As a member of the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics’ Class of 2023, Michael Meola, an entrepreneurship major with a minor in educational studies from Cranford, New Jersey, has demonstrated remarkable dedication and resilience during his time at UD.
In this profile, Meola shares his favorite UD memories, how he has changed during his time at UD and his plans following graduation.
Lerner: How do you think you have changed from your first semester at UD to now?
Meola: From my first semester I have become a completely different person. In my four years at UD I have become a person who seeks out challenges and things out of my comfort zone with the goal of learning and growing. I have realized, accepted and become comfortable with the fact that there will always be more to learn and I can learn from anyone. This has made my connection with everyone I meet much more positive and meaningful.
Lerner: What have been some of the challenges you have faced during your college experience and how did you overcome them?
Meola: Being an entrepreneurship student, one of the unique things that I was able to participate in was working on my own startup. This means that in addition to the natural challenges and failures that students encounter throughout their experience, I have also experienced the challenges and especially failures that come with being an entrepreneur. It has taught me to rely on others when I need to as well as the fact that failure is inevitable and does not mean I myself am a failure. A great Winston Churchill quote that I heard to reflect this is, “Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”
Lerner: What was your favorite signature UD experience and why?
Meola: It’s difficult to pick one, but my top two have to do with my involvements. First, being on the executive board of the club baseball team has been extremely fun and rewarding, especially during our trip to the regional tournament last year and being the 10th-ranked team in the country. The relationships I formed on the team are ones that I will cherish and maintain for the rest of my life. The other is leading the Venture Development Center community sessions, which is a group of students who are either working on their own startups or are interested in entrepreneurship that come together and help, support, and learn from each other. Being able to lead this group of incredibly intelligent, driven students has really helped me understand my passion for helping and teaching others as well as how I can turn it into a career.
Lerner: What does being a “Lifelong Lerner” mean to you?
Meola: Being a “Lifelong Lerner” means creating the life you desire for yourself using the resources at your fingertips and what you learned here at UD. It means being confident enough to be able to create value for your community around you, while also being humble enough to understand that the journey of learning never ends.
Lerner: What advice would you give to incoming freshmen to make the most out of their college experience?
Meola: The best advice I can give to freshmen is to get involved in RSO’s, communities, teams, etc. as soon as you can once on campus. Do things that you enjoy to supplement your classes and throw yourself into situations that make you uncomfortable. This is where the most growth will happen, and you will be shocked at the amazing things you’ll be able to do.
Lerner: Did you have a Lerner professor or staff member that had a big impact on your UD experience?
Meola: Vince DiFelice has been far and away the most impactful person I have met in my four years at UD. He has transcended the role of being a professor and has become a mentor, advisor, life coach, and trusted confidante to me and everyone he teaches. Being able to learn from and work with Vince has been one of the great honors I have had at UD. Not to mention he teaches students about entrepreneurship in such a way that not only makes the content clear but instills confidence in them that they too can engage in entrepreneurship.
Lerner: What are your plans following graduation?
Meola: I am going to be a high school business teacher at Matawan Regional high school in Matawan, New Jersey.