The Goldilocks Effect: How I Found a Learning Experience That's Just Right

(Joanna Vinick is a startup enthusiast who loves to learn, work hard, and help companies share their ideas and passion to consumers and businesses. She is in the Technical Marketing track at the Startup Institute Boston.)

I’d be the first to say that I’ve had an unusual educational career. I’ve transferred a few times, changed my major more times that I can count and have learned in every setting imaginable. Small classes and large classes.  Indoors and outdoors. In churches, museums, lecture halls, living rooms. Movie-based. Short story-based. I’ve been taught by Spielberg experts, Holocaust experts, graduate students and BBC radio hosts. Learned from rabbis, CEOs and TV producers. I’ve been extremely lucky during my college career, but never in my life have I been as turned on by what I’m learning as I am now—as a student of the Startup Institute Boston.

So what’s so different about SIB? Everything.


First of all, it’s collaborative. Within the first week, most of us had articulated that the culture of a startup was one of the most attractive aspects and SIB emulates that environment. We work through problems together, help each other learn, and bring our own unique perspectives to class every day with the goal of sharing and growing collectively.

The teachers. They are so much more than that—they are inspirations and mentors and role models and quite honestly the coolest people I have ever had the privilege of meeting (and that should carry weight since my background is in comedy and music production!). Our instructors make us laugh and teach us so much that our heads hurt at the end of the day. And that’s exactly why it’s amazing. We are learning so much in a very short amount of time, but instead of being overwhelming and exhausting, it’s exciting and energizing.

Whenever people ask me about the program I cannot say enough—most people have to physically stop me from raving about it. But the main thing I try and leave my listeners with is this: I’m 20 times smarter than I was 3 weeks ago, and that’s thanks to a lot of things but mostly, it’s the people. The curriculum is incredible. The environment is stimulating. But it’s the 61 other people in the room every day that makes SIB what it is—simply unbeatable. My peers are funny and smart and inspiring and passionate and hard-working and I am honored to call them my friends. Work should always be like this: throw the best and brightest into a room and watch us make magic.

That’s what I always wanted college to be— a place with passionate students, brilliant thought leaders and the opportunity to become the best possible version of myself. Come to think of it, why isn’t college more like this? Because if it had been, I never would have left.