As part of our Young & Successful series we love to profile people in all stages of their lives and career pursuit. It’s my pleasure to have met Andrew on YSN when he connected with me through the network. It didn’t take long for me to see that he’s a special individual with so much positive energy and enthusiasm to share. Learning about young people like Andrew truly helps remind us all that we are never too young to begin our career journey and there are no restrictions on our goals and dreams. I know you’ll enjoy meeting him through this self-written introduction on what makes him who he is and where he wants to go in his life. – Katie Ketchum
My name is Andrew Pegram and I am a 17-year-old with big hopes and dreams, for myself and for the world. I live in Henderson, NV, which is a city fairly close to the famous (and infamous) city of Las Vegas. In August, I will be entering my senior year of high school at the Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Performing and Visual Arts (called LVA, for short).
Last year, I had the opportunity to attend a creative writing workshop where I spent time composing a few short stories, which were later published by the Southern Nevada Writing Project in an online anthology. As of now, I am working on a new novel that is set in none other than Las Vegas, NV. My goal is to have the book finished by the end of the year, although it will be a very difficult task. I am hoping that even if it doesn’t get published right away, I might still win a writing scholarship for it. I won’t be putting all my eggs in one basket, as far as scholarships go, but this is the main one I have in mind.
Writing is my primary catharsis, and it gives me a vent for many of the emotions I have bottled up inside. I think that it is important for everyone to have something that gives them an opportunity to let off some steam. If you don’t, I find that your emotions can boil and putrefy underneath and, like a volcano; they will end up exploding at some point. This has happened before, and to my detriment. So, I plan on someday publishing works on philosophy, religion, and socio-economics. With these books, I hope that I can plant a few seeds that will eventually manifest as beneficial changes (however minor) in the mindset of human society. These alone won’t do the trick, but they will get the ideas out there, which may find fertile ground in some people’s heads. At this time, I can’t yet articulate all that I would like to say concerning these subjects, but the cornerstones that come to mind involve tolerance, unity, compassion, respect, and freedom.
Science and inventing are two other passions that I have, and they go hand in hand. I want to completely revolutionize technology. Someday, I plan to start my own company and begin to market my inventions. These will involve renewable energy, advanced motor vehicles, advanced forms of medicine, and maybe even nanotechnology. I envision a world where alternative energy is mainstream, and I want to contribute in making that dream come to fruition. I foresee a society that works in harmony with the natural environment. If my business becomes prosperous enough, I would like to also fund microloaning, systems that combat poverty. Microloaning is an ingenious creation that utilizes the power people have when they come together, however poor they may be, and their ability to generate astonishing ideas for making money. A relatively small amount is lent to the group and it can go far. In India, they have made some incredible accomplishments with microloaning. I strongly encourage reading the book Influencer, for it describes this subject more fully and it provides powerful methods of affecting positive change, on a large and small scale.
Last year, I participated in a program called the Summer Business Institute, which gave me some ground and some good experience. The program itself is meant to educate young people on the basics of the “real world,” including personal finance and social skills. It also provides participants with an internship, usually in an area of interest. I, myself, worked in the waste water management business. I mostly did office work, but on occasion I got to see the sewers and the work involved in maintaining their efficiency. I remember a saying that the field workers said whenever we had to enter the vicinity of sewage: “It’s the smell of money!” I highly recommend internships to anyone looking to climb the ladder, especially if you’re still in school. Some of them pay you, and they give you valuable work experience which may pertain to one’s chosen career path. You can also network with the people you work with and forge some helpful connections.
Now, I know that I have rambled on quite a bit about myself, but I would like to tie it all together and reiterate some important points. My greatest goal, the thing that keeps me going and that fuels my motivation, is to ultimately change the world. Yes, I want to combat poverty. Yes, I want to revolutionize technology. Yes, I want to show that a brighter world can exist. Yet it all boils down to the fact that humans seem to be a reluctant species when it comes to change.
I know two of the biggest hurdles for me in my life have been fear and laziness. Perhaps laziness is even just another expression of fear. If we are to embrace what is beneficial to us, we must not let fear conquer us and make our will inert. People can be deathly afraid of change, and one of my greatest obstacles will be to convince them that there is nothing to really fear, that the benefits outweigh the “risks”.
I see a world in which so many people feel pain and sickness and sorrow and frustration and they don’t need to. I pitied myself for so many years and I hated myself for so many years, but what did that amount to? Anger at everybody, a false need to take out my inner pain on others and make them feel pain. And, deep down, that just made me hate myself even more. So how did I get out of this vicious cycle? I had to force myself to say these words: “I love myself, I respect myself, I honor myself.” It wasn’t easy. I had to have some genuinely caring and guiding hands along the way. I had to be able to let my pain out safely. And, you know what? It’s a process that I’m still going through, on some level, but I’m improving and every day I can only hope to love myself a little more. I find that when one loves, respects, and honors oneself wholeheartedly, those feelings are gradually felt towards others. I would like to promote a more loving and respectful world. I don’t care about the useless pessimism that people have to offer, which derives from their inherent fear. Anything is possible. What is the true steel in your building is absolute belief in success. With doubts come failures. We are the only species on this planet that wars with itself. If we could cast away the bulk of our destructive and selfish tendencies, we could direct our energies more fully towards constructive and progressive ends. I want to facilitate this process, and I have some talented friends who are willing to help me out, too. For the more help we have, the more we can accomplish.
My dream is my elixir. Without it, I have no purpose and I am merely an empty shell going through the motions of life. I remember a saying, though I can’t recall who said it that states “when we fail to dream, we fail to live.” I will be sincerely happy if I can help more people to become more alive. Life isn’t dull. It is meant to be lived, to be felt, to be breathed, not just with the lungs but with the heart and spirit. It is electric and dynamic and ever-changing. So embrace it. It took me awhile to do so, but my grip keeps getting tighter and tighter.
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