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  • Writer's pictureBear Studios

Your ‘Greatest Weakness’ as a Learning Opportunity

Kristine Yim (left) performs during the Lunar New Year festival at Washington University in St. Louis, January 2019.

Kristine Yim, BSBA ’21, majors in marketing and economics & strategy and has been working as a strategy fellow at Bear Studios for one year. She wrote this for the Olin Blog. The article was originally published on April 24, 2019.

There is one interview question we all fear: “What is your greatest weakness?”

I’ve always known I was afraid of change. When answering that question, my immediate response was that my greatest weakness was a fear of failure and discomfort with the unknown. As an individual who lived in a small suburban area my whole life, I didn’t have to face my fears until I decided to attend WashU. New city, rigorous classes and unfamiliar people. I was scared.

I think we all have some level of fear when we face change. Whether you are stepping into an interview, going to a networking event, or giving a presentation, there are many questions about the outcome. When I first came to college, I questioned myself frequently. Will I make genuine friends? Will I be able to do well in my classes? Will I be able to join clubs I enjoy? Although the outcome is important, I believe the process I use to reach the outcome is more important.

I’ve had amazing experiences at Washington University thus far. I joined a student-run consulting business called Bear Studios, performed a taekwondo routine for a full audience, and pledged a business fraternity. This would not have been possible if I stayed in my comfort zone.

Step into the Unfamilar

Instead, I decided to enter into situations by stepping into the unfamiliar. I’ve learned that the best way to overcome my weakness is to put myself in uncomfortable circumstances that test my levels of confidence and familiarity. I have had a great deal of awkward conversations, churns in my stomach, and painful rejections, but as I challenged myself to keep going, I finally reached success.

Ultimately, I learned to consider my weaknesses as a form of self-improvement. Although I have become a better risk-taker, it is still a skill that demands improvement. For example, I am in a class called Entrepreneurial Collaboration: Madagascar, and I will be going to that country over the summer to implement a solution for sustainability.

At first, I was afraid of going abroad for a month for the first time where living conditions are going to be very difficult. However, I knew my desire to help others outweighed any fears or hesitations I might hold. I didn’t want my uncertainty about the future to inhibit my once in a lifetime chance at making a significant impact.

Deep down, I still hold fears about the unknown. However, I have learned to turn that fear into a healthy pursuit of the future and its uncertain opportunities. My time at Olin has challenged me to immerse myself in the most unexpectedly influential experiences, and I hope nothing less for myself in the future.

At Bear Studios our mission is to empower problem solvers. We leverage top quality talent from Washington University in St. Louis to provide our client businesses with impactful and game-changing solutions. Since our foundation in 2014, we have worked with over 100 businesses across the country. These companies have gone to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in seed funding, partner with global industry leaders in their respective fields, and change the world. If you are a small business owner, hoping to take a break from the ‘safe’ and start your own business or looking to improve your services, send us a note and ask for your free consultation today.


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