My experiment — and the ‘challenge’ with moving out at 22

Challenge. It’s a word universities would like to define themselves as being, but really how well do they prepare you when you first move out of home?

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Freshly graduated from University, while losing the job of my dreams at Tilt.com as we got acquired by Airbnb, I moved down to Melbourne, Australia some 5-weeks ago to start my new journey at Culture Amp. But my challenge was never going to be the distance. It was going to be knowing no-one and nothing about this new city I was in.

Of course… I knew all of this going in. It’s always been my belief that a life without challenges, is one left unfulfilled. Because, if we don’t challenge ourselves, how will we progress the world just that little bit further in the right direction? ‘Doing’ what we know and ‘surrounding’ ourselves in situations we are familiar with isn’t anything more than decorated stagnation. At 22 (right now), I knew this was my best opportunity yet to make a big impact.

I remember a Professor showing me this to demonstrate the worldly impact we could have… in this case with a PhD.

So here I was. Friendless.

Before coming, I did all the researching/chatting/networking I could. I found my situation was wholly unique to my American work colleagues, yet not uncommon to my Australian university friends. My discussions with various people who had ever moved out young were always comforted by the fact that they knew someone where they were going. If not, they had brought a partner along or their work friends became their best friends.

I thought to myself, that I could definitely make friends at work. Besides, I did get interviewed by 5 people to get the job, we must have got along then, right? There was never a problem with this, but it got me thinking 🤔. We are who we surround ourselves with. Yes, we may be the masters of our own destiny in a literal sense, but realistically our emotions and actions are ultimately tied to the influences and events that occur with the people around us.

I’ve always been a true believer in that and to this day, I am so incredibly lucky to have made close friends in a variety of fields (and not just what I have studied) that have helped define who I am and contributed to the knowledge and wisdom I gained. Some love to sing, some are designers, some are maths-crazy or watch-obsessed, and some just like to joke around. Yet it’s those multitude of experiences, which brought me here today. (Thank you if you are any one of those people reading this!)

That was in Sydney. Now I am in Melbourne. Without my friends close by, this has become my challenge for 2017. I know it’s a little late, but here it goes anyways:

To establish myself in a city where I have completely no idea of, or pre-existing connections — and use it for the ‘good’ of the world.

Just two weeks ago, my awesome work colleague Dan Murphy told me that to have a diverse group of staff members, you should ideally have a diverse pipeline of applicants. And for that matter, anything in life which you require diversity, requires opportunities and initiatives which bring upon diversity from the start.

Thus I want to put forward a bold hypothesis as someone new to Melbourne:

That amazing personal growth comes from building connections that are defined by diversity and not by amount.

What’s my uncanny method that you can kindly help me with?

To introduce me to (or share this with) an interesting friend or two that you know in Melbourne, and I’d be more than happy to buy them a coffee or drink.

To keep myself accountable, I’ll endeavour to write something about every person I meet, and what I’ve learned — which you can track in real-time here, with the most notable appearing here on Medium.

I’ve never cast such a wide net for a personal call-out for help before, but I trust that through the kindness of strangers, as well as our human desire to help others feel like they can belong, that we are able to develop ourselves to our fullest potentials.

It is in my wildest hopes and dreams that through the documentation of my journey, that I can prove to anyone anxious or thinking of moving out — that it is entirely possible to overcome the biggest (social) challenge of all.

Every conversation is an opportunity for learning and a chance to change the world. I hope to see you on the other side!

If you are able to help me out on this quest in any way, feel free to reach out to me via email: andrew.huynh[at]outlook.com or send me a Facebook message, and I’d be so happy and thankful.
If you aren’t, still feel free to connect with me and thank you so much for reading this. It means a lot and I hope you can kindly share this with some of your friends, and feel free to follow my journey here!

Cheers, Andrew