This past summer I was able to spend a summer in Silicon Valley working at Apple. I was a software engineering intern, working on iOS. I also lived in downtown San Francisco with some of my best friends from the University of Michigan. I learned a ton of things and would by far call this summer one of the most important times of my life. Here are a few thoughts.
When I found out I had an offer for a company I had been obsessed with since I was about 13, I honestly didn’t know what to feel besides an incredible amount of excitement to start working. It would be impossible to write out and explain everything that I learned from Apple. Apple isn’t simply a company that people go to because they want to just make some money and do whatever they got a degree for. People end up at Apple because they love what they do, have strong opinions, and want to build incredible products that impact millions and millions of people. Everyone you meet at Apple is there for a reason.
Beyond just caring about their work, people at Apple seem to do something incredible: they combine what they truly care about with whatever they do for Apple producing authentic, incredible products. Whether the interest was parasailing, reenacting Shakespeare, or owning a winery, everyone brought these sometimes bizarre, quirky interests to work and produced some really incredible things. The best work of your life comes by combining all of your interests, not replacing your passions and interests with some job that pays the bills.
Additionally, Apple maintains their culture by embracing a brilliant mixture of psychedelia/surfing/engineering/music/art/zen/liberal arts. In addition to discussing how to optimize the performance of a UITableView, my manager and I would discuss what music we both liked, where to take good road trips, and what lenses I should buy for my camera.
Silicon Valley Internships.
Although I am biased, I would say that interning at a company in silicon valley is one of the best experiences you can have in college, and will truly change your life. You will meet people who are very similar to you from across the world, and have a few months to hang out with them and have the adventures of your life. Much of the “growing up” I have done in college has been during my summer internships, and not so much during my school years. Internships are a perfect intersection of the exploration and learning of college with the freedom and work of the real world.
Other Things I Learned.
I have smart friends.
Mission Dolores Park is a way of life on weekends.
Summer bonfires on the coast are fantastic.
San Francisco is not cheap.
San Francisco is much more amazing if you explore the neighborhoods and become well acquainted with them.
Tim Cook loves oreo froyo. (There is a very stalkerish photo I have somewhere on my instagram if you really are that curious.)
Taqueria Cancun will forever make Chipotle taste bland.
Road trips are fun (especially in nice cars)
Chris is impossible to wake up on weekends.
Sam hates chalk.