I absolutely cannot believe I am writing my final blog post. After being assigned this, I sat here, staring at the screen, thinking about where to even begin. The friendships and mentorships (26 to be exact!) I formed on this trip, the knowledge and insight I gained, the excitement and passion this trip instilled in me – it is all indescribable.
Enter Cushing 208
I decided I would start by reading my intro blog post, written a mere three months ago. Reading it brought me back to the excitement of that first class. However, I recall walking out, with @abbykonkoly (surprise, surprise), incredibly overwhelmed. Similar to Michelle’s post, I felt like I didn’t belong. I was amazed at my classmates’ fervor and incredible passion for the tech world. It seemed like they knew everything. I started thinking maybe this whole tech thing wasn’t for me. After all, I’m only in Intro to Programming while everyone around me seems like they could build a computer if they wanted to!!
However, as the semester went by (and all too quickly), this class has given me something that I never ever thought it would. Through all the tweets, comments, readings, and blogs, I don’t think I have ever learned more in such a short amount of time. Ask me three months ago exactly how blockchain worked or even what venture capitalist firms did, and I could not have muttered a word. Terms like cryptocurrency or seed funding don’t even scare me anymore!! The preparation we had for this class is unbelievable and the hard work definitely payed off in the visits.
Enter San Fran
After landing in San Francisco, I could feel the class’s excitement. Playing “Easy Love” on the speaker on the bus was the beginning of it all – little did I know how close I would become with the people on that bus (cue tears). By eating at the first Dim Sum restaurant in the U.S. (so ~historical~) to HIKING the streets (might as well have been in the mountains!) to visiting Alcatraz, I can’t even express in words how grateful I am to have met all of you 26 lovely people. San Francisco was incredible, but exploring and experiencing it with this group is what made it so special. I told my parents I could see myself living there at some point in my life, but then I remembered I think the reason I loved it so much was because of the people surrounding me.
The people that we met with at these companies have inspired me in ways I didn’t think possible. Growing up, you always hear about this strange and distant land called Silicon Valley. You are told it is where dreams are both born and crushed. I really had no idea what to expect. Being immersed in Silicon Valley firsthand is an irreplaceable experience. I could feel a certain energy that pervaded through each company. No matter what the individual company’s values were or what its distinct culture involved, I could physically feel the drive and fervor in every single company. Their competitive spirit and internal motivation was inspiring. In my opinion, every single employee we met with truly believed in their company’s mission and that gave their job purpose. My worst fear in life is to fall into a job that I find meaningless. My goal is to make a difference in the world for the better. I want to add value to people’s lives and change them for the better. I felt this type of spirit in Silicon Valley and I admired this ambition immensely. The amount of power in Silicon Valley is actually unfathomable and it is the people in power of companies located there that determine how that power is utilized. I hope that these firms continue harnessing this power in a positive manner and I would love to be able to contribute someday.
Another major portion of this trip for me was being able to see strong females in the tech world. Meeting with Sophie Miller and Margaret Gould Stewart helped me realize that women can be successful in Silicon Valley, as well. There is obviously a stigma that STEM, and therefore Silicon Valley, is an area for men; however, witnessing them embody what it means to be a confident, successful female in the tech world was essential for me deciding I want to be in the tech world.
Enter emotions and sentimentality!
I definitely have always been hesitant about what I want to do (most of it having to do with my awful indecisive spirit). This trip solidified, however, that I want to do Information Systems and Marketing, but combine it with a minor in English. Hearing Sophie Miller, Stephen Lasky, and Margaret Gould Stewart, that the most important thing is to fill your life with whatever you are passionate about and that is all that matters. Everything else will find its way. I have applied this ideal not only to school, but to life. I just have to focus on what I love to do and give it everything I have. That is what makes a meaningful life and fills life with purpose.
The people on this trip have brought these ideals to life. I look up to each of you so much. You all are seriously going to change the world. Your positivity, work ethics, and zest for life are contagious. Professor Kane, Professor Doyle, and Kelsey – you are all such role models for each of us. I cannot thank you enough for guiding us through this once in lifetime experience. I’m reaaaalllly not one for being dramatic. And I’m always skeptical when people say something was truly life changing or life altering. BUT, for once, I’m going to go against that and I genuinely will always get to say that spring break of my sophomore year was life changing for me. The relationships I formed, the motivating people we encountered and learned from, and the beautiful city we explored are experiences that have changed the way I view tech, work, and honestly life, in general. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Feeling about that being the final dab: