Saturday, April 14, 2012

COSD Full Access report

I went to the COSD Full Access Student Summit in San Jose (an event for college students and recent graduates with disabilities) at the recommendation of my career advisor. The purpose of the event was to help people improve their job skills, explore workplace accommodations and connect with potential employers. It was certainly a worthwhile experience.

Day 1

The summit began at 10 a.m. at the San Jose Marriott. The attendees checked in with the coordinator before taking the bus to the Cisco campus. I didn't run into any of my former colleagues as the event took place in a different building, but this still brought back memories.

The first activity of the day was a résumé review session. There weren't enough advisors to look over everyone's résumés at once, so the rest of us got acquainted in the meantime. This was followed by lunch, for which Cisco generously provided the food.

Up next were the keynote speeches. They were pretty interesting at first, although the talks got boring as time went on as there were several speakers. The attendees then took the bus back to the hotel for another break and the formal dinner.

For the meal, each of us were assigned to sit with an employer not on our preferred list. I was paired up with the U.S. Department of Transportation. But before we could pig out, there were more speeches to listen to. As you could imagine, all of us were pretty hungry by the time they were over. One of the summit coordinators then went over dining etiquette as the food was served. It was finally time to enjoy dinner. ^_^

The day concluded with a mixer that lasted late into the evening. The "fun room" had a Wii and board games, but people generally seemed more interested in socializing. There was also an AT&T booth with giveaways. Though only about half the people showed up, that didn't make the mixer any less fun.

Day 2

The morning was rather exhausting as we had to check out no later than 7 a.m. or risk missing the bus. All of us then gathered at Cisco again for a continental breakfast. It was then time to meet with two of our preferred employers. The Microsoft team was awesome, although the Google folks were pretty cool too.

The summit ended with a closing address at noon, after which we rode the bus back to the Marriott. I took the moment to bid farewell to my new friends before my parents picked me up. The only downside is that lunch wasn't provided. :P

I greatly enjoyed meeting the other attendees, especially those who come from a similar background as me. The experience was reminiscent of my stay at Camp Costanoan in 6th grade, only there were no bullies this time. It was also my first time staying at a hotel on my own!

On the whole, the COSD Full Access was interesting and inspirational. I've posted a few pictures from the summit here.

Currently listening to: "A Moment Like This" by Kelly Clarkson