LX. Formulaic Entrepeneurship -

Inspired by the bright pastel nail colors that every fashionista seems to be sporting this summer, I decided to overcome the frustrating task of painting my fingernails.

(Painting toe nails isn’t frustrating because its minimum square footage enables nail polish to dry quickly. Furthermore, the toes do not function regularly as do the fingers, thereby reducing the chances of the polish chipping off and developing air bubbles or dents.)

During college, most of my peers’ lives seemed to be effortlessly perfect. Many, not all, of my college peers, laughed when I told them I had to do laundry. Furthermore, trips to CVS to buy a roll of paper towel was a foreign concept to them. When I spoke of the toils of cleaning my room, scoffs were audible and smirks were visible.

These essential life tasks were made equivalent to trivialities. However, everyone seemed to complete said tasks, albeit, without having to take the time to do so.

Time was a luxury for all of us at Penn.

Since time was such a treasure trove, the idea of painting my nails was out of the question. Settling into the lecture hall, my gaze would fall onto the manicured hands of members of the female student body. One day I asked one of my friends how she found time to paint her nails. Her response was, “I just do. It doesn’t take long.”

Still unwilling to take the time to paint my nails during the school year, I decided to paint my nails during my trips home. Under the impression that painting nails took no time at all I only saw disturbing results: Globs of polish would be on one nail and another glob would be on the carpeted floor. If I succeeded in the painting process, the polish would chip off within five minutes.

I became an entrepreneur and came up with my own formula for painting nails that has caused the polish to be smooth and in tact for over 24 hours’ time now. This formula is at odds with my friend attesting to the process being short.

Base Coat Application + Dry time+ One layer of polish (smoothly applied and with minimal overlaps in strokes) + Dry time (longer than the first) + Second application of polish + Dry time (Longer than the second) + Top Coat Application + Dry Time (longer than the first and second combined) = SUCCESS, albeit a long process.


For the past couple of weeks I have been immersing myself in the realm of journalism - past and present.

Am I correct in thinking that experiences are a primary means of education?

In pursuit of some validation, I have been reading journalists’ memoirs and biographies and journalism students’ publications and multimedia presentations.

All this broadcasting viewing and biography reading seems to reap the same finding: All of these professional journalists have acquired experiences within the discipline before and after formal education.

These people have traveled, some domestically, some internationally. I don’t know how they can take off and explore, as if the now cliche stories that start out with, “I came here with five dollars in my pocket and a dream”, still hold weight.

Maybe they do, maybe they don’t.

If the nail situation taught me anything it is that throughout all the points of reference, all the research accumulated, the line of best fit is individual.

There is no formula.

You assess your points of reference and extrapolate from the pattern by superimposing the points onto the context of your life.

This is the process taken to successfully paint my fingernails and this is the process I plan on following from now until I decide to apply to graduate school.

This is what I like to call formulaic entrepreneurship.