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Always a student

My reflections on being a life-long student, graduating from university and starting a new chapter.

This is a bit of a personal post, deviating from my usual content. I'm writing this as I just graduated from university recently and wanted to take some time to reflect.

I've been a student for most of my life - from kindergarten to university. Now, that has come to an end, at least in the formal sense.

University had an immense impact on me, changing my personality, goals and outlook on life.

High school

I was always a quiet, introverted kid. Had a few friends, but struggled to meet new people and keep conversations going.

I spent most of my childhood and school years in front of a computer, playing video games, watching YouTube videos and later dabbling in programming.

In high school, I had already determined that I wanted to pursue software engineering. During this time, the first entrepreneurial ambitions came up. Unfortunately, fear and lack of information prevented me from acting on them.

I come from a developing country where the education system is not the best. I knew that I wanted to study abroad. I still remember telling my parents that I will not be going to university in my home country, whether I get accepted abroad or not.

I got accepted to a university in Denmark for a bachelor's degree in software engineering. Little did I know, my life was about to take a 180-degree turn.

The start

When I turned 18 and graduated high school, I moved to Denmark. Alone and scared. I had no life skills, no friends or family here.

During my first year, I started to come out of my shell. I made new friends and started going to parties. However, most of my time was still spent in my room, in front of a computer.

I was still a shy and awkward person, but my personality slowly started to shift. I had to make money, to cover rent and food. So I picked up the phone and started calling, looking for manual labour gigs. It was terrifying at first, but I started to get used to it.

I ended up working mostly in warehouses and as a dishwasher for two shifts, before realising it wasn't for me. I simply sucked at physical labour. I was struggling to keep up, slow and clumsy, even got sent home early a few times.

However, my programming skills improved and so did my ability to communicate. In my school years, I started learning web development and got pretty good at it. As a result, I didn't have to study much in my first year of university.

I started applying to front-end developer jobs. Towards the end of my first year, I got hired as a front-end developer at a small startup. It was my first stable job and I worked hard to prove myself.

The end

I worked at the startup for the next two years, moving up to a full-stack developer role and taking on more responsibilities. The company had a lot of flaws, but I'm grateful that they gave me a chance. I learned more in those two years than during my entire university education.

My interest and motivation for university started to decline, seeing how little it was preparing me for the real world. I was also getting tired of the party lifestyle and decided to finally act on my entrepreneurial ambitions.

I was always building small side projects, mostly to practice and learn. In my last year of university, I joined the indie circles on Twitter, where I started to build products and meet like-minded people.

I had some small wins, but nothing sustainable. While revenue was never significant, I improved my skillset and surrounded myself with people better than me. I started distancing myself from my old circle and previous habits.

When the startup employing me went bankrupt, I made a bold decision. I bet on myself and started Refined - a web development agency.

At the same time, I started moving away from the "indie hacker" label, as it felt limiting and no longer aligned with my goals.

This brings us to today. I'm now a university graduate, going into entrepreneurship full-time. While no longer a university student, entrepreneurship is a path of constant learning and growth. I never want to stop learning and improving.

The future

All of my friends and classmates are now looking for jobs or pursuing master's degrees. It feels like I am the only one swimming against the current.

I'm grateful for the people I met on Twitter (that I now talk to in DMs and private groups) - they are my new circle that I can learn from and grow with.

Entrepreneurship can be lonely, stressful and unpredictable. But it also makes me feel the most fulfilled and alive. It gives my life a deeper purpose, aiming for bigger things.

As for the micro level, I reached one of my goals for January - working with the first clients under Refined. In February, the focus is on delivering the first MVPs, launching the Refined website and further building the brand.

I'm excited to start this new chapter of my life, with all the challenges and opportunities it brings.

"The world is nothing but change, our life is only perception." — Marcus Aurelius