you have to actively seek out the people who can help and mentor you. I remember spending weeks calling prosthetic companies, and constantly being told I had no idea what I was talking about. It only took one person to believe in me and want to help, and from there I had the confidence to approach other experts in the field.
You’re told no constantly, and at a young age, rejection isn’t an easy thing to deal with. Learning to handle rejection and picking myself back up and getting right back to work was such a valuable lesson. I learned to believe in myself and rely on what I knew, and that became the very strong foundation for my work that I continue to build on today. I still get told no today, but I know that was just not a road I was supposed to go down, and that something better will undoubtedly come along.
So I didn’t go to prom, didn’t date, and was always labeled as the nerd, but I wouldn’t change my high school experience for anything. I left high school with the confidence to pursue my ideas, the ability to communicate, delegate, manage my time, and build a KILLER science fair display. And I hope I was able to show the high schoolers that life is truly bigger then… high school.