6 Lessons I Learned In San Jose This Weekend

Life Personal STEM Travel

Hello hello everyone!

Last weekend I had the privilege and opportunity of attending the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s annual STEM Summit, an opportunity for 100 of the brightest STEM scholars to join together for an unforgettable weekend-long series of events and networking sessions. In a few words, it was amazing, and was definitely the one I’ve enjoyed the most personally. I’m not sure if it was because I knew this would probably be my last one or if it was the fact that I came into it with a much more embracing attitude towards new friends and adventures, but whatever it was, it was re-energizing and just what I needed to kick start my semester. It was packed with insightful key note speakers, informative panels, and unforgettable networking sessions. As with every HSF event, my network family grew bigger, and I already miss all of it!

Through the conference I gained so much knowledge and learned how to frame new ideas through different perspectives, however the seven most important things I learned were through the quiet moment of reflection I had on the Uber back from the airport.

Life Is Only As Good As Your Mindset

Whenever I’d go to these conferences I’d stress myself out by thinking about the classes I missed and the amount of work I’d have to catch up on, however this time I kept a clear mind and embraced every new conversation and adventure without thinking twice. Your mind is a powerful tool in more ways thank you think. What you think and say have so much power over what you attract in your life. I started noticing a pattern in myself: I could be very pessimistic at times, and whenever I focused on the worst possible outcomes they would usually manifest themselves right in front of my eyes. This sounds meta right? But it doesn’t have to be that deep. If you go into a friendship or relationship or circumstance in your life expecting only the worst or radiating negative energy, you’ve already set yourself up for failure. Positivity isn’t always easy, but neither is dealing with the consequences of negativity.

The People You Surround Yourself With Reflect Who You Are

You know this already, but choose your friends wisely. During the conference I was surrounded by so many intelligent and passionately driven people of my age who have already achieved so much and didn’t plan to stop any time soon. Obviously I was beyond inspired, but at the same time I realized I was also the source of inspiration for others. Have you ever heard the saying “Someone else’s success is not your failure?” Choose kind and honest people who will appreciate your presence and feed into your dreams and aspirations, just as you will with them. Find your tribe and build each other up: celebrate each other’s successes, offer and accept support and feedback, share opportunities and motivation, and be there for each other when life gets tough. Life will get tough, but a strong support system will help you overcome any obstacle.

You’re Most Likely Underestimating Yourself

Having role models or people you aspire to emulate is important when you need a boost of motivation or are looking for guidance, however constantly comparing yourself to other people without realizing the value of what you do will be the death of you goals. We’re taught to be humble and work hard, but it’s important that you remember to celebrate yourself and your accomplishments once in a while. Even when our daily routine becomes monotonous, please don’t overlook or diminish the importance of all of your contributions to your community, your leadership roles or involvements, or the little victories you encounter on a daily basis. All of those little things matter. You matter. Don’t try to convince yourself or other people otherwise.

Swap Your Phone For A Good Book

From waiting on the train to trying to get myself to sleep, my phone is in my hand an embarrassingly amount of time. While being able to access almost anything on my phone allows me to complete certain tasks more effectively and on the go, my love of social media has definitely hindered my productivity and my ability to complete my to-do lists. Unfortunately, wasted time isn’t the only side effect of social media: anxiety, depression, and distracted thinking are all possible side effects of excessive social media use. In having conversations with different people I realized how much knowledge they shared and how eloquently they expressed their thoughts and opinions, something I myself had difficulty with. Social media has its benefits, but nothing is more enriching and satisfying than reading a new book and being pushed to question the world around you.

Actively Seek Out More Conversations

I love talking to people and hearing about their stories and thoughts, but sometimes I get so wrapped up in my own world and responsibilities that I forget to make time to interact with others. It can be tempting to push back calling a family member or a friend for another day, but the feeling you get after spontaneously striking up a conversation with the stranger sitting across from you at the coffee shop or next to you on the bus is unlike any other. You can learn so much from someone you don’t know or haven’t spoken to in a while, so never stop trying to foster different conversations. You never know what piece of knowledge, valuable advice, or great food recommendations you can receive.

Don’t Be Afraid To Shoot Your Shot

I don’t just mean romantically! This goes along with the lesson above, but it’s really important to put yourself out there and use conversation as a tool to brand yourself. Don’t be afraid to mention the projects you’re working on or what you want your next scheme to be, and be attentive to advice or feedback that other people bring up about themselves. This isn’t to say that every conversation should be viewed as a business opportunity, but as I mentioned before you never know what the person you’re speaking with can offer you just because you had the guts to share. The worst thing anyone can say is that they don’t have the time, or that they are not interested, but if you hadn’t tried in the first place you would’ve been stuck in the same spot. Don’t reject yourself before you give somebody else a chance to decide for themselves. Be proactive and chase your dreams!

“They Wouldn’t Be Called Hurdles If There Wasn’t A Way To Get Over Them”

Life will always give you a reason to question your goals or doubt your abilities no matter what road you choose. If you’re facing a barrier and have no idea how you’ll get through it, relax. It’s not the first time, and it won’t be your last, so take a deep breath and remember that you felt this exact same way the last time you faced your past challenge, yet you’re still here and are further ahead of the road than you expected. Don’t let the panic that comes with an obstacle blind you from the end goal. Give yourself time and space to think about the situation, and act accordingly without fear of what’s next.

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