Stepping up to the challenges ahead || Reflection

Retracing my steps

This quote summarizes my experience with Tech Trek perfectly. Thinking back to our first meeting in November, I was extremely overwhelmed by just the deliverables. A book during winter break? Twitter? Blog posts? Readings? Discussion-based classes? Presentations? I wasn’t sure about this high level of commitment for a class so out of my curriculum, given an already packed schedule all the way until graduation. I felt I wasn’t right for this class, later learnt being called “the imposter syndrome”, a feeling shared by plenty of our BC alums arriving at their first jobs or going into a new industry.

As we delved more and more into the topics, I found myself more comfortable speaking in class, spending time on Twitter, reading about new technology and their social impacts. I have watched more TED talk for this class than in my entire life! At some point, I became somewhat obsessed with this class. I would prioritize Tech Trek work over others, would spent so many hours on blog posts and would click on Twitter the first thing I unlocks my phone everyday. A principle I have for myself is “Changing ‘I have to’ to ‘I want to’.” and Tech Trek was the second class at BC that I was willing and excited to study actively. ( Spoiler alert: the first one was Cell Biology) The reason I knew this is because I was excited for our weekly meeting in Cushing, and when it was over, I was looking forward to the next. And Wednesdays were hard for me: 3 hours of classes before Tech Trek, 1 hour after followed by another 2 hours of dance. In conclusion, I was very passionate about this class and was even more excited to go on our field trip to San Fran and Palo Alto.

The moment when I realized Tech Trek has changed my perspectives was in the Startup Career Fair. I actually didn’t have much intention to ask about internships or jobs, but I remember going up to the tables and just ask the representatives questions about startups or incubators based on what we learnt in class and my own research. I started asking questions that in the beginning I didn’t even think to ask.

Following their steps

If you want me to name one thing that amazed me most on this trip, I would say it’s the power of BC network. I know the greatness of BC network is stressed time after time, but I have not heard of it until Endeavor this past winter break. I remember someone we visited on our trip commented on how they don’t want to network just for the sake of networking. I certainly share the feeling. The more we hear about how someone got a job from a friend’s friend’s cousin’s cousin, the more critical I am of the networking. On one side, it makes me question the value of friendship. If the friends we make are just someone that we can use in the future, is this true friendship? (Sorry this sounds so negative) On the other side, hearing stories about networking and reaching out has cleared a troubling confusion in my head. Reaching out to people is nothing scary. The worst they can do is ignore you, and the potential benefits are limitless. In fact, after the first few days in San Fran, I decided that I would reach out to some BC alumni working at a pharmaceutical company in Boston that I visited during Endeavor. And I did!

Something else I learned is that good presenting/communication skills not only engages the audience and also leads to a meaningful conversation. Thinking back to certain visit at Airbnb (cough), Veem (cough), Wepay (cough) …

One step at a time

Still suffering from spring break withdrawal syndrome, unfortunately, we have to go back to normal life. But life never feels normal again after this amazing journey. I learned how to use LinkedIn! (woo!) I started to pay attention to what’s happening in the world and voice my opinions on them. I learnt how to ask questions, especially those ones that in the beginning I didn’t even think to ask. Unlike some people, I don’t feel the urge to move to San Francisco and join a startup. Instead, I want to calm myself down and keep focus; at the same time, knowing there are plenty of opportunities out there, whether in bio-related fields or completely different industries, whether in Boston, San Francisco or any part of the world.

A big thank you from everyone that made this class and this trip possible! Truly an experience of a lifetime.

Last but not least, a little game for everyone. These are a few of the pictures I took on the trip. Do you know where they are from?

5 thoughts on “Stepping up to the challenges ahead || Reflection

  1. Nice post Melanie! I liked the photo series you added at the end, it makes for a really fun look back at the memories. I think we’re all having withdrawal symptoms at this point!

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  2. Thank you Melaine for adding value to the trip! Your reflection from “I have to” to “I want to” really speaks to me. TechTrek definitely makes my career-seeking-path more nature and comfortable. While we were asking questions we “didn’t even think to ask before the trip”, we were actually exploring a new dimension of ideas. 😜 (BTW, I know where you took all of those pictures. It’s on your Ins.)

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  3. Thank you Melanie for making this trip more enjoyable! It was great to read about your takeaways. I am a big fan of the turning “I need to” into “I want to” attitude. I should try and use that in my own life. I hope you hear back from the pharmaceutical company! Also, that last picture is really well done!

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  4. Love the pictures! It was such a great experience to go on this trip with you and I loved hearing your perspective (as a fellow A&S-er) on all the companies and conversations. I think it’s great how you bring your passion for biology & biochemistry together with technology and your takeaways from that.

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