Annie Schugart, Horizons S’16
Your name: Annie Schugart
Where you’re from: Kansas City
Where you study: Harvard
Majors: Computer Science, Minor: Film/Video Production
Three words that best describe you: Innovative, intuitive, inquisitive
8 questions for Annie
1. When did you first get excited about the world of tech and entrepreneurship?
I’ve always been fascinated by the endless possibilities in tech, but I didn’t know anything at all about computer science prior to college. So for me, my real excitement about the world of tech blossomed in high school from my interest in the innovations occurring in the “dying” news industry (such as interactive multimedia journalism, data based journalism, new apps, and revolutionary ways of dispersing/obtaining news).
2. Why did you decide to take Horizons and what’s been your favorite part so far?
I knew that if I really wanted to do this whole tech thing, this summer was critical. I knew I didn’t have enough experience for a competitive computer science internship, but I also knew I wouldn’t be taking full advantage of my summer if I did an internship outside of tech. Horizons seemed like the perfect fit, allowing for an immersive summer to nail down skills that would reap benefits long after the 12 weeks. It was really a no-brainer. My favorite part so far has been being surrounded by such incredibly, incredibly hard-working people who push me to work harder, and consequently falling in love with coding more and more each day.
3. What does a successful version of you look like on graduation day? How about two years out of college?
On graduation day, I’ll consider it a success to walk out with a degree in computer science because — as someone who literally did not know what computer science was before coming to college — that’s something I never imagined possible. As for two years out, I’m not sure; I have a list of goals to accomplish with my life, and I’m not sure which I’ll pursue first. Hopefully I’ll be working to discover the future of journalism or something similarly innovative.
4. Tell us what is one thing you believe is true that most people disagree with (the Peter Thiel question)…
I believe that humans can fly. I also don’t believe in time. (Sorry, that was two things, but they’re inherently related.)
5. What has been the most important turning point / realization in your life so far?
Being the dramatic person that I am, I quite frequently sit myself down and am like, “Annie, this is a huge turning point in your life,” and I think the most common text I send to my mom says something along the lines of “I’ve had a sudden epiphany!” Ironically, and quite unfortunately, most of those epiphanies have been forgotten. One important realization was that I didn’t need to study/major in something I was good at and that I should, in fact, do quite the opposite — major in something that would challenge me immensely but consequently grow my knowledge much more. That’s how I try to live my life. Failing often leads to bigger successes.
6. What motivates you to work hard every day?
That’s a fabulous question that I ask myself at least once a day because I believe having strong, tangible, and articulate intentions is what gives people an edge. I have a whole list of motivations. In fact, I keep a list of motivations by my alarm clock and read it every morning (entitled “Why You Need to Get Out of Bed NOW.”) It’s an ever-changing list, but the common themes are that someone out there woke up way earlier than you and is working way harder than you on your same ideas, and that you should do it for all the people who in some way contributed to you getting where you are today instead of doing it for yourself.
7. If you were going to be famous, what would it be for?
My only hope is that it’d be for something positive.
8. What is your advice to incoming freshmen to make the most out of their time in college?
Be prepared to work harder than you probably ever have, but keep a sense of humor and don’t take things too seriously. If you’re not happy with something you’re doing, first weigh the options in order to make a rational decision, then ignore that step and quit whatever it is. Don’t waste your time on something you’re not 110% invested in, not even for a day. Remember things take time to become good at. Meet as many people as you can but also spend as much time as possible by yourself. Make a list of what you want to accomplish in college and don’t get distracted. Work hard but keep a free spirit. And of course, apply for Horizons!
Thank you for reading.
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