Last Spring Break, I was on the immersion-course trip, Spring Break in Silicon Valley (or SBinSV), a once-in-a-lifetime experience specially designed for Syracuse University students. Now the iSchool is accepting applications for the next Spring Break in Silicon Valley, to take place in 2016 (Apply Here).

During my time on SBinSV, we visited companies like Twitter, Dropbox, LinkedIn, Evernote, Box, and Aruba Networks, to name just a few. We visited companies on an average rate of six different firms a day. We spent some quality–I repeat, ‘QUALITY’ time–with the people who built those companies.

This stimulating experience made me think about the efforts and talent that go behind creating these companies. Some of the key takeaways from my SBinSV experience were:

1. Companies are run by REAL people
I have been following the startup scene, and I follow a lot of successful individuals and entrepreneurs in this industry. These people hold a larger-than-life image in my mind. But after meeting, interacting with, and asking them questions in person (thanks to SBinSV), I realized during this trip that all these larger- than-life figures are humans after all! They become ‘personalities’ due to hard work, and working on something that they are really passionate about. Working in the culture where innovation is the key, they transcend standard boundaries and become the best version of themselves.

2. With every problem comes a startup
The companies we visited ranged from startups to big multinational businesses. They are all in the business to solve unique problems. I realized that with every problem comes a startup, and also that the approach to solve problems creates unique companies with different personalities and perspectives.

3. Knowing different perspectives is invaluable
But the most important learning experience was getting to know the perspectives that my fellow SBinSV-mates had regarding the companies we visited. This group comes from a wide variety of experiences and they have diverse aspirations. Understanding their views and contemplating them has given me the courage to prioritize what is important for me and how would I like to shape my career.

Overall this trip was an eye-opening one in many regards. I have really come to appreciate the culture in the [San Francisco] Bay area and appreciate different perspectives.

Now, it’s time to apply for the 2016 trip.

Here is your chance to have a rocking spring break. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by!