“What do you think of when you hear the word RV?” Chris Wire asked me.
He, the owner of a digital creative agency, and I, the owner of an EdTech start-up, were at the earliest stages of brainstorming a mobile marketing vehicle.
“Recreational Vehicle,” I said.
“Think about your site and how you are helping students. Think, Research Vehicle.” Chris suggested.
This short exchange, in the spring of 2011, was the start of a project that would change the course of the Welcome to College journey. I knew the research we collected with this vehicle could help colleges and students, but had no idea where we were actually heading with MARV, the Mobile Automated Research Vehicle.
From the time we first turned the ignition in June 2011, to our trip to New York City this fall, we have been learning. As with many real-life journeys, we were only given the first step – bring awareness to the importance of college visits. By taking that step and many others, we have come to a point of reflecting on our most exciting year yet. I can sum it up in three words:
Clarity – After reading more books in the year 2013 than any one calendar year before, my ability to speak direction has improved. And as a result, we’re moving towards our true north – our noble cause. We want students to find the best fit for college, yes. But it’s deeper. We want students to flourish when they get there. How can we help make that happen? And so we’re onto our next step in this journey.
Serendipity – Finding and following our noble cause proved to be the missing ingredient. Now we could make magic happen! Or let it happen, as was the case for 2013. Suddenly, the people I was reading and drawing insights from, I was meeting. Learning about their journeys inspired ours, and through this sharing we would take several more steps. Each of which, in part, was due to a chance encounter.
Discovery – We had spent over two years traveling in MARV from Boston to Austin, Las Vegas to New Orleans, New Haven to Tempe, and what did we have to show for it? Everything. We had found our true purpose through the struggles and successes, relationships in and outside of the team, and, most importantly, by finding what students needed to succeed in college: happiness. And another word for happiness would be MARV – Meaning, Accomplishment, Relationships, and Vitality.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post. We recently launched a new Facebook page to build community with those seeking additional resources in finding MARV in their educational and life journeys. Exciting things to come in 2014!