Undergraduate Blog / Defining Your Babson

5 Things I’ve Learned So Far in San Francisco

5 Things I’ve Learned So Far in San Francisco

My first week in San Francisco was eye-opening. I grew up in Boston for the majority of my life before I decided that I needed to experience living in another setting. Let me tell you beforehand, there are many differences between west coast and east coast ways of life that take some getting used to. Some of you may have experienced this yourselves upon coming to Babson as well. I had no idea what to expect coming into San Francisco, but nonetheless, here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Professionalism in a T-shirt: Whereas at Babson you may be used to wearing a suit to most of your events, suits are a rare sight in the Bay Area. On one of our company treks, our host wore jeans and dropped swear words in the middle of his sentences while speaking to us. While this may seem odd at first, he managed to get his message across to us in a way that felt more authentic. It is nice not to have to worry too much about the manner in which you present yourself in the Bay Area – just “be real.” People working in San Francisco are more concerned about the work you produce rather than your appearance (which isn’t to say you should come to a meeting wearing booty shorts).
  • Be frugal: Budgeting is an essential skill to learn if you plan on living in San Francisco, which has been rated the #1 most expensive city in the United States. If you are able to master managing your budget in San Francisco – you can live anywhere. I’m still appalled at how a sandwich here can cost $10! It is very easy to spend a lot of money here, check your bank account, and then wonder where all your cash went. As a result, most of the students here have learned to cook on most days and walk around the city as opposed to paying for transportation.
  • Coffee shop living: I am fairly certain I spend more of my time at coffee shops as opposed to any other place, including my room. There’s a coffee shop on almost every block and most of them are always filled with customers. It’s an unspoken rule in the Bay Area that if you are looking to get work done, the best place to go to is a coffee shop. This doesn’t just apply to students either, there are plenty of startups in the Bay Area that resort to working out of coffee shops as well. People will even host meetings at them! It is not uncommon to sit at a coffee shop for hours with your laptop connected to wifi, sipping on a great cup of joe.
  • Diversity: San Francisco is a city with a strong sense of culture and a rich history of immigrants. As a result, many different ethnic groups and people of different backgrounds are established here, such as LGBTQ, Chinese, and Latin communities, plus many more. Many people living in San Francisco for the first time often mention that the level of diversity here is a culture shock for them. For this reason, San Francisco is a great place to go if you are looking to expand your perspective.
  • There’s an app for that: Lastly, it’s not possible to talk about San Francisco without talking about tech and innovation. For example, there’s a restaurant that just opened up called Eatsa, where you order your food on an iPad and collect your food from a pod. Residents and businesses here are extremely tied to their devices and there are digital services for everything. You’ll never need to drive a car again, do your own grocery shopping, or even laundry. If you can imagine something, it’s probably being developed or used here in San Francisco.

By Sandy Ta, Semester in SF student

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