Senior year is supposed to be the time that you celebrate your years of hard work, enjoy your remaining moments with the friendships you have forged, and coast to victory on your way to the graduation ceremony. As we all know, this was not to be one of those years. Vanderbilt was (un)lucky enough to have one of the earliest spring breaks in the country, meaning that when we came back to campus we didn’t even have a full day of classes before we were to be sent home, torn away from our classmates and plunged into the uncertainty of the Covid-19 crisis. It may seem like years ago, but at the beginning of March we hardly knew anything about the coronavirus. Since I had been keeping up with my family in China and tracking the progression, I knew enough to be able to advise my friends that we would not be coming back to school anytime soon and that, yes, this was serious business. After a week of tears, grief counseling, and long explanations, we finally got home to enjoy our new life of quarantine.
To be honest, the gravity of the situation did have me in a depressed mood for the better part of a month. However, I was able to forge forward by keeping busy. I had been working on a real estate flip project (which I just listed!) and was able to go work on that property. During the past year learning how to put together budgets and manage contractors, I was able to start a business doing remodels for other people as well. Luckily, then, I was able to keep busy managing projects and making money with minimal social contact to keep myself sane. While I had already learned basic carpentry, I even taught myself plumbing during this time and replaced an entire water supply line by myself. While taking the time to learn these physical skills, I also made sure to focus on my soft skills as well, continuing networking calls to fill up the interviews that had been put on hold due to the pandemic as well as taking real estate financial modeling courses online. Before you think I’m too diligent to be real, this all came during the time I was supposed to be doing my actual school classes. Vandy let us pass fail all of them without impacting our GPA or standing, so of course I took them all pass/fail! To me, the best parts of school had been taken away from me, so I wanted to focus my learning and time on things that would advance me in the further stages of my career and life.
Now that summer is here, the time I’ve taken to reflect and grow has really been a blessing for me to focus on developing meaningful relationships with the people I know and figuring out exactly what I want to do post-college. After selling homes as a residential agent during college, I have decided to transition to commercial real estate, more specifically developing multifamily housing and homes. I especially want to focus on creating affordable housing here in Nashville, which is essential to continuing to sustain our community. All of this requires a good understanding of construction, finance, and investing, so I would love to speak with anyone about real estate and how it works as an investment. My first investment property will be profitable, and Nashville is a great market that continues to grow. Thank you all for reading, and I hope you all continue to stay safe and be well!
Andy Zhu graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University in 2020, with degrees in Political Science and Public Health. He is currently a commercial real estate agent with Westgate Enterprises. In his spare time, Andy can be found playing piano or guitar, dancing salsa, or making homebrew mead, a type of wine made from honey. You can reach him at 615-521-8397 or Andrew.firstname.lastname@example.org