Hey all! Stephanie here again with Day 3 of my work vacation in Las Vegas!
If you missed yesterday (Day 2), you can check it out here
If you're just joining me now, go ahead and start back at the beginning, here
TL;DR: Wednesday went much much MUCH better than Tuesday. I got the courage up enough to conquer the trade show and ended the day with further exploration of the Strip!
Vegas: Day 3The adventures of StephCa, Boss-lady and Boat-girl continue!
Compared to yesterday, I woke up at a pretty reasonable hour, took a shower, got dressed, and ate a breakfast bagel (made by yours truly, with cheap ingredients bought at Walgreens the day before). Sporting some black pants, a black dress shirt and a red scarf for a little "pop", I was mentally preparing myself for the trade show. All of those people and all of those booths - it was really intimidating still!
After reading up on an article about networking for introverts, I had enough courage to get myself over to the convention center across the street. Based on some reflection and careful consideration, I decided that I would walk up and down the rows of the trade show in order to familiarize myself with my surroundings. I felt that this was really helpful, considering that yesterday "flight" rather than "fight" was my response when being met with the overwhelming situation that was the trade show.
[psycho babble] The brain, when being exposed to new stimuli, goes through a series of tests so as to increase the chance of safety and self-preservation. The reptilian portion of your brain is in charge of the flight or fight response. If your brain responds with
I got pulled over a few times when walking around the trade show floor, and although everyone was nice enough to talk to me they didn't spend a whole lot of time with me. When you introduce yourself as a student, they're excited that you're excited about the industry, but there are other people out and about the trade show that will actually buy stuff from them. Also, apparently having my own business cards despite being "just a student" was impressive to a lot of the vendors there, so that made me feel pretty good.
After about an hour of roaming around, I made my way over to a campfire session. The campfire sessions at IMEX are designed to be miniature classes for about 10 or so attendees, and they talk about a particular topic for approximately half an hour. (Some of these I get credit for, but most are for personal development.) Boss-lady recommended that I go to a confidence-building class, and after my failed attempt at attending the trade show yesterday I agreed that it could only get better from there.
The campfire setting consisted of a series of about a dozen little, cube-like ottomans that were placed in a relatively tight circle. When I first arrived at the campfire, I was greeted by three very friendly women who invited me to sit and even provided some water for me. (Water was scarce at the convention, so I tried to chug as much of it as I could when possible.) I was instantly turned on to this style of communication where people were able to connect with each other face-to-face and in a very small, but welcoming environment. I felt very at-ease talking to these women.
The best part about this particular campfire though was hearing the horror stories of the day before - turns out most of the people that were attending also felt extremely overwhelmed! I cannot fully express how much better that made me feel; it was like I hadn't made a mistake yesterday, but, rather that I just could've handled the situation better. We even did some short role-playing to help address our anxiety and our confidence coach was absolutely amazing.
Once the campfire ended, I did a lot of quick chit-chat with some of the other group members that had joined us a little late and swapped a bunch of business cards. (Again, many people were impressed that I had business cards - more confidence boosting!) I thanked the presenter and her assistant profusely, and then even began walking around with some of the other women I had become expo friends with! Even when we eventually did split up, we would still run into each other out on the floor and give each other tips for where the best giveaways were taking place, or who has the best food, etc. This was the con experience that everyone really needs to have in order to feel that the con was a personal success, and I was finally having it! Victory was mine!
I would also like to note that I made another bagel sandwich for lunch and there were finger-foods provided at the convention to supplement my lunch, so other than a drink and a few souvenirs at Walgreens I had not spent any money during trade show hours - huzzah! (Walgreens trip was about $8 for berries, a drink and a few gifts.)
It didn't look nearly as...uh...awesome as this?
After the trade show ended, boss-lady, boat-girl and I went up to our rooms and got changed into something more comfortable and then went down to dinner at the in-house buffet. When boss-lady booked her package she also got bonus food vouchers so we got to eat a free dinner too! Lemme tell you - I haven't had a food baby that large in a long time. Since I had only eaten bagel sandwiches and pretzels throughout the day I was overly excited to see real food. They had a sushi bar, BBQ bar, salad bar, pizza bar, a misc food bar (baked potatoes and fish fillets didn't really fit anywhere else I guess), and finally a dessert bar. Like the fatty I am, I tried ALL THE FOOD OMNOMNOMNOM. For a free buffet, I could not complain. My stomach complained a lot though.
Following dinner we three ladies hit the Strip! We took the monorail to the MGM Grand at the end of the Strip and then made our way back towards our hotel after a few hours of exploring. We stopped by MGM, Luxor, Excalibur, New York New York (and we rode on the roller coaster on top of the hotel!), Ross Vegas, Paris, Bellagio, Q's, Harrah's, Caesar's Palace, Mirage and then finally back to TI!
A shout out to New York New York's roller coaster. Clocking in at $14 for a single ride ($25 for an all-day pass), this roller coaster had me screaming until there was no more air left in my lungs. First, the coaster sits on top of the casino, so the fear factor is already above average. Of course, as all roller coasters do, this one started out with a suspenseful clickclickclick up to the top of one of the longest drops I've ever experienced. Lots of very tight twists and turns, and a few loops to boot. Additional scare-factor because it was at night and we were in the back car. Totes worth it. I would highly recommend to any thrill-seeker or coaster lover.
This was an ice cream shop where they made your ice cream in front of you using an anti-griddle. Super neat!
The place I would most like to give a shout out to is Dick's at Excalibur. It's a restaurant and bar where the staff give you hats with funny insults that they make up themselves. Boat-girl went up to the bar and after 2 minutes asked "where's my hat" to which the bartender replied, "slow down girl, you just fuckin' got here" to which we all had a good laugh. Following suit, her hat had said "FUK OFF", as inspired by this first interaction. Boss-lady's hat said "I make Dick's swell" (double-entendre, well played...) and mine simply said "I'm 2 EZ". The bartender also made us a drink, slightly yellow in color, appropriately called "golden showers". Normally I hate red bull and vodka, but it was surprisingly pretty good! The drinks were a little pricey ($14 each, and I tipped the guy $2), but we got to keep the glasses as souvenirs so we agreed it was worth it.