Graduation Time

Closing the books on College. Check out my experience and where my journey is headed!

Posted May 5,2019 in Education.

Brady Pugliese
5149 Followers 88 Views

Well... That was definitely one for the books.  I have always heard that senior year was the hardest, but actually going through it was another story.  It's not even that the classes were a challenge, just the mental barrier of being so close guaranteed procrastination and lack of effort.

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Senioritis is most definitely a real thing as I spent far too much of my time this last semester complaining instead of making the advancements I'd imagined!  I had big plans for the semester, but now that the end is near, there is a slight feeling of disappointment in the process.

As I look back, I may not have done everything I expected, but I most certainly made some great steps in the right direction.  Either way, I have been waiting for graduation day for far too long.  Although I don't know exactly where I'm going, I have a pretty good idea of the path I'm going to take!

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Today I want to take you through my final semester of university.  With graduation just a week away, I want to take this time to reflect, allowing myself to see the value of all of the hard work from this year!  With a double major in Entrepreneurship and Finance, I have given myself a wide opportunity for an open future of work. For the summer, I'll be staying busy with my business, caddying at the Naperville Country Club, and taking a position at Chicago Crypto Capital. (previous intern).

Of course, I also want to use this time to celebrate the new chapter of my life!  These last four years have been a mental test and a break is well deserved. I will most definitely be hitting the links and the skate park as much as possible while also spending quilty time with family and friends that haven't had my full attention. And of course, traveling as far as my funds will allow me with a few trips already planned. This is all in preparation for the big move in August where I'll be heading to Arizona for a fresh start in the warm weather.

My objective for the semester was to get my startup, CryptoLookout, up and running for a big start after college.  Unfortunately, I was very over-optimistic on my abilities and the time frame needed for such a project!  I spent more time adding to my work plate than actually getting things done.  This lead to a cluster of work in progress parts that all have great bases, but all need time.  I've realized that patience is very important, but can also sometimes collide with laziness. While the business is not where I wanted it to be, I have made large strides from where I started just seven months back.


Early on in the semester, one of my professors (Jackson) shared a video with our Senior Capsim class from Simon Sinek.  The video was How Great Leaders Inspire Action which explains the golden circle and how to live a life with purpose.  Basically, breaking down your individual why to fully understand what you want to do in this world! I took this information very seriously as I see the unhappiness in far too many eyes. With the "real world" approaching, I feel that I focused this semester on questioning what I was doing daily in order to discover who I really am and Why.  This semester was definitely eye-opening to the future I want to live and came with many experiences to remember.

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The start of the semester began with a bang as I was coming off of back to back vacations from Arizona to New York.  Both trips were well spent recovering from my 18 credit fall semester while also making connections in the Fintech space.  We started class on the 14th of January, and I'm not sure if I just had the travel bug or if senioritis kicked in early, but I made an impulsive decision to go out to California for the NiTROn Confrence in San Fransico.  For this being my first time in the city, my bank account was definitely not prepared, but I still made the most out of the trip!


The conference was hosted by the Tron Foundation to present out on the rapidly changing world with the blockchain technology and the future of a fully decentralized internet.  With the Tron network only being live since May 31st, 2018, the user and developer growth has been astonishing.  The summit provided many insights and pushed me to start the creation of my own token on the network.  This is still a work in progress as we look to expand the CryptoLookout community to give everyone the ability to learn, earn, and #lookout for the future of cryptocurrencies and the innovation of our monetary policy through digital assets with the power of blockchain technology.


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After returning from San Franciso, the semester seemed to kick into gear quickly as I was excited for the courses.  Check out my intro blog on the semester to see the class plan.  While I learned a lot from inside the classroom on sales, finance, and marketing, a big part of my schedule was actually outside the classroom as the best way to learn entrepreneurship, in my eyes, is with real-world experiences.

As this will be my last time in the windy city for some time, I made sure to see the beautiful place as much as possible.  This usually consisted of my weekly train commute Wednesday morning for a day in the office at CCC out of the CBOE.  I've worked closely with the team as I interned with them last summer and now, they are also assisting with my startup as an acting advisor/investor.  The best part about the city is that there is always something going on! I attended multiple events in the Chicagoland area with subjects including cryptocurrency, blockchain technology, leadership,  and motivation.

