Every Week Counts: The Bloom Launchpad Experience
Some units change your semester; others transform your life.
Bloom Launchpad was undeniably the latter for me.
This semester, I was accepted into Bloom Launchpad - unaware that I had just signed up for a demanding twelve-week immersion into the world of entrepreneurship. Each week introduced a fresh idea pivotal to mastering this field - sounds like the highlight of the course, right? Wrong. The real reward was found in the weekly challenge - standing in front of peers and mentors to answer one simple, yet daunting question:
It was this weekly routine that transformed Bloom Launchpad from your typical university experience into a catalyst for personal action. Had we been told at the start of the course “You will have a final presentation worth 100% of the unit”, I doubt anything as impressive would have been done.
And impressive things were created:
- An AI-powered quizzing app for UWA units
- A science-based wellness newsletter
- A new university club focused on empowering women in IT
Each Monday, I stood before a group of twenty aspiring entrepreneurs, recounting my achievements from the previous week. Some weeks I’d boast - “Twenty more students signed up!” However, during slower weeks, our astute mentors, Jasmin and Jeroen, could easily spot any exaggerations. They had the uncanny ability to see through bullshit. In those moments, admitting to a lack of progress was embarrassing. But this accountability was a driving force. It kept me honest and motivated, pushing me to achieve more.
Before Bloom, I'd often chase after an idea, blindsided by my own enthusiasm. The freedom to create, coupled with a lack of direction, often led me down paths with no real impact. Through the challenges at Bloom, I learned the art of pivoting, the importance of listening to genuine feedback, and most crucially, the essence of serving my target audience. Now, with a clear direction and purpose, I'm not just chasing ideas; I'm making meaningful change.
Throughout the semester at Bloom, we delved into the many aspects of being an entrepreneur, from conducting customer interviews to formulating precise problem statements. However, amidst all this learning, two lessons stood out. Surprisingly, these weren't directly related to entrepreneurship, but these two lessons have profoundly shaped my perspective.
Learning from Jasmin
From Jasmin, I grasped the value of ownership: the pride and responsibility in saying, “I created this. It's my work.” It might sound self-centered, but it emphasises personal accountability. When you achieve, you can take pride in your accomplishment. And when things don't go as planned, it's on you to learn and grow.
A vivid memory I have is of Jasmin discouraging the use of We. It wasn’t a dismissal of teamwork or an invitation to inflate one's ego. Instead, when you were behind an action or idea, it was about acknowledging and owning your role. Saying “I made this” is not just about taking credit; it's also about owning the responsibility for the results, whether they're positive or negative. Such a subtle change in wording might seem minor, but its impact is deep. Now, I take pride in what I do.
Insights from Jeroen
Before Bloom, I didn’t realise how much impact a mentor could have. Having someone guide you, someone who's traversed the same path, is invaluable. They see beyond the daily tasks and help focus on bigger, more meaningful goals.
Jeroen was that person for me. At the start of my journey with Bloom, I was captivated by an idea I believed was revolutionary: a platform that would allow teachers to leverage AI-generated quizzes to understand each of their student's needs. I saw its potential to reshape education. However, reality was bleak: despite all my efforts, I had no users. Deep down, I knew that I wasn’t on the right path but I was stubbornly set on my ways.
Jeroen cut through my enthusiasm with clear insight: You need to focus on the students. Those simple words redirected my entire approach, and I rebuilt the entire platform with students at the center.
To this date, close to 200 students have signed up to prepare for their exams. Over 4000 questions have been answered, giving personalised feedback into how the student can improve.
I have found it very useful in revising for my exams this semester. It gives good insights into how I should set out my answers, even when I have gotten them correct, and also explains how to make better responses.
UWAQuiz provides a deeper understanding of the learning content. It has helped me understand lecture content better, compared to other resources I've used when preparing for exams.
In Bloom, we weren’t told about our potential; we showed it to ourselves. We didn’t just learn about the cool things that we could do; we lived it, pushing past our limits and what was previously thought absurd. Through hard work and perseverance, we learnt more about ourselves and our limits (or lack thereof).
Jasmin and Jeroen didn’t just teach; they inspired. They didn’t only fill our heads with impressive methadologies and theories - instead, they pushed us to act, to try and to believe in ourselves. And because of that, I came out of Bloom not only with newfound knowledge, but with a fierce passion to keep trying and excel.
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