Getting a new life off the ground
May 17, 2007 7:53 PM   Subscribe

I'm graduating college and going across the country to San Francisco for grad school. I couldn't be more excited about this, but there's the minor issue of a job and a place to stay until school starts in the fall.

This coming fall I'll be starting grad school at USF in computer science. I'm really excited to be moving out to the bay area, I've always been so envious of the awesome CS stuff that happens out there.

I'd love to move out over the summer so that I can get settled into the city, but I need to sort out a job and a place. My boyfriend will be moving out with me over the summer, though he'll be returning in the fall to finish his Bachelor's.

This is one of the biggest shifts I've ever gone through. I've never lived in a big city. Hell, I've never lived outside of a dorm or my parents' place. I've lived very happily for seven years now sharing tiny dorm rooms, so my standards aren't high as far as that goes. What should we be looking for as we search for a place? Any things to watch for, or invaluable resources for finding an affordable apt? We need a place for two people, though we don't mind sharing a small space, nor do we have a problem with additional roommate(s).

I've tracked down a few potential summer internships and job opportunities, and I'm putting together applications. Any advice there as well is very welcome. If the job is working out, there's a good chance I'd stay part-time while taking graduate classes. Perhaps things like industry conventions for what is important to include on a resume, good places to look for a job, etc. Also, I dunno if it would be relevant to the advice, but I have experience doing real-world development both on the web and the desktop, and I tested within the top 95% of graduating computer science students. (resume-speak leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but I don't know enough to know what is and isn't relevant here)
posted by Rictic to Work & Money (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks for asking this. I don't have anything to contribute but I'll be in your same position pretty much a year from now. Minus the job availability and hireableness. And the grad school part. Heh.
posted by griphus at 8:12 PM on May 17, 2007

Craigslist is the obvious go-to for housing and even part time or contract jobs, especially in the Bay Area. One oft-overlooked avenue is the "housing wanted" section of Craigslist. There are lots of people with apartments or rooms in apartments that find their renters through housing wanted ads. When you post an ad for an available room on craigslist, especially if it's reasonable, you get an absolute flood of responses. So lots of people just lurk around the housing wanted ads until they find someone they like. I found my room that way and it's worked out very well.

It will help you to learn a little bit about San Francisco neighborhoods, so you know what you're getting into with your rental. Wikipedia is a decent starting point, just look up "san francisco neighborhoods" and you'll get a good list. Don't get caught in the trap of thinking that SF proper can't have true bad neighborhoods. It does. Not bad in the sense that you'll be in real danger, but bad in the sense that some are crawling with drug dealers, addicts, homeless people, etc. The tenderloin, for example, can be really unpleasant on some corners and many blocks smell unrelentingly of piss. And other neighborhoods, like the Haight, are just really annoying, unless you like that sort of thing.
And be sure to think about transportation: SF has decent trains and buses, but they don't run late at night and they tend to be a long-ish wait at non-rush hour times. So try to live somewhere either within walking distance to school/work or on a direct bus line so you don't have to deal with transfers.

Good luck!
posted by ohio at 8:47 PM on May 17, 2007

I'm going to echo Ohio: Everyone here uses craigslist. For everything.

Get a short term rental until you find the neighborhood you want. Your going to need a place to stay as soon as you get here, and it will take a good amount of time to find the right location. If you are into the gay scene, Castro or SOMA have lots to offer.

And please, for the love of God, go to Zeitgeist (bar / beer garden) for an entire warm, sunny Sunday afternoon. Hell--make it a metafilter meetup and make some friends when you get here.

Get ready for high rent, noisy neighbors and bad weather, but I cant ever imagine leaving. This is a truly great city, with great people, food, bars, and things to do. Sign up for squidlist to keep up on the latest events. This weekend: Bay to Breakers, a race for a few runners and a 7:00AM drunken stumble for the rest of the city. Fun.

Best of luck to you, you'll love it here.
posted by vaportrail at 9:38 PM on May 17, 2007

If you want to make some money, you can probably start work on campus during the summer, especially if you've already contacted a professor you're interested in working with. Just tell them you're interested in getting a head-start on your upcoming work, or that you want to get a feeling for the kind of research he/she is doing. This not only shows motivation on your part, but also comes with the added benefit of providing you with an income!

Should that fail, you can always take up waitering for a few months. Jobs like that shouldn't be hard to come by and you'd be able to learn about the social scene in SF. Whatever you choose, I wish you the best in your move and your upcoming grad work!
posted by Aanidaani at 11:02 PM on May 17, 2007

Yeah, seconding aanidaani's suggestion, some professor will probably already have something you could work on over the summer. It's a really good way to get settled in before the Fall when you have classes and a rush of students everywhere.

Is this a PhD or MS?
posted by Mercaptan at 10:13 AM on May 18, 2007

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