Taking a Year off from College and Moving to Silicon Valley
If you asked me a month ago how what my last year of college was going to look like, here’s what I would’ve told you:
“It should be great! I’m renting a charming apartment with the girl I’ve lived with since freshman year. I’m continuing my roles as editor-in-chief of Her Campus Cal Poly and writer for The Muse while freelancing to pay for room, board, and tuition. If all goes according to plan, I’ll graduate in June 2016—hopefully with a couple job offers.”
But if you asked me right now what my last year of college will look like, here’s what I’d say:
“I don’t really know. I’m moving to Silicon Valley next Sunday to work at a multinational tech company. The position is supposed to last six months to a year, depending on how much I’m getting out of it and how much I’m helping the organization. Don’t worry, I’m not leaving school for good. This is just too awesome an opportunity to pass up.”
Here’s the thing: My middle name is not “Spontaneous;” it’s probably “Careful.” (I’ve also gotten “Uptight” and “Boring,” but let’s not get into that.) I don’t do things like take an unplanned leave of absence to pursue my dreams of working in business and tech. Instead, I say, “That sounds like a great opportunity, but I still have a year of school left. I’ll reach out when I graduate!”
But as you can guess, I didn’t say that when the friend of an old boss asked me if I’d be interested in a job. Instead, I’m taking a leap of faith, listening to a lot of girl power music (“Confidence” by Demi Lovato is my current jam), and GOING FOR IT.
Here’s what’s on my mind right now:
Will I pass my driver’s test?
I’ve managed to avoid getting my license thus far by bumming rides off of friends and interning in urban cities, but to work in San Jose, I need a license and a car. Unfortunately, the earliest driver’s test appointment I could make is three days before my job starts. I cannot fail this test.
Will I make friends?
I don’t know anyone in San Jose, so I’m hoping I’ll meet people through a combination of meetups, friendliness, and work. The problem I’ve run into in the past when hanging out with older people (who honestly, I prefer to people my age) is that I’m still not 21 and everyone wants to meet for drinks.
I try to work my age into conversation before we go to a bar so it’s not awkward when they order beers and I order Sprite, but it’s surprisingly hard to do naturally.
Can I do this job?
I’m typically pretty confident about my abilities, but this position is out of my comfort zone. To be safe, I don’t want to give any details, but this is definitely a “real world” job, not a “college student” job. Is it still called the imposter syndrome when you actually might be an imposter? (Just kidding. Mostly.)
Is going back to school going to be awful?
I can’t imagine how it’s going to be readjusting to professors, essays, and exams after holding a full-time job. I know most people love college, but I’ve only been in school for two years, and I’m already ready to be done. That’s partly why I almost said no: Three quarters left and I’m free!
But maybe my 9-to-5 will give me more appreciation for classes like, “Slavery and Abolition in British Literature, 1780-1838.” (That was one of the classes I was slotted to take before I decided I wasn’t going back.)
What’s the dating scene going to be like?
I’ve dipped my toes into the waters of college dating, but honestly, getting invited over to “watch Netflix and chill,” then discovering nine out of 10 guys do not want to actually watch Netflix and chill, gets old fast.
Dating was much more fun when I was in New York this summer. As I told my mom, older men do things like pour water into your cup when they’re pouring water for themselves, guide you through crowded rooms by putting their hand on the small of your back, and put your sandal on, Cinderella-style, when it falls off your foot at the restaurant. (Yes, some guy actually did that. Swoon.)
So, I’m kind of excited to date in San Jose. But I’ve heard everyone’s so busy pursuing their “unicorn” dreams that finding a cool person with the time, energy, and desire to date is like, well, finding a unicorn.
Also, I’m still not sure how I will meet guys, let alone date them. It’s the same situation I’m facing on the friend front, except harder, because only 50 percent of the population is eligible.
How much money will I save?
Unfortunately, I couldn’t sublease my San Luis Obispo apartment, which means I’m still paying $800 a month for that. But my housing in San Jose is covered. Even if I spend $400 a month on food, gas, and entertainment, by the time I’m done I should have enough to pay for my last two quarters of Cal Poly.
If anyone is in the San Jose area, let me know. Like I said—I need friends!
This column is part of a multi-part series.
Aja Frost is a student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo who loves writing… and dessert. Follow her on Twitter @ajavuu.