Zachary Niemiec is currently pursuing his MBA from the Johnson & Wales University School of Online & Continuing Education. Doubt almost prevented him from entering grad school—here’s how fear, Buzzfeed, and Reading Rainbow spurred him to chase opportunity.
Fear as a Motivating Force
I am usually a very confident person—some may even say overconfident. (I prefer job/task enthusiast.) You might say I’m the type of person who hates to take “no” for an answer and wants the logic behind why it was given. I am not afraid to fight the good fight, and I honestly believe I can achieve anything I want if I put my mind to it.
However after receiving my bachelor’s degree, I began to doubt myself. And the moment you let doubt in, it becomes increasingly harder to get rid of it. We all are afraid to fail. But as a recent graduate who knew that I had to go to work at some point, I was particularly afraid that I would not live my dreams or that I would fail at them. However, this fear is what led me to do a little career assessment.
Inspiration Via Buzzfeed
This may sound ridiculous, but a Buzzfeed quiz laid the groundwork for my decision to pursue grad school. Buzzfeed served up the following advice based on my answers:
Let’s face it, you excel with structure, and college wasn’t even challenging enough for your brilliant mind. Set your intellect to work in grad school, where you can stimulate your brain with a myriad of new ideas. Law, medicine, literature, business—the world is your academic oyster. Dive in!
Confidence, Reading Rainbow Style
This was exactly how I felt about college. I started in business, and while in undergrad I fell in love with student affairs. I love social-media marketing and campaign development, and I have always wanted to teach at some point. Do I have too many dreams? Did I really let Buzzfeed convince me I should go to grad school? Then, I remembered the Reading Rainbow theme song. The answer had been right in front of me since I was a kid: We can go twice as high. We can go anywhere!
Suddenly, my doubt vanished and I knew that I could—and would—go far. I just needed to stop being indecisive and aggressively chase after opportunities. I still don’t know exactly what that will look like. I’m focusing now on furthering my education and making amazing friends and connections along the way. Just because we are earning our degrees online does not mean this can’t happen.
You, too, can go forth and chase opportunity. You can be anything and go anywhere. You are never alone and can always grow. I am currently working towards my MBA and have chosen to grow with Johnson & Wales University.