SXSW went as quickly as it came. One moment I was preparing interviews with panelists for preview articles, and now I’m writing my final piece to wrap up my experience.
My experience at SXSW was first overwhelming. I had never been to the conference, film or music portion, so it was completely new to me. There was a crowd everywhere, traffic was horrible, but people were having a blast. Luckily, I was able to stay in downtown Austin with friends so I didn’t have to drive back and forth from San Marcos to Austin, which eliminated a lot of stress from traffic and driving after a long day of work. I didn’t know what to expect for the first day and it was overwhelming with all the people, all the panels, I didn’t know when to eat lunch without missing something I wanted to see. I felt unprepared the first day but I learned my lesson.
After the first day of panels, I became more comfortable with my surroundings and how to manage my time. Once I became more confident, I was able to focus and really experience SXSW. I became more flexible with the panels I wanted to see, I learned that my plans were never concrete, and I became more open to seeing things that I didn’t plan on seeing or doing. While attending SXSW, it’s important to have a plan but to also have an open mind for things to change. I also learned to have fun while working. On the first day of panels, I was stressed trying to keep up with my schedule and plan while trying to get as much content as possible. I learned to take things as it came and to get as much content as possible while also leaving room for some fun.
I attended panels that spoke on many different topics such as: animal equality, content distribution, stress and mental health, VR effects on the brain, how technology has impacted graphic design, and so much more. There is an endless variety of what is talked about at SXSW and it’s inspiring to listen to the professionals who are changing the world.
It was difficult deciding which panels to attend because there were so many that interested me, but I found myself choosing panels that related around mental health. I have a B.A. in Psychology and mental health has always interested me and is something that I believe is a very important topic. I had the opportunity to attend several panels that spoke on behalf of mental wellness and what is being done to prevent it and help those who need it.
SXSW is not only a conference to listen to other people share their innovative ideas, but it’s an opportunity to network and meet other professionals. I had the opportunity to interview and speak with several professionals about their profession and panels. One session I attended was Shake Up the Industry by Entertaining with Empathy with Rainn Wilson, Dwight from The Office and the CEO and C0-Founder for SoulPancake, and Justin Baldoni, Rafael from Jane the Virgin and the CEO and Founder of Wayfarer Entertainment. They spoke about their companies and how their companies are changing the world. I spoke with Justin Baldoni after the session about what his long term overall goal is for his company Wayfarer Entertainment.
I also had the opportunity to meet one of the panelists that I previewed before SXSW, Kinvara Balfour. She moderated her panel, Content is Still King: A New Narrative Calls. I not only had the opportunity to attend, but I also had the chance to introduce myself to her afterwards. She even gave us a shout out!
— Kinvara Balfour (@Kinvara_Balfour) March 13, 2017
Along with attending panels and creating content, our SXTXState team also was in charge of our social media platforms. Everyday we posted content on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Evrybit. Evrybit is a platform we decided to try that allowed you to follow us throughout the day. Check out our Evrybit stories and see what a day at SXSW was like for us!
Attending this conference has sparked my innovation. I didn’t think someone like me could change the world, but after seeing all the ideas people have and what they are doing, I’ve been inspired to try because I feel more confident with everything I do. The SXTXState project pushed me out of my comfort zone, enhanced my work skill and ability, and SXSW opened my eyes to all the possibilities for job opportunities and ways to make the world a better place.
To be a part of the SXTXState project was a wonderful opportunity. I’m thankful for Texas State University and SXSW for allowing students to be involved with the conference and gain experience. I’m also thankful to Cindy Royal for allowing me to have the opportunity to be in this course and gain the skills and experience that will be needed for my future career.