If I told you a year ago that I would be living in California in the San Fransico/Bay Area for more than 3 months doing an internship in software app. development, I would have laughed at you. A year ago during this time, I was coming off of my first year at the University of Miami getting ready to transfer to the University of Michigan. I was working in a warehouse and delivering computers to schools in different districts. A year ago, I didn’t know what was possible as a computer science major. I didn’t really know how far I could reach. Now, here I am thousands of miles away from home and my family, working at Workday as a software app. development intern. It’s been life-changing.
If I had to tell you the difference between living in the Bay Area and living in West Bloomfield, Michigan, of course, I have to start with the weather. It’s night and day. However, not in all the ways you think. For example, mornings here in Dublin where I’m living are pretty cold depending on the day. Sometimes it gets as low as the 40s. However, when it gets as high as 90 degrees for the majority of the day, you can deal with a chilly wake-up. In Michigan, there isn’t that much of a difference in the weather from morning to night. It pretty much stays relatively warm the whole day with the higher temperatures during the afternoon. It also has not rained a single time while I have been in the Bay Area, which goes to show how serious the drought is here. Next week in Michigan, it’s gonna be raining 4 out of the 7 days while in the 80s and 90s( a typical muggy summer). I’ve also had the opportunity to go to the beach here, and I must say that you will humble yourself very quickly once you step foot into the Pacific Ocean water(It’s ridiculously cold). While I appreciate the year-round sunny weather, it sort of makes me miss having all of the seasons in Michigan(despite the terrible, legendary, and unholy winters). You get to see the beauty of all the different seasons that you can’t get in the Bay Area. I’ve found that its something you tend to take for granted while being here.
My first impressions of the people I’ve met here in California so far is that they are so laid back. People seem to be so calm and walk at their own pace. Even in the larger cities like San Francisco, no ones seems to be in a rush. Even the work environment here is different. At Workday, employees here seem to be relaxed and adaptable. The clock-in time here is also very open-ended. While I almost always come to work around 8:30/8:45am every morning and leave around 5:30, I’ve seen employees come in from 9-10am and leave at around 4(like, HOW?). Looking back on how I grew up in Michigan up till now, I would definitely say my lifestyle wasn’t the same. Growing up in a black family in the suburbs, I feel like you always are moving at a faster pace trying to keep up with everyone else. Don’t let the nice neighborhood we live in fool you. Just because we live in a nice area, it doesn’t mean the paycheck is the same as the others. My parents have sacrificed so much for me and my sister to be here. My dad is working two jobs to help pay the bills and my mom works late into the early morning for her own job. They’ve taught me from my youth till now that I already have one strike on my life in this world due to my skin color, so I have to work that much harder in order to get the same opportunities as others. I never had the luxuries with working that I have here with Workday. A part of myself admires the lifestyle that the people I work with have here where I’m interning. That’s because they are given the resources and the environment to thrive and they produce great results in return. As much as there is leeway as far as clock-in hours, people here make up for that with how much work they put into their jobs. It’s not always all fun and games here in the Bay Area. People here work hard and get things done, and I envy that. If more places could create a work culture like the ones here in California, I believe more people would be drawn to that lifestyle and they would be able to make the most of their talents. Being one the only black interns here makes things a little lonely for me. I would love to see more of my people and other talented minorities be given the opportunity to show what they can do, and building a healthy environment for us is the way to go.