To start, Beaxy exchange hosted their project launch party at the Bottled Blond in Chicago.  This is one of the projects that I worked closely with at CCC over the summer.  It was a great time seeing everyone from the team and getting to meet many individuals that are currently involved in the cryptocurrency space.  It was also a great feeling when the CEO, Artak Hamazaspyan, approached me for a conversation since the last time seeing him was at the Voice of Blockchain back in August where I got an early interview on the new exchange!


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Just a few weeks later, the Chicago Blockchain Center hosted Anthony Pompliano and Bobby Cho, two early and active industry movers, to discuss institutional asset management and the future of cryptocurrency.  I was even able to ask Mr. Pompoliano a question during the QA on his take of how Gresham's law is playing out with digital assets.  Pomp's is very smooth with his words of education and understands the impact of this technology far greater than most.  After the presentation, I spent some time networking with others in the space mainly getting a feel for what everyone was working on and testing my capabilities to explain some complex content with open ears on the other end.  I truly believe that no one in this space is an expert and that we are still learning together, so events like these always help me turn new ideas!

Now, this semester seemed to be moving in a hurry as I was active in the classroom, grinding on my business plan, and busy on the weekends.  A big deliverable of mine was to host an event on campus to spread awareness on cryptocurrencies and tell what CryptoLookout is all about.  Unfortunately, I miscalculated the planning and budget for everything needed to host the event as it was a learn as you go experience that came with many layers of discovery.  My team and I ended up having booking issues with the school's auditorium, expenses added up much quicker than expected for food and materials, and I did not take into consideration other's schedules when searching for speakers.  All said and done, we had to cancel the event about three weeks before, which was a huge disappointment.  At the end of the day, it was not a complete failure as I now have a completed guide for an event to host in the future and over 200 new connections on LinkedIn with some relation to cryptocurrencies, technology, or education as the search for speakers was not taken lightly.

It seemed that before I knew it, Spring Break was here.  With the semester stress hitting hard, I knew I needed to take a break from the work routine.  A few friends and I made a spur of the moment decision and next thing you know we were on the road to Colorado.  The car ride was much further than any of us expected, but what made it all worth it was that we just received our XYO geo-mining kit just a day before.  When we finally arrived, we made sure to make the most of our time as we went on a hike, snowboarding, and even yoga with goats. The entire trip was an experience to remember as I had a great time with even better people!

 

After returning, the home stretch for the final walk was in sight.  While the senior shakes were in full effect, the course workload started to pick up which meant go time.  I've spent the final weeks of the semester finishing up class work and preparing for post-graduation! For the most part, expanding my knowledge and gaining an understanding of the global concepts on how my areas of study apply to the real world.

Just a few weeks back, I was able to attend the initial screening of the Trust Machine documentary. The story of blockchain, directed by Alex Winter, which goes over the history of the last ten years of the decentralized era and beyond to showcase the future of our current system and the movement towards a world of peer-to-peer transacting.  The film was put together perfectly, and opened up my eyes to what I could be able to do with the information that is provided in this world!


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The following week was very important for me as I had my first open pitch to the innovation masterminds group that meets once a month. Anothony Nizzo is the director and runs the group of well-rounded business individuals all with deep backgrounds with a range of fortune 500 companies as well as early startups and entrepreneurs themselves.  I have been in the group since the start back in January and I am by far the least qualified in the group.  Initially, I was nervous when I was asked to present, but overall I was very excited to be able to share my studies and company future.  The individuals provided some great feedback and really tested my knowledge of the cryptocurrency and blockchain space.  I actually amazed myself on how much I was able to recall and present out from my wide range of studies.  When listening to the questions, I would be developing my counters to their arguments as if the information was being read back to me!  The discussion went extremely well and it was definitely a sense of accomplishment hearing the group's words on my work.

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To close off the semester and my college chapter, I was very fortunate enough to attend a massive show at the United Center called Success Resources America which included big-time business executives and motivational influencers including Gary Vaynerchuk, Kevin O'Leary, Tony Robbins, and many others.  This all-day event was full of this form of energy that filled the air with more information than a mind could absorb.  The number of business people with different types of backgrounds all in the stadium with a different purpose really made an impact on me.  No matter what your purpose is in this life, make sure you do the things you love with those you enjoy spending your time, as time is your most valuable asset!


Find your Why, Chase your Passion!

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