Personal growth — just a small step beyond your comfort zone

As a final year computer science and physics student and chronic overthinker — when I looked at my resume and realised I didn’t have any workplace experience I started to stress.

Written by: Eva Holden, Bachelor of Computer Science / Bachelor of Science (Physics) student

Eva Holden, Bachelor of Computer Science/Bachelor of Science (Physics)
Eva Holden, Bachelor of Computer Science/Bachelor of Science (Physics)

I remembered being told about a program that UQ Ventures offers, so after some online research I sent in my application. Back then, I mostly saw the Startup AdVenture as an opportunity to boost my resume and get some experience in a 9-to-5 workplace but after completing the program I can now see that I’ve gained so much more from it than just that. By being forced out of my comfort zone, I’ve learned new skills and I’ve had the opportunity to expand my perspective.

I was assigned to a geriatric home healthcare company in India, named 60Plus. Think UberEats, but instead of ordering food you can order healthcare supplies or caretakers for your elderly parents or relatives. I met with my supervisor, and we decided that I would complete research for their app and website. Over the three-week program I researched their competitors, investigated their online traffic, and analysed their website so that I could give recommendations for how to improve the user experience and hopefully boost their sales. 

Cairns Startup AdVenturers
Cairns Startup AdVenturers, Eva Holden pictured far left.

I had little (or no) experience in this area, however, took the challenges as they came, and I was able to figure out the best way to approach these problems so that my supervisor would be able to look at my results and improve their service. By taking the time to research the tasks I was being asked to do, I was able to come up with a strategy to allow me to get them done without constantly having to ask my supervisor for explanations. Through performing these tasks, I was able to better understand how startups, and businesses in general, interact with their audience and the accommodations that they might make when designing a product for a particular customer base. There’s more to it than meets the eye, I’d describe it as working smarter, not harder, to get seen by your audience.

I was able to stay motivated by learning alongside good people and helping them to improve a service that would assist those in need. Being able to meet and chat with the entrepreneurs who founded these startups was one of the most interesting parts of this experience, as it takes a special kind of person to risk and follow an idea that they’re passionate about.

One core idea behind any startup is innovation. Startups respond to demand, they find an untapped niche in the market, and by having a thorough understanding of your audience and their interests you can develop your idea to innovate a solution for their problem.

By learning alongside a startup on the Startup AdVenture, the best thing that I gained was inspiration. Seeing first-hand that a small group of passionate people can achieve real change through innovation inspired me to think about how I can apply what I’ve learnt to other areas to innovate new solutions and create a positive impact.

Last updated:
9 August 2022