College students: puppies and butterflies

As college students prepare for graduation in May, career-prep and self-awareness weigh heavily on their minds and create a few butterflies in their tummies.

Parents: Be patient. After raising a bunch of kids, I know they usually do figure things out. But you do need to listen and guide them ever-so gently.

My daughter Laura Coates​​, an Osbourn High School alum, will complete her Business degree ON TIME!!! and graduate on May 12 from Virginia Commonwealth University.

She has concentrated on entrepreneurship and creative classes with amazing skills in writing, visual arts, organization, photography and video. And yes, we plan to work on future projects together. Can’t wait!

We talk frequently, but lately, she has been a bit quiet. So I drove to Richmond for a personal visit. You know, to check up on her.  During my visit this week, she was house and dog sitting through Rover. Great extra money for students.

We went to a VCU Innovation presentation on start-ups with Brian McIntire, Think Co., who stated his principles to open your own successful business. The few that stood out: Wait, learn your craft in the real world first,  and if necessary, work with a partner you can trust (a work spouse).

There were many other points of discussion, however, we were interested in funding options in the area. Afterwards, we asked a professor — he thought an organization called Lighthouse Labs was a funding option. His other option: take a class on venture funding.  I would add: starting cheap and staying lean is smart.

Many universities educate in theory, but do not emphasize real-world skills.  Many teach all the steps to open a business, but not how to fund it.

Afterwards. I lectured Laura on her next steps after graduation. I think I exhausted her, but Tulip, the dog she was dog sitting, seemed intrigued. What a cutie!

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