Cole Ellison, Horizons S’16

Quick intro

Your name: Cole Ellison

Age: 21

Where you’re from: Camden, Maine

Where you study: Middlebury College

Majors and Minors: Math (Religion/Spanish)

Three words that best describe you: driven, sincere, focused

8 questions for Cole

1. When did you first get excited about the world of tech and entrepreneurship

Though I had always been interested in technology, for the majority of my life I have viewed the realm of tech and entrepreneurship from the perspective of a consumer. Not until more recently in an introductory coding course did I truly see the possibilities of creation from the eyes of a developer. At that moment, computers became more than simple tools for consumption and basic creation. Programming allows me to build my imaginations into realities (although the resulting manifestations are crude at times) and helps redirect my creativity into creation.

2. Why did you decide to take Horizons and what’s been your favorite part so far?

I decided to enroll in Horizons because their program is highly robust and rigorous. I wanted to spend my summer learning all I could about programming, and this option has exceeded my expectations. I love that the pacing is impossible. The course is designed to make everyone struggle, while forcing us to work together and hone in our focus on one problem at a time.

3. What does a successful version of you look like on graduation day? How about two years out of college?

A successful version of me at graduation day has more questions than I do now. Though I expect to be fairly competent at the end of this summer, I believe that beyond all else I will have a firm grasp on how much more there is to learn and create. If two years later that thirst has run dry, then I must have done something wrong, for there is always more to climb.

4. Tell us what is one thing you believe is true that most people disagree with (the Peter Thiel question)…

I believe that shortcuts don’t work in education (or life for that matter) and that the best way to learn is “trial by fire.” If you are to learn something, it is better to struggle while learning than glide through an underdone curriculum.

5. What has been the most important turning point / realization in your life so far?

I realized early on that doing things, particularly those things which I enjoy, makes me happy. Thusly, I have focused my life towards maximizing the amount and quality of doing in my day to day existence. Though outwardly trivial, by accepting this truism I can eschew unnecessary elements of my life while focusing on what I value.

6. What motivates you to work hard every day?

Each day provides limitless opportunities to learn and grow. Not taking advantage of each day to the fullest seems like a waste.

7. If you were going to be famous, what would it be for?

I don’t aspire to fame. I just want to learn how to make beautiful things, whether online or in hand.

8. What is your advice to incoming freshmen to make the most out of their time in college?

Spend as much time outside as you do studying, the best reflections and realizations come from dirt.

Thank you for reading.

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Horizons is a technology school that finds the most promising young people around the world and gives them all the advantages they need to launch their successful careers in tech.