PLAyin' in San Francisco!

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In the days leading up to our journey to San Francisco, I felt quite a bit of trepidation.  As someone who cooks all her own meals and has become comfortable with a routine and particular structure, I was nervous about being completely out of my element for a few days with people I had not closely connected with for quite awhile. Yet within just a few hours of the trip, my feelings completely evolved and I felt nothing but blessed, amazed, and truly began to enjoy myself!

Going from frequently isolating myself and focusing intently and feverishly on schoolwork to immersing myself into a highly social setting was challenging, but provided great hope that the 'old me' can eventually be restored.  Until now, I have not interacted much with members of the Beta and Gamma classes, but I established many friendships with various individuals this trip that I hope continue to flourish. From engaging in an intense game of Scrabble on the plane with Christian and Lisa, to running around Pier 39 with Nneka in search of the handcuffs she so desired to purchase, and cracking jokes with Matt to make light of the fact that we would potentially miss our flight home, I have made many memories that should keep me smiling for days to come.

Aside from the absolutely gorgeous scenery that surrounded me as I hiked up Lombard Street, took the ferry to Alcatraz, strolled through the Google and Stanford campuses, stood listening to the waves of the Pacific on the balcony of the Cliff House, and walked through the spectacular and spiritual Muir Woods, the speakers and content of this trip were phenomenal. The West Coast setting provided a more casual and easygoing atmosphere, which permeated through the local people and all of us, allowing me personally to acquire so much insight while feeling relaxed and really enjoying myself in the process. I also loved that the topics of Ethics and Entrepreneurship were essentially applicable to every person in attendance regardless of major or personal interests.

While presented with a plethora of fabulous material and information, here are just a few of the quotes, key takeaways, interesting facts, or thoughts I developed from the various speakers:

            Professor John Sullins: With the omniscient surveillance that is present and growing, how do we as citizens and consumers best protect our identities and ideas?

            Historian John Freeman at the Old Mint: The Asian and Homosexual populations have restored the diverse city of San Francisco. The number one crime is the snatching of cell phones from people's hands.

            Mikel Chertudi of Adobe: "(On Integrity:) How you accomplish is just as important as what you accomplish." "With transparency no one can question your motivations." "Leadership is synonymous with selflessness. We are a compilation of our decisions." Forgiveness, and the vocalizing of it, is a crucial, healing, and soul strengthening experience.

            Cain Brothers: Active social networkers are more likely to believe that questionable behaviors are acceptable such as 'friending' a client, using a company card, and putting company software on a personal computer.

            David Rusenko of Weebly: "Your reputation is your currency (in business)."

            Matt Brezina of Sincerely: "Surround yourself with a net positive exchange of energy (people)."

            Aaron Gotwalt of CoTweet: "Mistakes are unavoidable, you have to live without regret." "Success magnifies what's already going on in your head." "Sometimes the best way to quantify success is just by the impact you have on the people you know."

            Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen of Giving 2.0: "Technology is democratizing social change." Philanthropy is a social corrective that can directly reflect our personal values and beliefs.

I want to extend an enormous THANK YOU to our speakers as well as to Melissa, Lisa, Dean Brady, and Mr. and Mrs. Hintz for all of the hard work and dedication they employed in making this a successful trip and for the immense patience, positivity, and generosity they provided throughout the experience. This was certainly a highlight of both my senior year and time in the Academy!

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