Name: Mitchell Giese
Type of Project: Artistic and Creative Endeavors
- Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project. Write two or three sentences describing the main activities your STEP Signature Project entailed.
My project was to travel to and attend Google Cloud Next ’19, a developer conference in San Francisco, CA. There, I joined some of the brightest minds in tech for three days of networking, learning, and problem solving. I connected with IT professionals and executives across industries while engaging in deep technical content and hands-on learning. I also spent a few extra days exploring the city and culture of the Bay Area. After the conference I traveled to Los Angeles to catch up with family and learn about their transition out to the West Coast after graduation.
- What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project? Write one or two paragraphs to describe the change or transformation that took place.
This year I have been struggling trying to figure out where I want to end up after graduation. I have spent my entire life in Columbus, but the past year has really opened my eyes to opportunities beyond state lines. Specifically, I have been interested in what it might be like to live and work on the West coast, and this was a chance for me to spend over a week out there essentially by myself. What I found was a diverse culture of amazing people who share many of my ambitions, an uncompromising lifestyle that balances pleasure with technical excellence, and a limitless ceiling for growth as I chase my ever-expanding career goals. I think the words of one executive I met on the trip embody my transformation best. In the airport listening to me talk about my trip and my dreams he said, “I don’t think Ohio is big enough for you.” This trip confirmed feelings that I have been struggling with for a long time and I finally feel confident making the move out West when the time comes.
- What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature Project led to the change/transformation that you discussed in #2, and how did those affect you? Write three or four paragraphs describing the key aspects of your experiences completing your STEP Signature Project that led to this change/transformation.
There were 3 main experiences that came together to form my transformation: the people, the city, and the lifestyle. I like to think that Columbus is one of the more diverse cities in Ohio, and yet it doesn’t even compare to the diversity of people I met on this trip. I stayed in an international hostel in San Francisco that gave me the opportunity to meet people from all around the world. For many travelers, the West coast is their first stop and I absolutely loved meeting people from Germany, France, Sweden, Norway and so many more places on my trip. Beyond international travelers, the city is a hotspot for technology and innovation that lures brilliant minds and creative problem solvers. I met with people at all stages of their career journey from executives to new startups and hearing their stories has helped to shape my own.
The second experience that contributed to my transformation was the city. During my time on the coast I spent most of my days in San Francisco or Los Angeles. These are cities teeming with activities and opportunity and there was no shortage of things to do. At night there were concerts, a great bar and restaurant scene, and sponsored networking and development events. During the day, I got to spend time in Chinatown, walk down along the pier, take a run by the beach, visit historic landmarks, and watch the sun set over the water. As I walked through downtown San Francisco, every other building belonged to some company that has made a huge impact on the technology and software industry. People that I met at dinner or in an uber all had connections to the industry inside an out of the city. There is no place in the world more concentrated with talent and ideas around technology than San Francisco, and the culture of the city has grown and shaped to make it even more attractive to people like myself.
The third experience I just generalize as the lifestyle. “Lifestyle” was a word I found myself using a lot on the trip. “I could get used to this lifestyle” I would tell my friends and family because it really felt like I was living a completely different life. It’s hard to put into words but I became a different person on the west coast. A combination of the great weather, the liveliness of the city, the passion of the people, and the oodles of things to do had me waking up refreshed and ready to tackle the day head on. I found myself more motivated than ever to pursue personal projects and ideas I had been sitting on for months. I was having fun every day and night without compromising my other obligations. When talking to my family about their move out west, it became clear that they make the most out of every day they are given. The beaches, the mountains, the desert, and the city are all within a few hours of one another and it empowers you to make every day and weekend one to remember.
- Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life? Write one or two paragraphs discussing why this change or development matters and/or relates to your academic, personal, and/or professional goals and future plans.
This experience has come at a very important moment in my life. I am only one semester (at a maximum one year) away from graduation and I am preparing to make a few decisions that are hugely consequential to who I become over the next few years. From a young age I have known what I want to do with my life and what I had to do to get there. But now, on the cusp of graduation and true adulthood, I don’t think I have ever been more nervous to take these next steps. This trip was the reassurance I needed that everything will be alright. Spending a week in the city alone, networking with other professionals at the conference, and talking with family about their transition after graduation was exactly what I needed to know I can get through this next year. People have told me the biggest difference between those working out west and in Columbus is their adversity to risk, their willingness to jump ship and try something new. I have been asking myself this year if I have that same adversity, if I have what it takes to leave behind everything safe that I know here in Columbus for a new adventure. I finally am comfortable saying that I do, and I am not afraid of wherever this next year takes me.