Open letter to students

An open letter to students on building resilience during hard times from Riipen CEO and Co-Founder Dana Stephenson.
May 12, 2020
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RE: Building resilience during hard times

Dear students,

I am deeply moved to have so many of you reach out to Riipen to express your concerns and your desperation
about the current situation. I know how terrifying it must feel to be looking out at your future job prospects and
wondering what this next year will hold for you. The uncertainty you are experiencing at this moment is
unprecedented, but uncertainty can also create room for opportunity. There are generations of students before
you who have felt the same apprehension when looking at the labour market and trying to find their place within it. 

Not too long ago I was also a student. My colleagues and I experienced the same feeling of unease; to a
lesser degree but the same sense of dread when trying to filter through jobs. We sent resumes into a black
hole and applied for everything and anything with no clear sense of what we might want to do. Luckily for me,
during my 4th year of university, I was in an entrepreneurship class that changed my life. I founded Riipen out
of a frustration with the lack of opportunities to apply what I was learning in the classroom to something that
felt real. My business partner and I knew there was a better way to do things - a way to connect in-class
theory and practical experience to give students a better chance at succeeding. At the time, all we had was
a dream that no student would have to graduate without getting the experience they needed to get a job
they loved. 

Finding our footing was not easy. We stumbled into entrepreneurship and there were many times when
the future seemed uncertain. There were times when we failed and times when we thought that Riipen
might not make it. You will also experience ups and downs throughout your career. The key is to understand
what drives you. To do that, you need to start having experiences. My advice to all of you is to take this
time to explore what you want to do with your careers, take on new challenges, talk to industry professionals,
look for jobs in fields you may not have considered, do projects, take on gig work, and, most importantly,
invest in yourselves. 

I hope that in telling you my story you will find reassurance that although there are ups and downs in everyone's
career, opportunities will come. My team at Riipen and I are always working on your behalf to make sure that
the opportunities you have tomorrow are better than the ones you had today. We want every one of you to
have the careers you want and to have equal opportunity to pursue them regardless of what background you
come from. 

If you had your internship or placement canceled or have a story to tell, we are here to listen. Tweet at us or
reach us on LinkedIn using #NoStudentLeftBehind. You can also submit your story to our google form HERE.
Over the next few months we will be sharing your stories to our community of investors, companies, nonprofits,
and higher education to remind everyone that investing in students affects all of us. 

Riipen is and always will be a company for students. #NoStudentLeftBehind. Follow along with us as we
continue our journey to give 1,000,000 students experience by 2025. 


Dana Stephenson
Co-Founder & CEO

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