I know right I was thinking of wanting to get a selfie with Justin Trudeau or Alex or both! I first met Alex at Shad Waterloo in 2014 as we bonded over our “tallness” and his outgoing personality easily allowed us to stay connected. Over the years, as I learn more about his story, I find his work even more inspiring. Within these past few years Alex has dedicated his time to business and non-profit work. He holds the title of Startup Canada’s 2015 Young Entrepreneur of the Year and is a Loran Scholar at UBC’s Sauder School of Business. However, jaw dropping his achievements are as a nine-teen year old, Alex is someone who is down to earth, helpful, and determined.
Growing up, Alex learned the skills of independence and managing his life from an early age because his mother, who was raising him up on her own, was also going through medical school and residency. Because of their great relationship, Alex was inspired to play a bigger role within his small family and learned to take initiative to help out. For Alex, having a lot of freedom at a young age reaffirmed his abilities to take care of himself but it was also challenging in terms of responsibilities. While, Alex could have sought after a typical childhood, he instead appreciated his specific circumstances that taught him how to prioritize and easily transition into a work-life balance as a university student.
Remaining committed to his goals, especially starting a lot of his entrepreneurial ventures, requires various sacrifices. He mentions times where he wouldn’t be able to hang out with friends or go to a party because he would be in meetings or finishing up work. Especially in an university environment, this is extremely important because there are countless opportunities, so how do we choose what we want to do or how we prioritize our time? Not getting distracted is very important whether it’s for our ultimate goals or for studying which requires attention and patience. However, Alex also highlights the importance of sectioning off time in order to find a healthy balance. Putting away time to reboost and to let your brain rest is crucial to find enough strength to go back into whatever it is you’re doing. For instance, Alex often sections off a day during the weekend where he will watch a movie, hang out with his girlfriend, or take a walk in Vancouver and not being doing academics or school. Everyone has a different way of sectioning off time but he emphasizes the importance of putting both mental and physical health first.
Especially as students we can be so caught up in our extracurriculars and work but you can get things done in a shorter amount of time if you take the time to rest and then zone in all your energy to the work you’re doing when you’re supposed to be doing it. Beyond prioritizing balance, Alex’s message of remaining determined is a great tip for those of us who are stuck or are trying to overcome our various obstacles. For him, he remained true to his dreams and goals and just kept working at it. One step at a time. Not expecting results but working towards them. Whatever it is you have going on in your life, focus on putting one foot in front of the other. Eventually, you’ll reach your destination. It might not have been the journey or path you wanted but you’ll get there if you keep working at it.