This post was written by Alex Michaels and published on his behalf by Naveed Iqbal.

"Don't look at the cost, we'll make it work however we can." Words of support from my parents as I looked at an acceptance letter. Such a joyful moment, but one tainted by a tinge of fear and doubt. Was the financial burden on our family worth going to my dream school?

I knew we'd have to take out some serious loans to make it work. "It's an investment in you" they said. By the time the first day of school started we already had a cool $45,000 in student debt together. And much more come graduation day.

Unfortunately, my story is not a unique one. It's one many of us can relate to. Having to answer the question "Will it be worth it?" as an 18 yr. old is an experience few forget. And it's the reason I joined Noether Rudin. To make the answer to that question a resounding YES.

But passion for a problem wasn't the only reason I made the leap.

It was about the impact on people, the love for learning, the amazing people along the way, and the community we have supporting us.

This team puts people first. Period.

The student loan debt crisis is well known, well documented, and talked about all the time. One thing I love about Noether Rudin is that we believe a problem of this magnitude is best solved by finding ways to immediately improve the situation for those directly impacted by it. People.

Yes, we need to find ways to improve the issues within the system so future generations can seek higher education with confidence it will be worth it.

But we still have to pay rent this month. Some of us want to start families, take vacations, retire early. Whatever it is. Student loans shouldn't force us to pause life.

Working with a team that measures success in terms of direct impact is inspiring. We have never regretted asking ourselves how is this making an impact today?

Always be learning.

ABL - it's a mantra that has naturally become a pillar of how we approach our work and is one I've embraced personally. We all love learning and have dedicated ourselves to making it a part of our daily lives, beyond formal academics (though we love that too).

To me, ABL means encouraging curiosity. We ask each other A LOT of questions and don't dismiss things we see as obvious that another may not. More questions means more understanding, for everyone. I'm the only non-coder of our team, so this is especially helpful for me! (If you see me flipping through SWE jargon flashcards please don't judge, lol)

ABL also means creating a safe environment to admit when one of us doesn't know something. This mindset has helped my personal growth as I've transitioned into startup life. I wondered if I knew enough to be successful going into it. It soon became clear: I did not.

There's no way to be 100% prepared for the scenarios we are facing and problems we are trying to solve. Especially now - who would have guessed 2020 was going to be such a shit show? Having learned so much already and knowing how much there is left to learn makes me excited for the future.

Working with amazing people

The opportunity to work with such talented and knowledgeable individuals was too good to pass up. Not only my co-founders, who are extraordinary at what they do, but all the people I knew I'd meet along the way. All the advisors, consultants, freelancers, peers, mentors, and friends. Each with their own set of talents, beliefs, and knowledge.

Meeting and working with new people that have ideas that are different than my own can only help me grow. The world is full of brilliant people from all walks of life. I felt taking this leap would expose me to some of them so I went for it. And it's working! If we've had coffee/LinkedIn chats/brainstorming sessions please know how much I appreciate you.

Hey Columbus, you beautiful. For real.

Pretty cut and dry - the Columbus, OH community is awesome and was the cherry on top for joining Noether Rudin. Though moving from South Florida to the Midwest in the middle of winter was less than thrilling, it made a great icebreaker for meeting new people when I got here. (Everyone loves talking about the weather?)

The amount of encouragement and support we get from the people here is humbling and inspiring. Everyone is willing to extend a helping hand. A community like this is not only amazing for growth, but also for accountability. It reminds us that we should always look for ways to help others.

Let's connect

I'm super excited to continue this journey, so please reach out so we can connect! We can talk about dogs, finance, The Office, airports, whatever you're interested in. Anything but the weather please. Connect with me on LinkedIn

Cheers,

Alex | Business Development