Do I Belong Here? #3

Let me start off by saying that I am LOVING living in San Francisco. Every day, I can picture myself living here post-grad a little bit more. The city suits me well. I love the combination of the city life and the fun, exciting events for people in their 20’s mixed with the calm waves of beaches nearby and the hiking adventures waiting inside the Redwood Forest or Lake Tahoe that are just a few hours away. I can picture myself here so clearly. But, at the same time, I can’t help but feeling like I don’t belong.

I knew San Francisco was full of tech people, but I don’t think I REALLY knew the extent. Besides the other interns I work with, I have not met one other intern not in tech. And that’s fine. I don’t mind being a career-choice minority. But I do mind when I feel like people I meet are judging me for not being in the tech industry. They seem surprised when I explain what I do and it’s almost as if they’re asking so why are you even here?

I often feel like I need to prove myself. Prove that the work I am doing is just as important as theirs, although maybe not as “glamorous.” But no one is malicious. People seem genuinely intrigued when I talk about corporate social responsibility but it does not often go beyond an initial “what do you do?” question. It’s almost as if, because I’m not in tech, they don’t know how to converse with me. And then (and this has happened on multiple occasions) I’m stuck in a conversation about coding and personal IT projects where I don’t understand the language and can’t contribute to the conversation.

I do not believe at all that the tech interns I have met are trying to push me out of conversations. Everyone has been so nice and that makes this internal conflict of deciding if I want to move here even harder. The people are nice, the city is amazing, but will I always feel like I am living on the outside, unable to fully relate to the other people of San Francisco?

It’s a question that I will try to spend the rest of my summer figuring out.

One thought on “Do I Belong Here? #3

  • July 12, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    Hi Lilah, thank you for your honest and raw reflection about intern socialization in San Francisco.

    Have you talked to any of the professional staff at UniversalGiving about what you’ve experienced? I do know there is something very different about moving and making your life in a new city, vs. when you live there temporarily. Of course tech is the major employer in the area, but there are also hundreds of thousands of people living in the Bay Area who don’t work in tech. Or if they do, they aren’t coding and working on the IT side of things. If there’s any staff at UniversalGiving who moved for the job and came from elsewhere, it could be interesting to do an informational interview with them about that experience.

    I’m sending you some good energy from Ann Arbor that your last month in San Fran helps you find some clarity.


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