Emily Matthews

While preparing for San Francisco and doing research about the companies and alumni, I had a lot of doubt about myself. Over the summer, my original life’s plan went down the drain and after I had no idea how I wanted to pursue my future making me feel overwhelmed and pressured. I kept telling myself I was way over my head and not smart enough to be a part of the TechNext Team. I was dreadfully nervous about getting out there and completely making a fool out of myself in front of all these very intelligent people and letting my classmates and professor down. I had a decent grasp on some technical terms but I knew it wouldn’t compare to the knowledge they had. I was completely out of my comfort zone. Little did I know that a small step away from my security blanket would completely change my perspective.

After this trip, I could not believe the way I felt about myself. With not only gaining extremely valuable information about the tech industries and startup companies, I came out of San Francisco feeling like a better version of myself. Being able to leave Michigan and see the world beyond the Midwest was extremely inspiring to me. It made me realize there is so much more for me than Kalamazoo and I have so much more potential than I ever could have imagined. While out there, I was exposed to job opportunities I didn’t even know were available to me and made realize I am an intelligent, strong woman and I can do what I set my mind too. Sometimes all it takes is a change of scenery and the right people supporting you to really make a difference in someone’s life. And I believe that is what this trip did for me. I came back to Michigan with a mission to excel and lead my own path with much more confidence than I had before. This trip has completely changed my mindset and I am extremely grateful for what it has done for me and cannot wait to see what the next one has in store for me and my fellow classmates.

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