Meet Justin Nguyen: Founder of the #GetChoGrindUp Movement and Co-Host of the Young and D.U.M.B. Podcast

Justin Nguyen is a second semester junior at the University of Central Florida majoring in finance. When he's not studying, interning, working, or attending school club and events, Justin dedicates his time towards growing the #GetChoGrindUp movement that he founded as well as running the podcast Young and D.U.M.B. that he created. With help from his girlfriend and #GetChoGrindUp Chief Communication Officer Michelle Bultmann and his childhood friend and Young and D.U.M.B. Co-Host Gary Pershad, Justin's able to pursue his passions in the creative world while reaping the rewards of inspiring and helping others through sharing multiple stories and experiences.

What is the #GetChoGrindUp movement and how did it start? I started saying “#GetChoGrindUp” on Snapchat when I’d be studying at midnight. People started liking it, so I kinda transformed it into a movement. I’d always hear people complain and say, “Oh Justin, you always get good grades because you’re smart,” or, “Oh Justin, you get all these internships because they’re handed to you,” but that’s not the case. I always thought that if people put in the time and the work, then you can do what you want to do, so that’s where the #GetChoGrindUp mentality and movement began.

What is your podcast Young and D.U.M.B. about? As millennials, we’re often given the stereotype of being young and dumb, but my Co-Host Gary and I are trying to change that. We turned dumb into an acronym, where D.U.M.B. stands for Dedicated, Up and coming, Motivated, and Bold. With most podcasts, you’ll find that the hosts interview people who have already made it big. But on our podcast, we focus on getting the in-time story where people share their insight and their journey on what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. On Young and D.U.M.B., we interview people who are young specialists in their field or people who are growing to be a specialist in their field.

What inspired you to start this podcast? I was just hanging out one day searching for people who were trying to grow in the world, and I couldn't find anyone. Every interview I found was about older people who have already made it. I really wanted to find out more about people’s stories and their journeys in life, so I FaceTimed Gary, who was studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain at the time, and I told him my idea for the podcast. We didn’t have a name at first, but we had an idea. The name Young and D.U.M.B. came in the next month or so, and we decided to co-host the podcast together.

How did you even begin on starting a project this big? The best way to start something is to just do it. It seems so simple, but I’ve noticed that people don’t like to do simple things. People tend to want to do steps four, five, and six, but they don’t want to learn and do steps one, two, and three. So, the way we went about starting this podcast was to start simple. We did all the research, and we thought it’d be easy, but it turned out to be a lot more work than we anticipated. We needed to set up a website, and we needed to find people who wanted to be a part of the podcast, which was tough because people our age don’t really listen to podcasts or don’t know where to find them. Everyone loves our podcast idea when they hear it, but it was hard at first to get people to listen. Now, we're growing. Our network is getting bigger, and the whole process has been great.

What is it like running your own podcast? I’ve had four internships and two jobs in my college career so far in all types of industries: startups, corporate, paid, unpaid-- anything, you name it. But creating and co-hosting Young and D.U.M.B. has been the most fun I’ve ever had. It’s been so great just getting to know other people and their stories. And it’s the best to hear people’s feedback on our podcast. For example, we had a podcast episode about depression, and we had a lot of people come to us saying that they loved the episode, and they love that we bring to light things that aren’t really talked about. You just can’t put a price on knowing that what you’re doing has helped people, and knowing that that’s the case is just so rewarding.

What do you want your audience to gain from listening to this podcast? I want people to know that they’re not alone. We’ve had a podcast episode about immigrants coming to the United States, like Bilal Afolabi from Togo, who’s now killing it in the financial world. We’ve had Brendan Cutuli come in for a podcast episode to talk about depression and the importance of talking to someone about it in order to get out of that depression. There are so many different stories out there, especially here in college. You could be the academic student, the person who parties all the time, the athlete-- you could be anyone, but it’s important for people to know that there are always people around you that you can connect with. It's important to know that you are never alone.

What are your personal goals for this podcast? It would be great to make a living off something I love doing. I love numbers and I love the whole financial field, but I don’t necessarily love going into the office and being confined to the corporate world. I feel like with finance, you have to abide by a strict code. You have to dress a certain way and talk a certain way. With this podcast, I’m able to express myself, and I can be myself. I can interview people that I want to, and I can talk the way that I want to. And it’s also really great to go through this journey with other people, like Gary and my girlfriend Michelle, because we all love what we do. I want to maybe turn this into an income one day, whether it’s speaking engagement, or whatever else that I’m passionate about, because I just love it so much.

What have you learned from doing this podcast? I’ve learned that you have a lot more time than you think you do. People always ask me how I balance everything given that I have two internships on top of being a part of clubs and doing well in school, so I ask them back how they audit their time. If you want to do better and be better, then you have to put in more time and effort. You have a lot of time as long as you orient it that way.

With so much going on with school, internships, and just about everything else that you do, how do you stay motivated? My parents’ journey as to how they came the United States keeps me motivated. If they can survive on a boat without any food and come to the United States and have the life that we have now, then why can’t I? And of course, another motivation of mine is happiness. I want to be happy, I want my girlfriend to be happy, I want my friends and family to be happy. In order for myself and for everyone around me to be happy, I need to be doing everything that I’m doing right now and continue doing it.

What’s your piece of advice for anyone who wants to pursue their passions? My advice would be is to just do it and to just do you. We’re in this crazy time in our life where we can take risks, but even with that, it’s important to know to not do anything you’ll regret. Start thinking about your goals five years from now and put in the work to meet those goals. It’s okay to make mistakes, but just try things out. If you fail, just know that you have plenty of opportunities ahead of you. And never let anyone else’s opinions affect you or stop you from doing what you want to do because this is your life.

Justin's passion and dedication for his line of work is without a doubt inspirational, but this is just the beginning. Him and his team are currently working towards creating even bigger projects, such as promotional videos, #GetChoGrindUp merchandise, and of course, more life-changing podcast episodes with a variety of new and exciting guests. Become inspired and tune in to the Young and D.U.M.B. podcast on iTunes or SoundCloud for new episodes every week, and follow the #GetChoGrindUp movement on the #GetChoGrindUp Website as well as on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook

All Photos Courtesy of Justin Nguyen