Azmain is taking a gap year starting in September 2020. He just graduated from high school in Calgary, Alberta and decided that taking a year off was the best decision for him. He speaks candidly about making the decision, what he plans on doing and how he will use this time to learn, experience and grow a business.
As a very smart young man, many people questioned his decision because he “should” have been heading to university – teachers and friends, but Azmain had also really thought about his decision and was able to articulate how he needed a break before taking on more academic challenges, to be able to learn in new ways and explore other areas of interest to him.
Azmain has a business – he uses AI to comb the internet for emotions and reactions to help businesses understand consumer and market behaviour for data-driven decision making. He is taking a good part of his gap year to grow this business. Rewind one and a half years, Azmain didn’t know anything about AI! He took it on as a passion topic and self-taught because it excited him, motivated him and made him curious…. And now, he has his own business in this field.
The show notes do not do this conversation justice, so listen to Azmain’s wisdom and I have tried to capture the key takeaway messages:
Follow your curiosity – dare yourself to try it!
Learn to pause - Take time to observe, reflect, explore, think and make connections in your own mind
Realize the value of the time you have – connect with people, watch that show, read that book, explore that curious thing.
Unlearn that there is a “right answer” – we need to test things before we know what the right answers are, especially when it comes to innovation.
If you want to start a business:
Learn to pause and observe so you can find problems to solve
Actually take action - come up with the solution
Advice for 2020 Gappers:
Try to push everyone else’s’ opinions to the side – you need to decide what is best for YOU. It is your future and although everyone loves you, only you can really know what you need.
Be okay with the fear that will arise – these decisions are scary!
If you have decided do it – take some time OFF. Be bored for a little bit. Just see what directions you are naturally drawn to.
If you need some help to plan your gap year, please reach out for a free 30-minute chat.
You can also join us for Gap Year Frosh Week!
3 nights of entertainment, learning and connection!
Azmain Abrer is a recently graduated high school student from Calgary, Alberta. He is passionate about entrepreneurship and public service, two things that Azmain has been engaged in throughout middle and high school – and plans to continue doing during his upcoming gap year. Azmain has been a member of both the Calgary Board of Education’s and Calgary Mayor’s Youth Advisory Councils; advocating for issues like public and mental health, sustainable economic development, and student empowerment at the local, provincial, and national levels. Azmain has also founded a public advocacy organization called FlattenTheCurve Canada to help people and governments navigate the challenges caused by COVID-19 so that they can work better with one another to find a new normal. Along with this, he is also the Founder and CEO of an artificial intelligence startup company using correlative impressions analytics to help its users quantify, predict, and smoothly adapt to the ever-accelerating changes unfolding in the world. Azmain is planning to devote his gap year towards growing his business and continuing to serve his community. He’s also looking forward to spending more time with friends, getting to know himself better, and watching lots and lots of Netflix.