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Student Life

Postgrad: Carlin Gettliffe ’09 Pt. 6

Born and raised in Boulder, CO., Carlin moved to Rochester, NY after high school to attend school at the University of Rochester. Since graduating in May 2009, Carlin has continued to pursue his love for traveling while co-founding a technology business with two other Rochester alums.

By Carlin Gettliffe

It will be a while before I’m able to assess the full impact of my time at the University of Rochester on the rest of my life. Some things, however, are pretty clear.  Seeing the world as full of entrepreneurial possibilities has become integral to how I view things, and that’s not likely to change. Entrepreneurship, in my understanding, is about far more than business. It’s about taking ideas and increasing their value by putting them into action. It’s about exploring new possibilities by working with, rather than ignoring, established structures. There are several keys to this process. One is knowledge; about how the world works, what things are worth changing, and how to go about changing them. Another is a bias toward action; a tendency to say “let’s start now.”  The last one is imagination.

The University of Rochester is remarkable in its willingness to entertain “crazy new ideas” while simultaneously making it inescapably clear that you are ultimately responsible for where you go and what you create. This goes for academics as well as student life. After all, someone had to be the one to originally say “hey, let’s give students complete control over their education!” This isn’t to say that the University of Rochester has somehow magically escaped the bureaucracy inherent to academic institutions. Applications still need to be filed, meetings had, legal teams checked with, and permissions given. Throughout the system, however, there is a readiness to turn knowledge into action now rather than later, and more importantly, there is imagination.

So you want to know if you can start your own club, or create a community service internship for others to follow, or study aboriginal art, or create an intramural kickball league at the University of Rochester?  I can already tell you what the answer is.

“Do you think you can?”

And yes, I finally got my bracelet down. 

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