The new edition of the Aspirers in the Spotlight features Codruṭ Lemeni, alumnus of Aspire High School 2017. Codruṭ is a second-year student at Polytechnic University in Bucharest who strongly believes that getting involved in many projects and trying out different things leads to discovering one’s passions. Therefore, Codruṭ wants to combine his passion for Computer Science with his desire to improve the educational system.
Currently, Codruṭ just launched an educational pack VreauLa, featured in Forbes. This is the first free e-learning platform for high school students who want to prepare for Romanian universities’ exams. At this moment, the platform includes exam preparation for Polytechnic, Medicine and Law universities. Additionally, he wants to use Machine Learning tools and data to build a statistical model for the Romanian educational system.
1) What motivated you to build the platform VreauLa?
Since I was in high school, I considered that we could use technology to improve our learning performance. I remember having colleagues who were carrying around very thick books dedicated only to multiple choice questions. I think that was the first time I thought that an online platform could ease the preparation for university exams. However, it was this fall when I met Mihai (my co-founder) and he was also thinking for some time about an application like this.
The future steps for VreauLa are to bring more universities to the platform, but also start making better use of data science for a more personalised learning.
2) If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
It’s hard to give advice considering I am in the same point of my life and there is no global advice, but I can share what worked for me.
I think it is really important to understand the concepts of exploration and exploitation. I consider that younger people should spend more energy exploring different opportunities until they start focusing on something very specific. That would translate in saying yes more often and only after you get a real sense of what you are enthusiastic about, you should start shifting to focusing deeper on what you are passionate about.
3) What are your non-negotiables?
My non-negotiables are who I try to surround myself with and my time management.
- About people: In my professional life, I try to have doers around me. I also tried removing people from my life that share a negative vibe (the ones that always find excuses, complain about everything, etc.).
- About time management: Maybe because I am a grit paragon, I can’t stand the idea of wasting time. I always plan my days in advance so that I can maximize the time I am being productive. I find this important because productivity is clearly not correlated only with how much time you spend working.
4) What was the hardest decision you ever had to make?
I think it was choosing my university. I’ve always been passionate about entrepreneurship, but I was also on an academic path by going to Olympiads and other theoretical contests. I knew that choosing a highly ranked university would make sense only if I was sure that I would pursue an academic path in the future.
I finally decided to remain in Romania in order to have time to find the path I want to pursue for the rest of my career without pressure and I think I made the right call.
5) What was you main motivation in applying for an Aspire program?
The first time I heard about Aspire was from my friend Mihai Marica who participated the year before. After all the stories he told me, I was quite amazed by Steve Jarding. The Ivy league professors were the main reason at that time. I remember considering studying in the USA and I thought it was amazing that I can get a glimpse of that. I also thought about the networking opportunities in the program, but I was clearly underrating this aspect.
6) How this experience helped you in achieving professional success?
I don’t feel that I achieved professional success yet. Aspire was an eye-opening experience for me. It was Aspire that made me realise that I can have an impact. Until that point, I wasn’t truly believing that one can build his own projects without years of experience, but finding that some of my Aspire generation friends were running/starting their own businesses at that time, gave me more confidence.
7) Why people should apply for an Aspire experience? Tell us your best memory from your Aspire experience.
Aspire is more than just a week with some of the most successful entrepreneurs and best Ivy League professors. It is a community of people with different backgrounds that all share the same core values. This is amazing for many reasons. Not only that you can always request feedback (this was helpful for me) or find out a different set of opinions on actually any topic, but you can also bound friendships with people you actually resonate with.
Even if it might sound odd, my favourite memory from Aspire was the last day of the program. I had a feeling that the way I bonded with my colleagues will results in long lasting friendships, and I can say I was right.
8) What is that one book that has influenced you the most?
“Ego is the Enemy” by Ryan Holiday. Once you start measuring yourself against your potential, you will be on the way towards the best version of yourself.
It is impossible for anyone to begin to learn that which he thinks he already knows. (Epictetus)