I’m only 23…is it really even possible to find my passion this young?
Yes. Yes it is. Enter Nick Meyer, my brother. Tomorrow is his 21st birthday (OMG how did that happen?!) and this post is dedicated to him.
Since we went to all of the same schools, I set some standards for him to live up to. On the first day of class, any of my previous teachers would see “Meyer” on the roll call and would turn to Nick and ask, “Is your sister Tess Meyer?” As I earned straight As and was a generally quiet and pleasant student, I inadvertently set the bar slightly higher for my brother. Luckily, he strove to meet my standard and lived up to the Meyer name in high school.
When Nick was finishing his first year of college, I was finishing my last. And, as I was finishing a year early, Nick set out to do the same. Well, again he met my standard, and will be graduating from the University of North Dakota this December in his third year. My parents say he is graduating early because I put the idea in his head. I say he is graduating early to escape North Dakota ASAP.
Despite the similarities in our educational timelines, there has never been jealously or competition between my brother and I…except for one small thing…
I am insanely jealous that my brother has already discovered his life’s passion. And he discovered it at 11-years-old.
I mean, who does that?!
Nick discovered his passion for aviation when his 7th grade teacher Stacey, a pilot on the side, offered him the opportunity to spend a Saturday flying around in Cessnas with an aviation group she lead: Young Eagles.
Instantly Nick was hooked. But unfortunately, at 11, he did not met the minimum age requirement to join Young Eagles. Still determined, Nick set out to enroll in private pilots ground school courses at our local adult school (where I had been taking American Sign Language classes after school at the age of 10). Now 13, the adult school told Nick he was too young to take classes. With a little persuasion, our mom was able to strike a deal with the adult school, Nick could attend as long as a parent joined the class too. For the first time ever, my brother and father were peers.
Now that he was working toward his private pilots license at just 13, Nick wanted in on our local Aviation Explorers, which would give him the chance to actually fly. Again, he was too young. Again, he wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. After securing himself an interview with the founder of our local chapter, he was able to convince her of his passion and gained early entry. Within a year, he was Vice President. Once that termed ended, he was elected President…twice. Nick logged over 300 volunteer hours with the Explorers and raised over $2,000 for his chapter through charity events he organized and ran. The money he and his chapter raised helped fund the purchase of a Cessna 152, which the students could use for flight training.
On his 16th birthday, Nick successfully solo flighted. The best part of the story is that Nick did not yet have his drivers license, so our mom had to drive him to the airport so he could fly a plane by himself.
On his 17th birthday, the earliest date possible, Nick received his Private Pilots Certificate. [He has since achieved his commercial pilots certificate and seaplane rating.] Looking toward college, Nick set his sights on the University of North Dakota (UND) which has a nationally ranked aviation program. It was the only university Nick applied to and he was offered early admission. We all went out for a week the summer before Freshman year would start so Nick could complete UND’s Aerospace Camp, which, as he says, “sealed the deal.” Now, three years later, Nick is going through aerobatics training and is trying to earn a coveted spot on the UND Aerobatic Team before he graduates early (Update – he got the spot). Oh and did I mention that while working between one and two jobs, Nick has maintained over a 3.7 GPA and is on The Dean’s list, the Honor Roll, and has been awarded D.J. Robertson Academic Award. And it doesn’t stop there.
After four years of diligent work, Nick earned the Congressional Award the summer of 2014. Along with 150 other Americans, Nick was awarded a Gold Medal (and a Silver and Bronze as well) in Washington D.C.
The U.S. Congress presents this prestigious award to young Americans for outstanding achievement in community service, personal development, physical fitness, and exploration.
So basically, Nick got a Gold Medal and a ceremony for doing what he loves.
Working toward a double major at UND in Air Traffic Control and Aviation Management, Nick wants to become an Air Traffic Controller and professional pilot.
Damn. Let me say it again, DAMN. Nick Meyer is on fire! Can you see why I am jealous?! Here I am searching for what I am passionate about and trying to figure out how I can make it into a commercially-sustainable business and my brother just hits the nail right on the head at 11. Cue eye roll.
Well, my envy comes out of pure respect and admiration for my brother. Nick, you have accomplished so much in just 21 years of life and I cannot wait to see what this next chapter, as a college graduate, has in store for you.
At what age did you find your passion? Or are you still searching like myself? Let us know below.