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Stefan
Stefan

Posted on • Originally published at codewithfan.hashnode.dev

I Attended My First Virtual Meetup

IT WAS AN EYE-OPENING EXPERIENCE

Before we begin, I would like to say you are reading blog #5 for the #2Articles1Week Challenge. I am participating in. Today, I write about my virtual meet experience with 100Devs and Developer Happy Hour event.

Thanks for reading!

🀫 Shhh no new friends tonight! #100Devs

β€” Leon Noel πŸ”₯ (@leonnoel) February 8, 2022

100Devs Experience

This week, 100Devs was thrown a fast curveball that nobody expected. We were to conduct, for many like myself, our first virtual meetup event, practicing our introduction and charisma in a safe, nonjudgmental environment.

For many social butterflies, this was a piece of cake. You can spot those who network so often that their pitch rolls smoothly off the tip of their tongues. For others, this may have been their first time since the pandemic doing any form of live voice social interaction with anyone.

The tremble, stutter, and shakiness in one's voice was easily heard. But you know what, THAT'S OKAY!

The objective for the class exercise was to network with the 100Devs community, practice our pitch, and most importantly, make friends.

Developer Happy Hour Experience

I was fortunate to attend a virtual meetup based in Denver, CO called Developer Happy Hour at the very same time the 100Devs networking event was happening. The purpose of Developer Happy Hour is to connect with tech professionals with various backgrounds to make new friends, share expertise, and maybe, casually find a job.

I took Leon's advice by using meetup.com and searching for a city that was closest. With a little patience, I was able to find the Developer Happy Hour to attend.

I sat in my car during lunch to hop into the Zoom meeting. From there, various cameras and microphones were enabled. This was definitely not their first rodeo in a meetup. I was the only one out of 30+ without my camera on for a moment.

Everyone was casually talking about their day, life, and anything under the sun that came to mind.

The real nerves set in a little when the breakout sessions started. To define, breakout sessions are when a few people out of the group up to ~4-5 are placed into their own group to network with each other.

The breakout session rotated every 15 minutes.

At this moment, I knew I needed to enable my camera and microphone so others and myself can have that face to face connection.

Since I was out in broad daylight across the world in Korea and wearing my Army Uniform, many folks immediately asked about me and where I was at. Soon as the questions broke out, I found it simply easy to deliver my pitch.

Hi, I'm Stefan, a Soldier stationed in South Korea transitioning into the tech industry to become a Full-Stack Software Engineer in the Denver Metro area.

Although I am 2 years ahead in my journey to working full time as a SE, I am attending a boot camp called 100Devs and I'm here to network, make friends, and learn about your experience working in tech.

Overall Lesson Learned

Attending the two meetups brought to light that others are participating in meetups for possibly the same reason as you. Simply chatting with other people who have the same common interest in you is a feel-good human connection that you should experience for yourself.

What I learned is:

  • Genuinely, make friends with the people I connect with.

  • Don't overthink turning strangers into friends.

  • Don't be nervous and be honest with my experience. Others want to listen and learn my story.

  • This is a journey, not a sprint.

  • DO MORE MEETUPS!

Conclusion

Thank you for reading my blog today! If you participated in the 100Devs networking event, do share your experience in public. You will one day go back to your public post and reflect on that very moment and say to yourself, β€œIt was not that bad at all!”.

Cheers ~

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