The following is a guest post from Syracuse University Freshman Moné Clark.
Day three of four – spring break in Silicon Valley. For a quick rundown of today’s agenda, we visited Facebook, Google, Ask.com, and had lunch with some Syracuse alumni. Sounds cool right? You have no idea! Today was extremely exciting because we got to see two sides of the spectrum: The major companies with a lot of people behind them giving their little individual pieces, and then the major company with a small amount of people giving their own whole pieces. Ask.com is the latter of the two. Not only do they have a much more corporate feel, they are an extremely smaller company number wise. This is beneficial being that everything you do will be noticed and you can get to know everyone at a more personal level. Facebook and Google on the other hand are on a much larger scale and I doubt an employee knows everyone else who works there. However, some of the benefits of having this large scale is the amount of creativity is non-stop and the number of opportunities continuously grow. Meeting with 5 of the ask.com employees, they expressed their love for their job and how you really have to love what you do to work for them. During Google’s tour and lunch date I realized that the employees are really lucky. However, each of these people are needed. Google wants their employees to feel at home so that they can do their job and do it well. Seeing a large-scale versus small-scale company truly shed light on their differences but also their similarities. Both companies involve a lot of teamwork and innovation.
Another fabulous part of today was having dinner with the SU alum. This was such an amazing and invaluable experience. To sit and speak with alum that have similar educational backgrounds as us, some well into their careers and some transitioning, was absolutely amazing. Dinner started off a little slow with everyone introducing themselves trying to get a little more comfortable. Next thing you knew we were all moving around the table, both students and alum, sharing information and advice. The most relatable alum to me was Phil Kaplan. He has had a lot of experiences and gave me some good first step advice. For example, he told me to stay in Information Technology for it is very useful and it is still a growing area. We had planned on heading back to our hotel at a certain time but did not leave until an hour and a half later. I hope this gives you some sort of idea of the engagement involved in the dinner.
As a freshman in college, I am still unsure of my exact career path. I am slowly falling in love with IT although I am not really a technical person. IT teaches more than just coding and I will definitely continue to pursue this major because of its benefits. Based on all of the useful advice I have received and seeing these companies, I am more determined to do better academically and definitely more confident in making connections. Maybe Spring Break in Silicon Valley is the motivation I’ve been looking for…