When I applied to the Silicon Valley Program, I was expecting to get out of my comfort-zone of beautiful and easygoing Camp Claremont and venture out into the real world for a semester. Being a Philosophy-Economics dual major with a passion for learning and teaching, I was considering pursuing higher education in philosophy. I wanted to use my semester in Silicon Valley as a metaphorical litmus test to see how I would fair in the dynamic technology industry and figure out what I actually wanted to do with my life.
We’re half way through the Silicon Valley Program. At this point, we’ve found the delicate balance between work, school, sleep, and fun. Yes, we’re all in this for the incredible experiences and opportunities afforded to us through an extended internship in one of the most exciting and innovative places in the world, but I believe that the Silicon Valley Program should just as much be a cultural experience. Even though Silicon Valley is still California, it’s an entirely different place, and, as such, there are a lot of exciting things to do and see.
1. Utilize your Time.
Make a plan to develop practical skills that you can easily transfer from one place to another. Programming skills like SQL, design skills like Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, video editing skills. Once you have figured out which skill to invest in, make a concrete plan whether by signing up for online classes or self-learning. If it takes locking yourself up in your room for a weekend to know how to use SQL, so be it. The benefits of having a practical skill under your belt far outweigh people’s common expectation.
If there are two things that most college students don’t like to do on a daily basis, it’s cook and spend a lot of money on food. I happen to be one of those students. While I love to occasionally cook a nice meal, it’s not always time efficient or easy on the wallet.
What you might not know is that many companies in Silicon Valley provide catered lunch or dinner (and sometimes both!) for every employee. While this can be great for saving both time and money, it’s not the main reason why I think these companies are awesome for doing it.
How can you prepare for corporate America while you’re in college? I went to boarding school before enrolling at CMC grew accustomed to the idea of living on a campus and the rhythm of classes, studying, and athletics. The Silicon Valley Program is a sort of crash course in the society most of us will experience once well leave cozy world of institutionalized education. There are teething problems, varying in severity for each individual, which we are thus exposed to on this program and which worry me.
So far I’ve spent 12 hours on the Caltrain. It’s only a very small fraction of the 160 I plan to spend on it this semester. I elected to live in Mountain View and commute to San Francisco. Everyone, including my boss and my peers, thinks I’m crazy, but instead of thinking of my commute as dead time I wanted to leverage the commute everyday as a built-in study period. I get between two and three hours each day to study, but also just to slow down and think.
Last week we began our orientation week for SVP Fall 2014, which was filled with a wide range activities. Everyone moved into their apartments on Labor Day Weekend and orientation began on the following Tuesday. We began orientation by reviewing expectations for the semester and then a safety seminar by both a police officer and fire fighter. Although we’ve all been briefed on safety many times in our lives, it was nice to have someone explain Mountain View and its areas for those of us who were unfamiliar with it.