First Week in San Francisco
Hi, my name is Aiden, and I’m from Boston, MA. I’m a business student at Northeastern University with a concentration in entrepreneurship, and I’ve come to San Francisco after only my first semester in college. I’ve traveled here to learn from successful entrepreneurs and grow my network outside of the east coast, but also to experience something outside of my comfort zone. It’s been my dream for years to come to the west coast, and I’ve experienced so much already.
When I first arrived in San Francisco, adrenaline was running high as I stepped foot in a massive city late at night, with block after block of homeless people as I tried to familiarize myself with this new city. Every block was vacant, with only street lights keeping me company. All I could see was a community of people that were just starting their day after everyone else’s had ended. They were pushing grocery carts with everything they own inside of them. In the alleyways, I could only see darkly lit figures smoking and talking at an unintelligible volume from where I was standing. The sidewalks were slightly damp and wet, as it seemingly always is at night even if it hadn’t rained that day. For the first time, I was in unfamiliar territory where I didn’t have a real concept of where I am or who the people around me were. That still holds true but in a much different way.
I’ve been in San Francisco for about two weeks now, and I’ve noticed a lot of things. I’ve seen interactions between working people and homeless people that I’ve never before experienced. The immediate feeling I had when I first came to San Francisco was that this city has a different attitude towards homeless people than Boston does. The first full day I spent I came to a crosswalk where two construction workers were working on a telephone pole, and as a homeless woman came by in a wheelchair they didn’t ignore her but instead had a conversation with her. They made her presence feel acknowledged, which seemed like a conscious decision on their part and made me feel like I was in a different world.
Although I’m still the totally lost wanderer who is heavily reliant on Google Maps and awaits his trip to the Golden Gate Bridge, I do think I’ve gained enough perspective from the past two weeks to know that the west coast is 180-degrees different from the east coast. In San Francisco, I’m finding that it’s still possible to walk down a major street and find untouched storefronts from the early 30s and 40s, and there are more restaurants to eat at than meals to eat while I’m here. Everywhere I go I’m seeing a wealth of diversity that doesn’t exist even in a city like Boston. My expectations on a daily basis from this are continuously rising, as every day brings a new challenge and environment that I’ve never before been in. By the end of my time in SF, I think I’ll come back to Boston with a new perspective in mind. I’ll be just a bit more comfortable being uncomfortable.