Silicon Valley Program Begins, by Ciera Fleming

The Silicon Valley Program is off to a great start and I volunteered to write my blog post before we got too busy with work and classes.

I moved into the Mountain View apartment the day before orientation giving me plenty of time to settle in, as there was not much to set up. The apartments are fully furnished and although the website already says this, you should not underestimate this. When they say fully furnished they mean cups, plates, towels, sheets and even extra sheets. So while I came with a lot of stuff, I would not recommend bringing anything but your clothes, books, and electronics. The apartment is very nice and makes you feel like you are living the luxury life in a hotel-styled apartment, including a gym and a pool nearby. The Caltrain stop is also a convenient 5-10 minute walk away, which goes straight to San Francisco.

Downtown Mountain View, a quaint, small town with various types of restaurants on Castro Street, is just beyond the Caltrain station. My first day here I went to Xanh, a Vietnamese restaurant recommended by various people in the area and it was both delicious and expensive. It’s definitely worth checking out and getting a few appetizers to share. Overall, Mountain View is fairly small and easy to get around by foot, bike or car. You will also see many colorful Google bikes and cars in the area.

After moving in we spent the next couple of days in our new classroom at Plug and Play Tech Center for orientation. During this time we not only got a better sense of the area, our classes, and the structure of the program, but we also got the chance to hear from guest speakers like Sunil Rajaraman ‘01 who talked to us about start-up culture in Silicon Valley and Chris Lipp, who taught us more about how to pitch an idea to prospective funders. It was great to hear from people in the area who have experienced the craziness of Silicon Valley and could give us advice heading into this new environment.

On Wednesday night we also had the wonderful opportunity to meet more CMC alumni at the house of Julie and Mark Elson ’82 who were so nice and welcomed all of us into their home. You learn early on in this program how valuable CMC alumni are and its great to listen to their stories and get some advice. The last day of orientation, we all went up to San Francisco where we had the chance to explore the city and have some fun. We were joined at lunch by Daniel Freeman ’96, who just started a new role at CloudFlare. It was a great way to see a little bit of San Francisco and get to bond with all the people on the program.

So far it has been a fun week to adjust into our new homes and get ready for the internships and classes ahead.

Ciera Fleming '16
Pitzer College
Intern, Google