Grace Hopper Celebration 2017

Grace Hopper Celebration of Women In Computing 2017 Orlando Florida

Good morning! This post was 100% supposed to go out yesterday, but there’s been a little bit of stuff going on in my personal life, and I just didn’t have the motivation to write this post on Monday. But here we are, so let’s get into it!

On October 3rd, I threw all my business casual outfits in a suitcase, Ubered for the first time to the airport, and hopped on a plane to Orlando, Florida. Well, we stopped in Charlotte for a bit, but we made it to Orlando eventually.

But Abigail, why did you go to Orlando??

If you haven’t been following this blog for the past few weeks, you probably don’t know that I was selected as one of 15 students from my university to attend this year’s Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. I attended last year, had an amazing time, and ever since that trip, I knew I was somehow going to make it to this year’s Grace Hopper Celebration. So this is a huge shoutout to my university for sending me to Orlando to be a part of this amazing experience.

I had some delicious food. Met some inspiring people. And drank way too much not-so-amazing coffee.

I love events like this because not only do I learn so much about myself and all that the world has to offer, but it gives me the amazing excuse to dress up and do my makeup. Dressing up is a very rare occasion for me, and actually wearing anything other than mascara and eyeliner is an even rarer occasion. But hey, I’m not complaining. I find it so fun and almost therapeutic to spend a lot of time getting ready for the day.

Sadly I didn’t get to make it to any of the gyms that I wanted to visit, but hey that’s cool. It saved me a bit of money anyways, haha. Okay, enough about dressing up, coffee, the gym, and food. Let’s get into this.

Wednesday’s Keynote

As I said earlier, the one great thing about conferences is getting to dress up and wear makeup, but that also means that you have to get up ridiculously early to do all that fun stuff. So, after a full day of traveling on Tuesday, I got up bright and early at 5:45 on Wednesday morning.

I brushed my teeth, did my hair, put on my makeup, threw on my new favorite pair of pants, and headed to the lobby for breakfast.

After last year’s fiasco of the badge pickup line being ridiculously long and missing the first portion of the opening keynote, we did everything in our power to avoid that. We met at 8:00 in the lobby to Uber to the convention center to pick up our badges.

This year, we were a solid 45 minutes early to the keynote. We scored some pretty amazing seats, and the best part was that we got to see the ENTIRE keynote this year.

To be honest, this was the one thing I was the most excited about. I kind of knew how the rest of the conference was going to go, but the opening keynote is always an exciting. Especially because the keynote speaker was the one and only…

*drumroll please*

MELINDA GATES.

Y’all this woman is amazing. She not only made jokes aimed at her husband, but she had some really insightful things to say on getting young girls more invested and involved in technology.

I didn’t realize this myself, but Melinda Gates was a computer scientist and also heavily involved in the beginning of Microsoft. I thought she just married into the company… boy was I wrong!

“Any time you have big ideas, you also have spectacular failures.” – Melinda Gates

Okay side note from the whole motivational talk. She had this powerpoint/video thing that was perfectly timed with her speech, and the whole design of it was beautiful and I just needed to point that out.

Company Expo

This was the portion of the whole conference that I was the most excited about. The company expo is the most overwhelming, exciting experience I’ve probably ever been to.

We’re talking 18,000 women all walking around this GIANT expo hall with hundreds of companies offering so much free stuff that you just don’t even know where to begin.

My goal for Grace Hopper this year was to land an internship. Needless to say, I handed out all the copies of my resume, and now I’m just waiting for those application emails to start pouring into my inbox.

Overall, this experience was amazing. I love traveling, I love getting to dress up, and I love being surrounded by so many powerful and motivational women. But even with all of that, there was something that just wasn’t right. I’m going to get a little bit personal with y’all about why this conference wasn’t exactly the best for me.

I’m in a weird place right now in my life. Everything is going super well with school, the guy, my job, the gym, but I don’t feel that way. I haven’t been diagnosed with anxiety or anything of the sorts, but there is definitely something wrong. I’m stressing out and being so overwhelmed by the smallest things in life, and that’s not okay. I’m not okay. I’m focusing on the day to day and trying my best to keep up with the positive things in my life, and trust me, this blog and your support are one of the biggest things that put a smile on my face. Every comment, every like, every email. Everything.

So thank you.

~abigail gray