• UBC eProjects

Stephanie is a first-generation college student, born and raised in the Dominican Republic. Growing up, she was the youngest in all her classes graduating from high school at the early age of 14! Although this may seem like an advantage, it actually led to some of the hardest challenges she has faced in her life. Most of her high school classmates were 3-4 years older than her, which represented a mindset gap. She suffered from bullying for most of her high school experience. Despite the difficulties, these years taught her invaluable lessons on how to be confident in her own skin, how to be a strong woman, how to always believe in her abilities and to never let anyone destroy her dreams.

She came to the United States 5 years ago because she had an interest in accounting and wanted to attend a good college. She applied to 6 universities and got rejected from all of them. She believes the reason why she got rejected was because she didn't speak English at the time. She looked at this failure as an opportunity to put in the effort to learn English by going to public libraries daily to teach herself English. This paid off as the next year she got admitted to her dream school!

However, getting into school was just the beginning of her journey. As she went through university, she began taking the time to do research and apply to her dream companies only to once again face rejection. History repeated itself as she persevered and finally got admitted to an amazing job.

“If there is something that I learned about rejection, it’s that from 1,000 doors that close, there will be 1 that will open. You only need 1 yes to change your life.”

Once at her new job, she soon realized that this was not enough to fulfill her. She discovered that her true passion was helping others develop their potential. This is how Max Up was born: a startup built to maximize people’s potential. Starting her own company wasn’t always a smooth ride. In the early stages, she received a lot of negative comments from people who she thought were going to support her. She chose not to let those things become an obstacle.

“You are the owner of your destiny and you get to write your own story. Start today and don't give up. Things will get harder as you progress, but that will only help you develop into a better you.”

When asked for any advice she has for students who are hoping to get good internships in these unprecedented times she responded with “Check out Max Up!”. They’ve created a spreadsheet with more than 250 recruiters, 50+ job posting, recruiting timelines per industry and much more. There is a misconception with the pandemic: companies are still hiring. Yes, they are doing it on a smaller scale, but they are still hiring! So keep connecting with those individuals on LinkedIn, attend virtual career fairs and conferences, and develop your personal brand by educating yourself with the workshops being offered by organizations on LinkedIn!

“Don't let rejection or failures define you. What defines you is who you are and what you stand for. This will help you in any area of your career, whether it is when applying for a job, or connecting with others.”

Has quarantine been causing you to feel more restless, stressed, or anxious? Are you looking for tips to help with stress from school, work, and your personal life? Are you in a slump and looking for ways to climb out? UBC eProjects is having another virtual event where we ask professionals and CEOs about their struggles with mental health and striking a healthy work-life balance. It’s important to take care of ourselves even when we feel like all we want to do is push forward, so make sure to check out our event as well as the following tips for tips on how to be the healthiest you!

With this article, we do not intend to belittle or minimize the real battles with mental health that affect many people daily and are simply aiming to provide some tips to promote a healthier mindset for students during these difficult times. At the bottom of this blog post, we will provide links that may be helpful to those who are struggling with mental health as well as counseling services that are covered by the UBC Alma Mater Society.

1. Take a day off and spend time doing things you enjoy beyond social media

Everyone seems to display a perfect life on Instagram with their stories/posts, but we get it - real life isn’t nearly the same. It can get overwhelming sometimes, so get off your screens and go try something new! It could be anything from drawing, painting to playing board games! Always remember - your only friend is NOT your phone.

2. Focus on you instead of constantly painting a spitting image of yourself against others

It’s your race and YOUR life - not anyone else’s. Once you internalize the idea that it’s you against the version of you yesterday, you’ll feel a lot better doing the things you love. It’s easier said than done - but practice makes perfect right? Slow and steady beats the fast and restless ;)

3. Journalling

How many of you have experienced overthinking or spiraling? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. A Lot of us have way too many thoughts every day and it’s completely normal. One way that could help you unload by yourself is journalling - a method where you unbottle all your thoughts onto paper. This is perfect because there’s no judgment here - no disapproval and no walking on eggshells. It’s all you!

4. Exercise

Yes, you’ve probably heard this one over and over again but it honestly works! Research shows that working out releases hormones that reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, and more! So go work those glutes out at the gym (perhaps not at the moment!) or at home.

5. Reach out to your friends and family

You’re not in this alone - you’ve got a whole support system of your friends and family who will always be there for you! Make sure you reach out when you need to, especially when you feel extremely low. It’s important that you acknowledge that they’re there for you even when you don’t want to ask for help - it’s not petty, it’s crucial!

6. Meditate

This one is a cliche - and the number one excuse people use is “I don’t have time for it” - but sitting in silence while listening to some soothing music/music of your choice is also meditation. A few moments every day where you recollect and center yourself in the midst of all the chaos. Try it, then thank us later!

7. Make an effort to eat healthy

When you take out the time to really consider what you feed your body, you’ll come to realize that eating healthy is extremely vital to your functioning and mental health! Take the time to cook for yourself - even if it’s just a side dish to start with. You’ll become more conscious and it never hurts to experiment ;)

8. Indulge in nature walks

Research has shown that spending time in some greenery every day even if it’s just for 10-15 minutes can positively affect your mental wellbeing, so go take that walk you’ve been putting off and find yourself in awe of what nature has to offer you :)

Reminder that if you are struggling with mental health problems that are not so easily alleviated or solved, please check out the links below for resources on the topic:

UBC Counselling:



Ever find it daunting to talk to industry professionals and entrepreneurs? You’re not alone - we get that it isn’t easy to speak directly to highly qualified personnels you barely know, so we’ve started #spotLITE Blogs, where on a biweekly basis, we interview an entrepreneur about their journey and how they’ve dealt with all struggles they’ve had. Let us know of any questions you’d like us to ask just so that we can help you make the most out of these!

