I Needed New Glasses and Got a Pair at Clymb

William Hu (Digital Media Marketing Intern and InBaltimore Cohort 2022)

“So, what is Clymb?” It took me a while to figure this out as well. It’s an organization that makes and sells emotional wellness software to school districts throughout America that creates personalized wellness plans for students based on CASEL’s socio-emotional competencies and measures its effectiveness.  

If you’re not in the education space, you don’t really need to worry about what that means (just that it’s awesome!). To me, working here has been a means of reflection and a glimpse into a world of innovation and creativity that I feel I’ve actively avoided by mindlessly pursuing a career in medicine. 

*Disclaimer: My intent is by no means to disparage the medical profession. This is simply a rumination of my personal experience and choices that have led me to where I am today.  

Losing Sight of My Dream: 

In the summer after 2nd grade, I remember sitting on my family’s tiled kitchen watching ads on TV about a guy named Bill Schafer and his invention, the splash wash. This ad, coupled with hearing about Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison in school, made being an inventor seem like the coolest job ever.  

My dream was to create a hovercraft because my favorite superpower at the time was the ability to fly (I wasn’t very original). I imagined a world where people could float 20 to 30 feet in the air with their hovercrafts, free to explore, and race to their friends’ houses to mess around. 

For a short period, I drew ditzy prototypes on pocket-sized pieces of paper illustrating a 4 propellor setup around a skateboard-esque chassis. Over the years, however, these dreams slowly fizzled away as I was weaned off my childish reveries.  

Blurry Vision: 

There were days before I became addicted to my iPod touch where I would go home and play with Legos or Bionicle’s. Occasionally, my parents would pass by to check on my progress and once I’d finally finished, they’d say “that took you a while, you don’t seem very good with your hands.” It never really registered, but later, when I joined a young engineering program, I started to notice how I couldn’t keep up with the others. I assumed I’d never reach their level because I wasn’t as naturally dexterous and eventually gave up.  

This happened again when my teacher in 5t1`h grade had us walk around to each students’ desk, type our name and one reason we were glad they were in our class. The soul crushing word that 90% of the class wrote on my document shows truly how little identity I had. My one trait was that I was “smart”. As years went on, these labels continued to aggregate. Each comment may seem innocent enough and could even be framed as well-intentioned. But in self-reflection, I realized that I took these opinions to heart and confined myself in a way that could fulfill the expectations of my parents, and others around me who felt I was destined to be a doctor.  

Prescription Glasses: 

Alright, enough with the Debby-downer stories. Clymb is built different. Something the CEO said still resonates with me today, “Emotional intelligence isn’t that you should never feel emotion. It’s where you recognize what you’re feeling, and you use that knowledge to respond accordingly.” Clymb and its software embodies this thinking so well by recognizing that we’re all growing and learning which opens the floor to mistakes, ideas, and constructive criticism without fearing repercussions. This type of culture feels so fundamentally different from everything that I’ve experienced for so long and it feels unbelievably refreshing. 

“Emotional intelligence isn’t that you should never feel emotion. It’s where you recognize what you’re feeling, and you use that knowledge to respond accordingly.” 

To give you a glimpse into Clymb’s culture, I’d like to answer this one question. “If Clymb were something you used every day, what would it be?”  

In my opinion, Clymb is a pair of glasses. Every time I put them on, I can look back and be reminded of what I’ve wanted for so long. I’ve missed working on cool projects with my friends just for the heck of it. I’ve missed brainstorming crazy ideas without being worried about getting judged. I’ve missed being in a supportive environment where I’m not forced to uphold my “quiet, smart boy” façade. Working here has given me a chance to experience all these feelings again. If you feel like you can relate to anything I said, maybe trying something completely different from the norm can help give you a perspective you’ve never thought of!  

In the end, maybe the tasks I’m given may not really be deemed transformative. And… to be completely honest, some of the things I do work on can be boring and repetitive (I managed to get caught on lunch break playing Lost Ark 2 weeks in). But I’m happy to say that I’m learning how to see myself differently. 

Please sign this petition 🙂 

And check out our website: https://clymbup.io  

By Contributor