Elizabeth Gong attends John Deere Drive Your Future Academy

Before applying to this event, I had heard that it was an amazing experience where I would meet new people from around the nation. I expected to have a “life-changing” week because of this. In the end, it definitely lived up to its reputation. 

Since the event was in my hometown, I wasn’t expecting to be exposed to any new experiences. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I have lived in San Francisco for almost 18 years, but I had never been on a boat ride going under the Golden Gate Bridge – until John Deere Drive Your Future Academy. 

 My first day arriving at the event, I was nervous to meet so many new girls, but they all turned out to be some of the kindest, funniest people I have ever met. Staying at the dorms gave me a taste of what my future college life would be like, and it made me even more excited for college than I already was before. Everyday, we got the chance to play amazing golf courses and listen to a panel of inspiring female leaders give us advice about our futures. I learned about the importance of networking, how I project myself will influence the way other people view me, and to create the society that I want to see. I will remember every single woman that spoke to us because each and every one of them had individual successes and advice. 

The piece of advice that stuck with me the most was that I, as a woman, have the power to do anything I want, as long as I work hard for it. There are always going to be obstacles, but if I can push through them, I’m paving a path for girls in the future by representing female empowerment. 

My last night of the event was bittersweet. I was really sad to say goodbye to my new friends the next morning, but it was really cool to see how close I had gotten to a group of girls in the span of just 4 days. It was 100% worth it to stay in San Francisco for this event, it was like seeing the same city with a fresh pair of eyes. 

After attending the event, I was shocked that I could see my city as brand new after living here my whole life. Overall, John Deere Drive Your Future Academy was the most fun, exciting, packed 4 days I have ever had – and I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world. 

Watch Elizabeth’s experience here.

Written by: Elizabeth Gong

John Deere Drive Your Future Academy was held June 6 to June 10, 2022 in San Francisco, CA.