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    Student Testimonial: LaunchX

    Posted December 14, 2023, 8:00 am by TeenLife

    Alexander Zhang - LaunchX

    Why did you choose to participate in LaunchX?

    I decided to participate in LaunchX because I wanted to expand my worldview and meet new people. The idea of being able to connect, build, and live with entrepreneurs from all over the US and the rest of the world was what really piqued my interest.

    How did you decide which summer program was right for you?

    I wanted to do an in-person program since that was the only option that I felt would allow me to become involved in the community and build lasting relationships. I chose the Ann Arbor location mainly because I liked the University of Michigan and the area where I would be staying.

    What was a typical day in LaunchX?

    On the weekdays, we woke up by 8:15, got breakfast, and had a few morning classes. The morning sessions were usually for lecturing and learning. After a few hours we'd have lunch and a decent chunk of time to take a break and socialize, and maybe work on a couple of startup-related things.

    The afternoon sessions, my favorite, were usually shorter and focused more on guest speakers and interactive activities/simulations. Those ended around 4, and then the cohort would split up. Some of us might go to the maker space, back to the dorms — or stay in the dorm's main common area and work there.

    There was so much flexibility, especially in the afternoon/evening, which we definitely appreciated. Dinner was usually 6-7, and the rest of the night was open for having fun, doing work, or engaging in a combination of both. The program staff also coordinated some events like movie nights and karaoke in the game room. Weekdays were generally pretty laid back even with a decent amount of lecturing and time in the classroom. Curfew was 11 PM.

    On the weekends, we could basically wake up whenever, and most people used these days as time to do laundry and housekeeping chores. As a cohort, we often walked to brunch together, since there was no breakfast on Saturdays or Sundays. Weekends were definitely the best. We could relax, explore the area, and have fun with friends before classes started again on Monday. Our weekend curfew was midnight.

    What was the most memorable moment of LaunchX?

    The most memorable moments at LaunchX came from those around me. I got to work, eat, and play with so many brilliant people from all over the world. I remember most vividly our morning group walks to brunch or the late nights in someone's dorm room working hard on our startups and venture projects.

    It was really one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life, and the culmination of all those long days and nights was the last day with all of us in the dorm. We took the entire night to reflect on the past month's experiences and definitely did not get any sleep.

    What advice do you have for teens looking at summer programs?

    My advice would definitely be to look at what you hope to get out of participating in LaunchX. It really depends on what you are looking for in terms of the people, environment, and experience. Also, financials can be a factor, so it's important to consider financial awards and talk with LaunchX as well.

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