Google Chrome Academy 2013
Last week, I attended a program called Google Chrome Academy, and it was one of the most memorable weeks I’ve enjoyed in my life. Chrome Academy is a weeklong camp at Google’s main campus in Mountain View, CA, where rising sophomores and juniors learn about web technologies, such as AngularJS and Polymer, and build their own web apps for a culminating presentation. In a sense, it’s like a week-long hackathon. To me, it was a paid vacation. Everything is covered—from basics, such as flights, hotel, and food, to extras, such as Patagonia backpack, Nexus 7, and a Google apron. We rode around in limos, posed for photos with the storied bicycles Google has lying around campus, hand-made pizzas at a Google café, took pictures of ourselves sleeping on charter buses, ate garlic fries at AT&T park while watching the Giants face off against the Marlins, and talked late into the night about where we wanted to be next summer.
Few things in life are better than you anticipate it, but this was one of them. Perhaps it was the late-night coding fueled by beef jerky and OhYeah! protein bars, or the laughter shared with my teammates who all came from different walks of life, or the feeling of roaming Googleplex as if I were a freshman again, but everything seemed just right. I found myself inside a bubble where nearly everything and only the things I care about* were all there. I even managed to get a few sleep-deprived, weightlifting sessions in, one of which resulted in a snatch PR.
The food I ate, the free swag I got, and the new technologies I learned about will all fade into the past, but the people I met, the friends I made, the struggles, laughters, and aspirations we shared will be with me forever. Thank you to everyone who became a part of my experience at Chrome Academy, especially the organizers—Allison, Janet, Desiree, and Peter—my team, and the few others not on my team but wished you were.
*This is a dangerous statement to make because I care about many more things, such as family, but I’m going to go ahead and abuse my literary license.