Attending Grace Hopper was all at once exciting, exhilarating and intimidating. When faced with really successful peers, you have two choices. You can cower in fear at their awesomeness, or you can learn by example. Grace Hopper gave me an awesome opportunity to learn by example. It also helped me to realize that I had been approaching my computer science education in the wrong way. I am aiming to become more of an innovator and less of a follower in both my classes, and my independent projects.
Today, I got a response from one of the companies I had interviewed at on the previous day, Dow Chemical. The news was all at once exciting and terrifying. My interviews had been awesome, although I had never done an interview for a technical job, so I didn’t know what to expect. However, everyone at the conference who was doing interviews was very friendly. We also got to go to more seminars that were focused on individual women’s research.
Zanele: Day 2: More Advice
Today, my favorite experience was going to the secrets of success seminar. It was a great opportunity to get advice in a nonconventional way. In my hotel, when I got home, I created a playlist with all of the songs that she used to give advice, to help me to keep those things in mind when things get a bit difficult. I also attended the Women of Under-represented Groups luncheon. It was really awesome to see so many black women at the conference, and get advice from them. While I had previous met some awesome women at the Women of Underrepresented groups reception, this was a more focused and personal atmosphere. I was incredibly inspired by the woman that spoke was a researcher for IBM Research. She did research that was inspired by her own experiences. She researched about how to increase access to everyday things for blind people. She helped me to realize that I can use my own experiences to help other people in our society who face similar difficulties.
Zanele: Day 1: It begins
My first day at Grace Hopper was a bit of a whirlwind. I woke up late, and took a taxi to the airport, where luckily my flight was delayed. Once we arrived, it was immediately time to go to the conference. Before arriving at the conference, I had been working on my resume for the past month. So, when our first seminar was about creating a technical resume, I immediately knew that this would be an awesome experience. Being around so many successful women was a great opportunity to get applicable advice. That night was the opening of the career fair. It was at once overwhelming and exciting. I had never really considered working for a corporation, and had always figured I would go into working for a nonprofit or do research. However, going to the conference opened my eyes to the many different opportunities that companies can offer graduates. From company to company the experiences seemed unique, and I realized that the overarching word “industry” is actually a collection of really unique companies.
Zanele: Getting Ready
Before arriving at Grace Hopper, I did a lot of anxious awaiting. I went to the career center to get help with creating a resume, and looked at all of the different career opportunities. I looked through the schedule, and was eager to attend the women of underrepresented groups seminar. I also looked at all of the different companies that would be attending to see who seemed aligned with my interests.