Michael Sylvia, left, with his father, Mark Sylvia, at the New York Stock Exchange, earlier this summer. Credit: Michael Sylvia
By Michael Sylvia
Hello everyone! I have been reading the comments left on my posts and I am extremely happy with the feedback that I have been receiving. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. I hope you all are enjoying your summer. Forgive me as I ended my streak of nice and timely postings. However, I think it might’ve been for the greater good. I had an amazing experience and I decided to discuss it in this post.
Currently, I still have another 19 days before school is back in session, so, I have a decent amount of vacation ahead of me. I’m going to need every moment of it because I have a few big things to get done before school starts back up, one of them being, the writing portions of my Senior Project for school. I don’t think I have written about it on my blog yet so I will provide some background. For the past two years, I have become increasingly interested in finance, especially the stock market. So, I have chosen to have my project revolve around investing in the stock market. The project requires a mentor and 30 hours of fieldwork in the chosen field. Fortunately for me, I have a family friend who works for Morgan Stanley. She was able to reach out to four executives in the Morgan Stanley offices based out of New York, with hopes of getting the chance to have me speak with them. Luckily, they agreed and, before I knew it, I was in the Big Apple. I have to say, I really like city life. I tend to be a night owl so I felt like I fit right in visiting “the city that never sleeps.” I had some trouble sleeping the night before my meetings, so the city’s constant activity was convenient and comforting to watch.
When the morning finally arrived, I was very excited for what the day was going to bring. Getting dressed in business attire put me in a good place mentally. I felt like I was successful and I had something important to get done. I felt a little nervous at first but I did some thinking and came to the conclusion that, really, I was just talking to another human being who, in essence, was just like me. I kept repeating this thought throughout the morning and it seemed to help take my focus off my nerves.
Once I got to my first visit of the day, Morgan Stanley Headquarters, I wasn’t entirely sure what I should expect. I knew these were some important people so I tried to create an image in my mind to prepare myself based upon what I knew about Wall Street. To be honest, all I could think of was the movies I had watched, specifically, The Wolf of Wall Street and the Wall Street movie series. However, after each of my meetings, my predictions were proven wrong. All of the people I met with were incredibly down to earth and genuine. I learned so much, I wouldn’t know where to start if I tried to explain it. The stock market itself was interesting and was not what I thought it would be. I entered the trading floor to find mostly TV crews and people who were ordinarily sitting at the computer. I was told that with the new technology, the Stock Exchange hasn’t been the same. Computers have taken over and revolutionized the trading system, therefore, there is no longer a need for masses of people running rampant, trying to complete a trade.
My trip also provided me with some other insights that I did not anticipate. I began to realize I was taking more steps towards total independence, just like everyone else. It felt like some weight was lifted off my chest. Sometimes, my speech holds me back because I fear I will be misunderstood. Meeting with these people minimized my fears substantially. The experience showed me that, more often than not, I am understood and I can hold a normal conversation.
Overall, the trip was something that I will remember for the rest of my life because, in some ways, it changed my life. I really wanted to share this awesome experience with everyone as I felt so strongly about it. I am going to be covering another aspect of my life next month – school. I figure it will fit the occasion seeing summer vacation ends around then. I plan on holding off posting the next blog post until the 19th of September so I can hopefully get back to more timely postings. Thanks for sticking around and reading. Enjoy the rest of your summer!
Michael Sylvia will be a senior at East Greenwich High School this coming school year. You can follow him on Twitter at @MichaelSylvia12.