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Ky Nam

Ky Nam

Hi! I'm a dreamer, doer, and empathizer. Also chief product & community at LEAN Social. I enjoy writing about productivity, learning, and social issues.

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What I gained from studying 3 university majors and building a startup at the same time?

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studying 3 university majors and building a startup at the same time

In 2022, I reflected heavily on my dream of making a positive impact in the world. My ex-boss at the biggest Vietnam’s corporation asked me to join her newest venture. I received 3 internship offers from 3 big tech companies. And my GPA was top of the class at one of the most competitive political schools in the world.

But none of it mattered.

Some years ago, I went to university with a noble purpose: to make Vietnam a better place. Yet after all the years of hustling, I ended up choosing a different path: to put myself in a more competitive position.

You see, I was a lucky asshole who’s complaining about his fortunate background. And I did not feel happy about it.

I dropped my prestigious internships. Told my boss I’m sorry. I signed up crazily for things I have always wanted to learn: a new language, a new skill, a new view on the world. Instead of majoring in just economics, I chose to major in policy making and computer science. I founded a startup project called LEAN Social, a website with customized study-with-me rooms to foster motivations in how young people study and work.

studying 3 university majors and building a startup at the same time

6 months later, I am almost exhausted. I have worked with more than 100 people and more than 1000 users. I am nowhere near secure, not to mention successful. And I don’t even know if what I’m doing is truly making a positive impact.

I do, however, have some important takeaways from this journey:

1. The power of perseverance:

I learned that success is not handed to anyone on a silver platter. It takes hard work, determination, and a never-give-up attitude to achieve one’s goals. I could have settled with studying just economics, but I wanted more. I could have just won the competition (how my project started) and moved on, but I wanted more. And I never stopped being hungry for more.

2. The importance of balance:

It is essential to balance one;s time and prioritize the things that are important to you. People asked my how I work-study consistently 10-12 hours/day, including weekends. I just tell them that I sleep 7 hours daily and did not have many friends. By setting boundaries, spending time for myself and those I love, I was able to avoid burnout and stay focused on the goals.

3. The impact of giving back:

Whatever you do, the sense of giving back to the community and making a positive impact will take you far. Every single partner, team members, and professors I worked with, I have left a positive mark on their lives. Sometimes you f*ck up, but it’s nice to know that you’re doing this not just for money. This is the recipe for personal fulfillment and a sense of purpose.

By never giving up and always striving to make a difference, I’m trying to prove that anything is possible.

What do you think?

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