Friday, April 17, 2009

Summer Plans

As the year comes to an end, many people are thinking about what they will do for the summer. Some are just looking for summer jobs, others want internships, and some people will just stay at home and be a bum all summer. My parents are not forcing me to get a job if I don't want to, however it will give me something to do.

A few months ago, I was nominated by my professor to apply for the Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI) being held this summer. CSSI is an all-expense paid two week program put on by Google at their headquarters in Mountain View, California. It is focused toward increasing interest in Computer Science for underrepresented groups such as women, Hispanics, African-Americans, and Native-Americans. Not knowing much about the program, I still decided to fill out the application. It would be a good chance to find out if my major is really a good fit for me. I didn't think I really had a chance since they only accept 20 people from colleges across the nation, but no matter what, the application process would still be good practice for me.

After filling out an application, students earn interview spots. Since not everyone can just get up and go to California for an interview, these were conducted over the phone. I was surprised when I got the email saying that I needed to set up a time for this. I had made it to the next round. The interview was about an hour long and consisted of technical question some of which were actual questions for potential Google employees. After completing this, there was another month to wait to find out who got in and who didn't.

Well, that email came out on Tuesday. I got in. The email was congratulating me on my acceptance and also contained some forms that I now have to fill out. I have to sign a release form due to some of the activities we will be doing. No, we won't be jumping through any hoops of fire or anything like that. We will be going on a boat tour in the San Francisco Bay and some other social activities. Google also has a volleyball court and other fun places to hang out on their complex. They just have to make sure that they have all their bases covered for insurance purposes. I also have to get a background check done since we will be given ID badges giving us access to Google's offices while we are there. This allows us to adventure through the complex freely and unescorted each day.

A typical day will start by getting a shuttle ride from out hotel to the Googleplex. Once we get there, we can get breakfast at one of the cafes before we meet as a group. Then we will have some classroom and work time before lunch. The afternoon may have some meetings, speakers, or a fun activity. We can also have dinner at the complex if we want. There will be plenty of time for us to network with the other participants as well as some of the employees.

This really is the chance of a lifetime. Sure people use Google on a daily basis. I use it multiply times a day. But how many opportunities do people get to actually experience life at Google? Not many. It still seems kind of crazy when I hear my phone ringing and look down at the caller ID to see that Google is calling. Hopefully this program will help confirm if Computer Science really is the career for me. As for the rest of the summer plans, we'll just have to wait and see how that goes.