A collaboration space full of energy and buzzing innovation, the newly renovated Hatchery at Emory Point celebrated its grand opening by hosting the Siperstein Challenge at the new space. The Hatchery is a student center-like structure built to foster meaningful conversation and collaboration between students regarding innovative projects at Emory University. After a short journey to Emory Point in the rain, I walked in through the sliding glass doors of the Hatchery with bubbling anticipation. Right away, I could feel the bumbling energy of the Hatchery and the enthusiasm of its founders. The soft aroma of the catered appetizers and warm smiles of the staff greeted me as I was handed a leatherbound black folder the moment I walked in. As I excitedly filmed the new environment, I heard the founder, Dr. Shannon Clute, for the first time. His distant words of “Don’t post on social media yet!” caught me off guard, but I soon realized based on his demeanor that his spirit was representative of the light-hearted mission of the Hatchery. His responses to my questions about the Hatchery showed his passion in shaping the student experience and providing students the bridge to pursuing their own dreams. Dr. Clute emphasized The Hatchery’s accessibility and connection to innovation on all forms, including social impact. The whole space was well decorated, playfully furnished with swings to the right, a maker studio in the middle, and small collaboration rooms to the left. In front of it all, was the chestnut brown, wood paneled presenter stage, with a huge screen that said: “The Possibilities are Endless” — a space made for creative collaborations, sharing of knowledge, and a start button to the game of innovation.
Despite the vast and colorful area adorned with quirky furniture and creative spaces, the people of The Hatchery still shone. After a friendly conversation with Dr. Clute, I was introduced to smiling cameramen, fellow students, and other faculty representing the Siperstein Challenge. As I awkwardly fumbled around the space holding plates of artisanal cheeses and trendy appetizers, there was still a sense of comfort and alliance between everyone present. Among the people we met was Anthony DeNino, the founder and president of CORe — Creating Our Reality, Inc. His speech, the keynote lecture for the event, addressed the motivations necessary to pursue entrepreneurship through the Siperstein Challenge, and he spoke about what it truly took to make feasible changes through entrepreneurship. While listening to fascinating examples of socially impactful startups about soap and alarming facts about career satisfaction, I was left with my own questions about entrepreneurship and career success.
The main question I was left with regarded the balance between success and satisfaction. Should we pursue financial success or our personal passions? Is the sacrifice of what we love worth it in order to redeem a shiney title? He provided a daunting statistic: 85% of people all over the world hated their jobs. When I compared this proportion to the people in the room, I could not help but put myself and those around me into the position of the “miserable” and the “lucky”. I could feel my palms grow damp as the thought settled in my mind; in four years, would I be doing what I love and living comfortably too? Could that perfect balance ever be achievable? As students, we are pushed to constantly think of the future. While there is slight leeway regarding what truly defines success, due to the stresses of modern life, many of us associate success with money, or salary. Realistically, this can lead to sacrifices in passion and the pursuit of the hobbies that bring us joy. However, DeNino’s words allowed me to broaden my perspective. Despite the looming fear of making cutoffs, with action and an entrepreneurial spirit, there is always the possibility of making the “right” decision best for me.
“Get excited for your workload. Get it done.” This was how Anthony DeNino filtered the late night papers, three hour long tests, and never ending problem sets college students typically receive from their numerous academic obligations. In my case, having memorized over 200 Chinese characters in the past week and recapped all of consumer theory for my Chinese class and Microeconomics class respectively, I couldn’t help but feel burnt out and let the inner couch potato settle in two days before my two midterms. His words provided me with momentum in the last stretch of this race to propel me towards the finish line. Such advice not only relates to career success, it spills over into other areas of life as well.
We have all been there. The perfectly-made study schedule. The most well thought out idea. The planned out hangout time. However, we must ask ourselves, when did we actually carry it out? Often, we let other things get in the way — our emotions, our obligations, other people. I felt that his speech and the emphasis on taking action and finding that balance left me with a clearer image of the purpose of the space. While the Hatchery is simply a location, it is a physical symbol that stands for taking action and pursuing what seems unachievable. The official message of the Hatchery states that it will “empower students to engage in creativity, purposeful play and innovation as preparation for engaged, global citizenship that addresses the world’s big challenges.” With this message in mind as well as an active heart, I feel that there can be less worry about sacrificing crucial aspects for overall happiness and career success.
The emotions as I felt as I left the Hatchery could be compared to the feeling of a child leaving an amusement park. As I explored the creative spaces and saw the intricate designs combined with areas for painting, legos, and board games, I could not help but imagine the possibilities available to us. On the cold and empty bus ride back,I scrutinized my inability to take action on my various dreams and passions and felt motivated by the presence of such an open creative space. In my opinion, The Hatchery’s ability to catalyze this self reflection and inner discussion shows the early workings of the space’s purpose, to encourage ourselves to find our own purpose and take action to fulfill that purpose. The“Think” and “Play” banners within the Hatchery could not be any more accurate. Maybe it was time for me to stop my hesitation and begin truly thinking and playing in life.
Written By: May Zhou and Yifei Gao | IQ Associates