Immersive Learning

By Devin Merz

Stepping out of the classroom and into the minds of some of the top startups and investors in Silicon Valley was an immersive, inspiring and reconfirming experience. The atmosphere at each of the companies was relaxed and professional. Employees were able to create their own workspace in the open layout and find inspiration all around them. I was told that we can map out our ideal career and all that we want in our head, but in real life, it won’t ever look that way. It is all about self-discovery. The truth of the matter is that you need to be a good learner and be willing to continually grow and understand, often taking on the roles that allow you to learn the most. It is not a bad thing to think you know what you want and have a “dream” career. But without learning and trying new things you may be limiting yourself to the potential you possess. Intellectual curiosity is essential to the start-up community, and looking for opportunities everywhere is essential to personal growth. This advice was incredibly inspiring to me as I am graduating soon and often get nervous because I am not absolutely positive what I want to do upon graduation. It was reconfirming because being an entrepreneurship major I know I would love to own my own business. The ecosystem of the startup world was something that I loved and felt passionate about learning on this trip. Being immersed in the culture of these businesses and hearing from the owners and employees inside of them was motivation to continue to invest in myself so that I may be in a similar position one day.

Hands-on-experience and communication with those who are actually doing these things is real life learning, as opposed to just reading a textbook or hearing a lecture, which can be hard to relate to. It is seeing and asking the real questions, learning in a way that transcribes easier into the professional world and work life after college. Experiential learning sticks with you longer and teaches you more in a few short days than most can learn after months in a classroom.

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