Students: realize your potential!

*Note: This is the content for a talk for students at UCLA.

I was always overwhelmed by all the advice I got in college, so I aim to simplify the message I want to get across when I speak to students.  Because it’s fairly easy to remember three things, here are three important tips that I find useful for students to keep in mind, no matter where you are in your education.

Find out what you want to do; and research what’s out there.   It’s important never to give up what you love to do.  There are more types of positions out there than you may think.  In this article I talk about how I somehow stumbled upon a role that I never even knew existed until shortly before graduation.  And on top of my role, I still find time to pursue my interests in aerial silk and dance, because I’m happier and as a result, better at my job.

Build your personal brand.   This is something I’m still learning to do.  It’s important to market yourself in the best light possible when pursuing your ambitions.  One way to do this is to build a site, whether it be a personal site, a blog, or a website for a cause or organization.  Here are some links to getting started on a website quickly and easily.  You should also devote time to putting together a good resume and practicing your speaking skills.

Implement a substantial project.   There are so many benefits to devoting at least a semester to a significant project.  Not only can you talk about the project and its impact in interviews, but you really can change the world.  Need some inspiration?  Here’s a video of Team Note-Taker from ASU:

For more information on Imagine Cup and Round 1 submission instructions, go here.  The deadline is February 14, 2012, and it only takes less than 10 minutes!

Need the resources to develop your project?  Here are some free developer tools and links to resources for students to help you create what’s next on phone, web, cloud, and Kinect for Windows sensor.

For more inspiration, here’s a video of how Tedesys uses Kinect in hospitals:

And a fun video of how FaceCake uses Kinect to make a virtual dressing room: