I don’t think anybody expected this semester to have taken this drastic of a turn in the other direction so fast. The semester in San Francisco ended early, I’m at home with my quarantined family, and I’m about to finish this insane journey over a video call. I experienced more in the past 4 months than I have in the past two years, and although there is so much to be upset about and a lot of feelings of bitter sentiment sometimes arise, I can only be thankful. I got to experience something that I dreamed of doing for years, getting the opportunity to leave behind my life in Boston temporarily in pursuit of discovery, coming back with wonderful memories and directions for the way back when I’m ready for my next adventure.
Over the past four months, I learned what it really means to be an entrepreneur. I took classes from the guys who have been a part of and witnessed the craziest of Silicon Valley, from the era of when micro-chips were still a novelty, to the dot-com bubble bursting, all the way to now when AI and SEO are the focal points for most startups. The true value in the Semester in San Francisco program is the incredible merit that being around the Valley and meeting and getting to know the people that have been there for 30+ years provides. This program is so distinct because anybody can go to San Francisco or Menlo Park or Sand Hill Road, but not everyone can meet and make connections with some of the people that made these places so special.
Aside from classes and the learning experiences I got from the projects and work I did, there are some things I am really glad I did that I couldn’t have done anywhere else.
The first was taking a day trip with some friends to Carmel beach and doing the 17-mile drive. Probably one of my favorite places I visited, we spent two hours driving there and the rest of the day around the town, enjoying the beach and taking in such a California scene. There were a million dogs on the beach all playing, the surrounding hills and golf course were all green and thriving, and people were just happy. After doing the drive and going to the beach, we raced a cloud of fog to the edge of Carmel where we planned to watch the sunset but abruptly left when I cut my hand on a glass bottle and the thick fog almost intentionally told us it was time to head back. We left to get the car back in time to Berkeley and stopped in Redwood City for perhaps the most satisfying ramen after such a long and fun trip.
The second favorite thing I did was just walking everywhere the first day I spent in San Francisco. I remember the feeling of being totally lost, and all I did was explore the city and look for what new places I could find behind the next corner or hill. It was a beautiful, warm day, the kind of day you could imagine spending with your best friend or a nice date and just forgetting everything bad in the world for a moment to appreciate this new place you’ve found. It was incredibly novel, and I vividly remember feeling special just for seeing and being in person for what I was experiencing.
I appreciated every moment I had to explore and see San Francisco because it’s not only a special city, it was an experience that only happens a few times in your life where you get to just enjoy a place for its good memories. Until next time, I’ll always have the photos to remind me of my time in California.