Literary Life to Startup Scene: My Journey to the Startup Institute

By Nicki Haylon

imageJust a few short months ago, I was in the midst of my senior spring semester at Roger Williams University (in scenic and historic Bristol, RI!), where I was steadily applying to every job I could find. I was taking the route I was expected to—I had studied Creative Writing for four years, concentrating in literary publishing—by applying to every large and small publishing house out there. During my senior year, I had started a brand new professional literary magazine called Mount Hope, and I thought being a part of the publishing industry was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. At some point, though, I finally came to the realization that it wasn’t so much the industry that was so thrilling for me, but the creation of something I was wholeheartedly passionate about.

The idea of working in startups definitely was not new to me. My dad is a career entrepreneur who has worked for a variety of different startups and early-stage companies for as long as I remember. Some were more successful than others, of course, but his enthusiasm for what he was doing was always the same. I wanted that for myself, and I think that I always subconsciously knew I would end up somewhere in the startup world. After my interview for SIB at the Techstars office in Cambridge, I was hooked: on the program, on the startup world, and on Boston.

imageI had always seen myself ending up in Boston, having loved the city every time I had visited for its history and the people. I think sometimes Bostonians get a bad rep for their attitudes, but I for one feel that they are just intensely passionate about what they want and what they believe. I wanted to be a part of that. Plus, it had been hard growing up as a Red Sox fan in Yankees territory, and I was ready for some relief.

I can honestly say, four weeks into the program, that coming to SIB and being part of the technical marketing track is the best decision I have ever made. I have learned from actual professionals who have worked in startups and larger companies, and the education I’ve received in the past four weeks is more than I could have ever learned in a college classroom. I have turned my love for writing and design into a love for content marketing and brand identity. I have collaborated on some fantastic projects and assignments. I have contributed my own talents to help others through skillshares. I am actively reaching out to potential employers and making connections. I know without a doubt that within the next couple of months I will have the job of my dreams.

I’ve discovered that SIB isn’t just about career training. It’s about personal growth. It’s about taking who you are and making every piece of yourself bigger and better. Never in a million years would I have thought that I could not only move to a city where I knew no one and successfully adapt, but also explore career options I never thought possible. There is no question in my mind that the Startup Institute Boston has given me the in, and the confidence, to succeed here.