It’s officially 5 weeks until AfroTech and I couldn’t be more excited. For those of you who don’t know, AfroTech is a 2 day conference in Silicon Valley. Founders and employees from some of the largest companies and tech start ups are coming together to talk about their success stories and how they are growing their businesses. 2 full days of networking, workshops and talks from the best to do it, all while being in San Francisco compltetely sold me. I thought it would be cool to do like a mini “series” on AfroTech because putting everything in just one post would probably end up being a hour plus read. So with that being said this will be the first post on how I’m prepping for the conference.
Aside from having a ticket to the conference and having my plane and hotel booked, my biggest concern has been me. When I say that I mean who am I? What do I do? What are my skill sets? From the start, I told myself I am not flying all the way to San Francisco to be unprepared and have nothing to say for myself besides I’m a college student. I’ve been building my portfolio, pushing myself to keep up with this blog and I’ve been working on my networking skills every chance I get.
A trip to San Francisco is not a cheap one, especially from New York. Luckily Blavity (the creators of AfroTech) teamed up with Google and are doing a scholarship for students who need help funding their trip. They also have discounted conference tickets for students who use their university email when purchasing their ticket.
Flight and Hotel Accommodations
Without hotels and flights, trips wouldn’t be a thing so this was something I had to get on fast. I tracked prices for a couple of days before making my pick. For the hotel, I made sure it was close enough to the conference so that my Uber rides don't break my bank. As far the airline I chose, I couldn't be my usual cheap self because this is a trip I'm doing on my own. I don't want to have to deal with any bootleg airline and their trash service while I'm traveling alone. Luckily I was still able to find a good deal because I booked early.
Since I will be missing 2 full days of class, I made sure to let my professors know ahead of time. I also checked for any assignments or test that will be due while I'm away. I actually won't be missing much while I'm gone so it's lit.
Last on my list is to just be prepared overall. Business cards, resumes, a bomb ass patent leather folder with my name embroidered on it to hold my documents, outfits and anything else that plays a part in how I'm going to present myself. Once the panels and workshops are posted, I plan on choosing the ones I'm going to attend to plan out my days. First impressions mean everything. Especially at a conference with over 1500. The goal is to standout. Me taking this last month to prepare is crucial because I definetly have to be on my A game.
For the next 36 days, I'm going to have to step outside my comfort zone and sacrifice my sleep and sanity to make sure I get the most out of this experience. I've been to my fair share of conferences and networking event to know my weak spots but I'm confident that by the end of this month, I'll be set.