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It’s been a journey of self-discovery for senior Kyle Michel. Over the past four years, Michel has learned to throw conformity to the side and embrace his own brand of quirk. A masterful maker, Michel is creating a unique future...and some “bling” for your furry companions. Read on...
Tell me a little bit about your journey to the Academy? What were you looking for in an undergraduate program?
I learned about the Academy while attending an entrepreneurship program at MIT. The program was one of the twenty-odd I applied to, yet USC was one of only three colleges I visited. The Academy quickly moved to the top of my list. I didn't even have a camera for my interview video, so I rented one and had a lot of fun creating my pitch video. Interview Weekend affirmed that the Academy was where I needed to be. I decided it would be the Academy or no college – luckily, the Academy it was.
How have you evolved over the past four years?
Wow...hard to say, because I am still evolving and changing daily. I would say the biggest change was my journey of individuality. Towards the end of high school, I was unapologetically myself. I struggled with identity in college (as many do) – I soon began to conform to the identity of those around me, even in a program as diverse as the Academy. Eventually, I fell back in love with my idiosyncrasies and committed to live the life that was meant for me, not others. It's okay to love yourself and be a little selfish!
Describe an Academy moment that you’ll never forget.
Learning about the concept of desire paths with Professor Steve Barth.
What advice would you give to a freshman?
In college and at the Academy, you will feel tempted to follow the internship and career path that is most on-trend or "prestigious" on the outside. Don't. Find your bliss, find what makes you different and double down on that. Self-care is critical.
Describe one thing most people don’t know about you?
I designed and started a successful fragrance business with the Dolan Twins while in college.
What is the one thing your parents taught you that you’d like to share?
Most of the time, you have to fall flat on your face before you truly grasp advice from others. That's okay.
Is there an inspirational quote you live by?
We must be willing to get rid of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. -Joseph Campbell
What goals do you have post-graduation?
Continue improving myself in the hopes of improving the lives of others, maintain life balance, and relentlessly pursue my blisses.
Describe a passion project you’re currently working on and how you came up with the idea for it?
I'm currently working on manufacturing bling and chains for dogs – I saw an iced-out dog in my apartment building and my mind went wild.
What are the essential things you always keep in your backpack?
Gum, Tile, screen cleaning materials, extra phone chargers and cables, my IoT water-bottle… Macbook Pro, of course.
Favorite app or website?
Right now, Robinhood
Favorite class at USC and why?
ACAD 240 - Materials: Denim to Nanotubes – our cohort was prompted to run wild with physical product and art ideas.
Favorite way to de-stress?
Daily guided meditations
Playing Stardew Valley