We are all exposed to interesting opportunities every day. They present themselves in a multitude of ways: perhaps a teacher at school mentions an awesome organization or you see a flyer hung up around town, advertising a need for employees and interns at a facility. However, no matter how you come across an idea that genuinely interests you, it should be seriously considered with an open mind.

We often disregard these opportunities and render them irrelevant without a second look; however, exploring these opportunities could lead us to discover our passions and interests and help us to mold our futures. Personally, interning at Access Ventures solidified my interest in microfinance for the good of the community. Firms like this which seek to have a social impact can be of benefit to not only ourselves, but to the entire Louisville community as well.

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As a high school student, I’m often met with reactions of surprise and incredulity when I talk to adults about interning at an impact investing firm. This response is a large contributing factor to why high school students often do not actively seek out opportunities that expand their worldviews and expose them to real life situations. Adults and even our peers are not intentionally attempting to stifle our ambition, although it often comes across that way, causing us to feel quite awkward. Yet, once that feeling of insecurity is overcome, one can begin to acknowledge the true importance of the work he or she is doing.

The crux of the matter is that age should be less of a limiting factor than both adults and young people make it out to be. Age should function as simply a number and nothing more; we all know this is not the case to the rest of the world, however. And so the question remains, how can we as young people mitigate the disbelieving responses we face when trying to pursue an opportunity of significance to the community and to ourselves?

Age should function as simply a number and nothing more.

Three ways to nullify age: Be knowledgeable, be passionate, and be confident.

1. Do your research, accumulate data, and have factual evidence when talking to older people about your ideas. Show that you are an expert in this field and know what you are talking about. Statistics and numbers are difficult to refute and argue with, and they show the amount of time taken to investigate the topic at hand.

2. Show your genuine interest in the topic by conveying personal stories and anecdotes. Form a connection with whomever you are speaking and entice their interest in the topic as well. When your audience feels included and excited, they feel more grateful to you and your drive than wary of your age.

3. Be bold and brave! It is important to know that you are not being judged or demeaned for being young – in fact, most people are highly impressed by your ideas and applaud you for doing something different and unique at a young age. Showing that you are not afraid to put yourself out there and are willing to try new things makes you more than just a small fish in a big pond.

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This is an Access Ventures team photo we took after participating in a service project, that I organized, at a local food kitchen.

You must utilize your age to do great things. You are part of the up and coming generation, full of innovation and ideation. You have the ability to lead a change in your local community or at an even grander scope. You embody the future of the world and you hold the keys to betterment in your hands. Use these powers for the benefit of society by advocating causes you truly believe in.

Take action by doing an internship somewhere that shares your fundamental beliefs and put them into practice. Legitimize yourself. Grow yourself through facilitating the growth of society. As you develop as a citizen of the world, you should be contributing to the development of the things around you. We are on the path of self-exploration to reach self-realization, and it is important to gain perspective through actualizing the world around us as reality, especially starting at a young age.

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