Here’s one of the best quotes from Steve Jobs, one of the biggest innovators of our time: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else´s life.”

As I sat back thinking about what I should write for today, my birthday, this quote came across my screen and I thought that this would be the perfect way to start my birthday reflection. I believe that everything that I have done this year has been my choice and exactly what I wanted to do. I can say with no doubt in my mind that I don’t regret anything from this year because it was everything that I wanted at a point.

Speaking Tour
This year started off on a high for me, coming off from a people’s choice award from the Rocket Pitch competition from the end of last year, Jerome and I decided to have SmallTalk’s first speaking tour. This was my first speaking tour ever and it was an amazing experience, not to mention it was also sponsored by Lyft. I also got to learn from one of the best speakers my age, Jerome, on how he speaks as he does. Getting the opportunity to speak in front of and motivate hundreds of kids was truly a blessing. Thinking back to all of the people that helped me along my journey, it felt especially fulfilling that I got to pay that forward. We also were able to do a workshop with all the students on dealing with the stresses of life and I thought it was really beneficial.

Book Class
Moving on from that, this year I also got the opportunity to take the most innovative class I had ever taken, the book writing class. It was an amazing class, but the best part was getting to learn unconventional lessons from an amazing professor, Eric. The book that I wrote is called “The Art of the Pivot” which was inspired by my story and will be published next semester. Through this experience, I’ve gotten the chance to meet a lot of cool people as well as make friends with fellow student authors.

Study Abroad
Getting to study abroad in Barcelona was also another high point of my year, I studied at the Esade Business School which is in Sant Cugat. My friends and I joked that Sant Cugat was to Barcelona like what Georgetown is to Washington DC. Aside from Barcelona being the most fun city I have ever visited, I think one of the best parts was getting to study entrepreneurship in a new place. I got to mix two of my passions traveling and entrepreneurship. Not to mention I was introduced to one of the coolest professors ever, Professor Ferran. (a separate post is coming soon on this experience)

After my first study abroad experience at Cambridge, I went straight home after while all of my friends traveled to other countries, so I promised myself if I ever got the opportunity to study abroad again that’s what I would do, so I did. After my study abroad experience my friend, Manny, and I decided to explore more of Europe. We went to a couple of cities that I had already been to such as Munich, Germany and Amsterdam, Netherlands, but we also visited a city that was new for us both Brussels, Belgium. This Europe experience was really special not just because in Belgium, I had the best waffles I had ever tasted in my life, but because the World Cup was going on at this time, and most of the countries we visited were playing. (a separate post is coming soon on this experience as well)

Aside from studying abroad and touring Europe, SmallTalk had also gotten into the Startup Hoya Summer Launch Program. I was abroad for most of it so Jerome and I would video chat regularly until my return. When I got back it was really cool having the office space in the WeWork by the White House, going there every day made me feel great and it was just nice having my own desk to store stuff while I worked. Since then Jerome and I have gone down separate paths, he is venturing into professional development for teachers, and I am working on a new tech startup with another partner (new details to emerge soon). I will forever cherish the moments that we did work together and all of the lessons that I learned from him.

As most of you probably already know basketball was my first love and I pivoted away from it to come to Georgetown and follow my new passion for entrepreneurship. Well, this year I got the opportunity to play on the men’s club basketball team at Georgetown and it has been amazing so far. It feels so good to compete again, we’re currently 5-1 and I definitely see us going to nationals so I am very excited about that. Mostly I am just happy that I didn’t have to completely shut the door on my first love to follow my dreams. Shoutout to my teammates, I love you guys, let’s eat!

This has been one interesting year for me when it comes to this topic. Typically I’m not one to talk about my feelings and be this open or vulnerable but I realized that it is much easier for me through my writing. A relationship was something that was not at the forefront of my mind this year but somehow I found myself in three real relationships like situations (all at separate times of course). The first happened so randomly, I honestly didn’t even expect it, it was a friendship that had just evolved into something else. She was and is still one of the most amazing people I have ever met. You ever meet someone great for you and it’s just not the right time for either you or them, well that’s sort of what happened here. I feel like the worst part was that we developed a special friendship and that just kind of disappeared after, but I understood why. I have since moved on, and I don’t know if I ever see a relationship in our future but hopefully one day I’ll get my friend back.

The next situation was the rekindling of an old flame, and this led me to believe that some old flames remain best unlit. Don’t get me wrong she is a great person but sometimes things just aren’t meant to be. Sometimes we get caught up in thoughts of what things could be and ignore what they actually are. We still remain friends and I am truly grateful for that. She is really focused on her career right now and I am really excited to see how far she’ll go. She will always have my support.

The last situation was a very comfortable situation for me for a while. Aside from her being really pretty her drive intrigued me. It was like being around her made me want to do more, it made me want to push my limits, it made me want to be the best me that I could be. It was an unexpected connection that came at a great time. Everything wasn’t perfect but it was nice while it lasted. Despite everything, she has a really good heart and good intentions for the most part. We have since agreed to just be friends but I am just glad for the connection that we created.

I am grateful for all of my experiences mentioned above, they each taught me more about myself than I previously knew before. I don’t regret anything and I will always cherish all of these moments.

Old friends
I haven’t been able to be at home a lot this year but when I did get home for the brief moments that I was able to be I was able to see some of my closest friends. The guys who have seen me go through my transitions and pivots, the guys who have seen me at my highest and lowest points, the guys who haven’t ever changed up on me. These are the people who keep me grounded. We still have our group chat but it always great to go home and see everyone. So shout out to my brothers, Cedric, Julien, Siree, and Brad.

Another shout out to my brother Dezron, he always has my back, so there’s always going to be love there.

New Friends
Getting settled in at a new place is usually not the easiest of tasks when it’s a school it’s even harder because despite the tough adjustment period you still have to focus on your work. Transferring into Georgetown might be one of the most difficult social challenges I have ever faced. It wasn’t just coming into a new place but coming into a new place when you stand out as one of the very few transfers. I loved making new friends but most people around my grade already had their major friend groups. I ended up getting pretty close with another transfer, Mike, who ended being my closest friend on campus. We’re now roommates and he probably knows more about me at this school than anyone else.

I also want to give a shout out to the friend group that brought us in and made us feel at home here at Georgetown, John, Edward, Vikash, Emmanuel, and Ryan.

My first shout out goes to my little sister who started her first year of college this year, she is a big reason that I do a lot of the things that I do. I really just want to be a great example for her and show her that if I could succeed that she could as well.

The next goes out to my mother and my grandmother, two people who are always by my side no matter what, my biggest cheerleaders. I appreciate them so much for this.

One has to go out to my big cousin, Alan, for always being there for me, he is the big brother I always wanted.

And this last one goes out to the relationship between me and my father, a damaged relationship that has improved tremendously this year. Glad that our differences don’t have to keep us estranged or at odds with each other anymore.

Huge shout outs to anyone else in my family that has had an impact on my life this year.

Final Thoughts
As I sit back and reflect on this year, I realized that I have done a lot of pretty cool things, but even better than that I learned so much about myself and about life. My year was full of highs and lows but I wouldn’t change a thing because they all taught me unique lessons that I believe make me a better person today. As I enter into my 22nd year of life I have even more goals and new heights that I want to reach, including publishing my book, starting a podcast, getting my new startup off the ground, making the Forbes 30 under 30 list, and many more. It has been one exciting journey so far, and I’m glad that you all get to join me for the rest of the ride.