Written and hosted by Sara A., an incoming second-year Sauder Student

Hey Ocean!! I’m Sara - okay so let’s start with the basics!! Tell me about yourself and how you got started :)

For sure! Hi I’m Ocean and I’m currently a senior at USC. In a nutshell, when I was 8 years old, I googled how to make money online and created my first Paypal when I was 6 years old. By the time I was 8, I was making 20$ every other week through my own website through something called affiliate marketing. I used to also write articles online about gaming tutorials, which was something I really enjoyed. Fast forward a few years, when I was 14 years old, I created my own LLC. When I graduated high school, my youtube channel had about 65,000 subscribers and 5 million views! But at the time I wanted to focus on college so I shut it down!! I also cofounded a clothing company called Geistwear which was a passion project for me! And as of December 2019, I founded my own marketing agency called Kaivent Media.

You gotta do what you gotta do!

That is extremely impressive. You named a few companies you started. Do you want to tell us a little bit about them and the inspiration behind?

Yes definitely! I created my own gaming channel because I genuinely enjoyed playing video games - when I was around 3 or 4 years old, my dad got me into it. Since the start, I’ve been building that acumen of making money, so since I was really good at certain gaming videos, I monetized them and I knew I loved sharing my knowledge with an audience. I created Geistwear in 2018 when I was in 2018, while interning abroad in Switzerland. It was an extremely spontaneous decision and I just hit up my cofounder who was in Wisconsin to start something new. It was a clothing brand and we both had a mutual problem that we just didn’t like what we got at the store, it was too much like we had to fit into the cookie cutter shape. We’re both women of color and we had definitely thought about this idea a lot before delving into it. And my third startup, Kaivent Media that I just recently started is a work in progress - I’ve currently got 2 clients (one closed yesterday!), but the reasoning behind this was being able to pay for rent on my own during college. So it was more of a financial security type of thing. But honestly, I love what I do!

No one was going to hold my hand.

How have you dealt with rejection?

When I was in my freshman year, I had 0 internships, and this really made me feel like a failure. I was really bummed after that, maybe because I built an acumen in the business world having started many ventures at a young age. So that year I went back to Hawaii, my home town and worked in a shaved ice shop that paid 8$ an hour. That’s when it hit me - College was a different game. No one was going to hold my hand. So that’s when I made my own personal website through github and built up my portfolio. And when I got back I actually did end up getting an internship. So the moral was to take your own initiative and keep pushing!

College was a different game.

Any advice for students who want to start up something on their own?

I’m actually working on a blog launch and sending out the free pdf very soon about this exactly! But my advice would essentially be to follow online business models that are already working. The reason I would suggest looking into online businesses is just because there’s barely any upfront cost and you can definitely get started remotely!

Do you think finding something on your own is better than confounding? Was it daunting?

It really depends on how you work with people. For me when starting Geistwear, having a cofounder was amazing because of the financial security. We were able to split the costs evenly and pooled all our internship money to make it work - that helped front the startup costs. However, we did separate for a while because she was an architecture student who was extremely busy which created a lot of tension. This was really sad just because we were really close friends and tying it to a business really tested it. However, we’ve worked through it and are back and bigger than ever! But honestly, I think it depends on the person and how they work with different people. How did you find the resources to start on your own?

What are some mistakes you made along the way that could’ve been avoided?

Haha that’s a good question. For me I think it’s that in business, you don’t need to make everything formal. When we founded the LLC in California, they took $800 away in taxes. It felt really bad because it was like everything that we earned was stripped away from us. So i think the big thing would be you don’t need to make EVERYTHING legal haha!

Using all of your internship money was a risky move. How were you so confident that the business was going to work?

I think at the time we were quite naive to be honest haha! We just got really lucky I think. Because Geistwear was an apparel brand I think a lot of people did end up buying it and we made around 1000$ in revenue. So I think the biggest thing was to be as resourceful as possible and make it happen. You gotta do what you gotta do!

Honestly, I love what I do!

How did you handle adversity and doubt?

That’s a big one. I’ve had people come up to me and say that’s “cringe” but you have to realize not everyone will have the same mindset. But there’s this phrase, “celebrate the process”, and I really urge everyone to do that, because every struggle you go through makes it all the worthwhile. Every barrier you conquer makes the successes all the better.

Thank you so much for taking the time to be here!

Make sure you connect with Ocean on her linkedin! And below are some links you guys can check out to keep up with Ocean's top tips! She recently posted 7 start up ideas on her blog, make sure you check it out on her blog!

  • Kaivent Media (Digital Marketing Agency) - link

  • Geistwear (E-commerce Brand) - link

  • Ocean Morgan (Blog) - link

  • Ocean Maria (Vlog/YouTube) - link

Thank you so much for reading! We really hoped you gained something from Ocean's wealth of experience and her best advice! We wish her the best for Kaivent Media and Geistwear! Stay tuned for our next blog :)

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