It was 11th May 2022. I had just watched the live stream of Google I/O. I couldn’t contain my excitement and knew I wanted to experience more. What better way than by attending a Google I/O Extended event? For the next couple of days, I began scouring the GDG website for upcoming I/O Extended events to see if there were any close by that I could attend. I saw one in Bangalore at the Google office (so exciting right?). The event was for a couple of hours and Bangalore is almost 10 hours from the city I stay in. My heart said the travel would be worth it for the experience but my brain said otherwise. It wasn’t practical, or so I thought.
In the days that followed, I came across another Google I/O Extended event hosted by GDGHubli. It all seemed perfect until I looked up how far Hubli is from my place, and boy did I not see that coming - a whopping 13 hours!
There was something different that stood out about this event. I saw a call-for-speakers form link mentioned right before I could sign up for the event. On one hand, I wanted to fill it so badly, but on the other, I didn’t let myself believe that I was capable of delivering a talk at an event like that one. After hours of self-debating, I finally opened the form and my hands went cold while I began to type. I was so excited yet so nervous. I mustered up the courage to hit submit. The next day was complacent. I had almost given up until I decided to follow up one last time on Instagram. The next minute, I received a call saying they’d be delighted to have me as a speaker!
Soon after, I made my travel arrangements and reached Hubli. The event organizers Girish Patil and Supriya Shashivasan have been extremely welcoming and kind. They picked me up right after I reached Hubli and we had a nice chat while my accommodation arrangements were being made.
The event took place at KLE Technological University, Hubli and it is such a beautiful campus. My favorite thing about the campus was that there was an entry gate straight to McDonald’s right from inside the university! I stayed at the scholars' house inside the campus the night before the event and went through my presentation one last time before I called it a night. The next morning, I met the organizers at the event venue and we began making some final checks for the event. It was amazing looking at so many university students that showed up on a Saturday morning. Exactly a year ago, I would’ve been a student, one among them, listening to talks by speakers. I was now on the opposite side, and I know there would’ve been a few among them dreaming of delivering a talk, just like I once did. It’s crazy how much our lives can change in just a year.
A few highlights of my talk include how Google achieves personalization, adaptability, and accessibility with Material You, WCAG guidelines, color contrast ratios, and designing for various devices and large screens.
My talk was followed by two more and a small break after which the event concluded. During the break, I was surprised to see how many people came up to me to have a conversation and told me that they actually understood what I talked about. It was the warmest feeling knowing that all my efforts paid off.
The event was a massive hit and the organizers and I decided to grab a bite and celebrate post the event. We went to this amazing place that was forest themed and had pretty neon lights. That night, I headed home, thinking about nothing but how nice the event and everyone there were.
Social media and the internet are a goldmine of opportunities and you just need to know where to dig. Sometimes you don’t need to dig at all, opportunities will be right in front of you. You just need to have the eye and patience to notice them. This concludes my story and I hope it’ll inspire you to start yours.
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