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Google Chrome Academy 2013

Posted Jun 27 2013 7:53pm

Team Baguette

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.

At Google, we heard first-hand about web technologies such as Polymer and AngularJS from the developers who built those technologies. We learned how to optimize our websites and utilize HTML5 features from Googlers who helped write specs. Everyone who dropped by were masters of their fields. They were all probably busy with more pressing matters, but here they were, there, in-person, open to having one-on-one conversations and help sessions.

Going to Chrome Academy made me realize what I want to do and where I want to be after graduating college. I want to be in California. I want to be a software engineer. I want to be neck deep in code building things. I knew, somewhere in the back of my head, that this is what I wanted before Chrome Academy, but being there, on Google’s campus, in Mountain View, and among like-minded students solidified the plan in my mind.

And now for more pictures!

*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.

Google Bike

Me and Andre (half-Korean!) pretending to eat raw pizza. Andre's awesome cause he also likes to eat healthy and lifting.

Me and Andre (half-Korean!) pretending to eat raw pizza. Andre’s awesome cause he also likes to eat healthy and lifting.

A glutinous white rice bowl with Spanish chicken, lightly fried quail egg, and sauteed green onions. The salty and savory mix brought featured a few, excellent, pure flavors.

A glutinous white rice bowl with Spanish chicken, lightly fried quail egg, and sauteed green onions. The salty and savory mix brought featured a few, excellent, pure flavors.

The hotel room.

The hotel room.

A few of my teammates walking along the San Francisco bay.

A few of my teammates walking along the San Francisco bay.

A surprise delivery of Shake Shack coordinated by Janet, one of the awesome organizers of Chrome Academy.

A surprise delivery of Shake Shack coordinated by Janet, one of the awesome organizers of Chrome Academy.

Two, meaty beef patties with slices of American cheese wrapped in lettuce. I ate two of these. They were that good.

Two, meaty beef patties with slices of American cheese wrapped in lettuce. I ate two of these. They were that good.

Pork and red onion.

Pork and red onion.

Deliciously bloody steak.

Deliciously bloody steak.

Mixed greens salad.

Mixed greens salad.

A smorgasbord of brussel sprouts, Indian-style mushrooms, chicken, and fresh red onions.

A smorgasbord of brussel sprouts, Indian-style mushrooms, chicken, and fresh red onions.

A Mexican specialty dish which I forgot the name of. Steel-cut oats with a heaping of cinnamon and a few craisins. Cottage cheese. Boiled eggs. Banana chips. Whole wheat bread with peanut butter.

A Mexican specialty dish which I forgot the name of. Steel-cut oats with a heaping of cinnamon and a few craisins. Cottage cheese. Boiled eggs. Banana chips. Whole wheat bread with peanut butter.

Refrigerator full of Odwalla juice, free for the taking.

Refrigerator full of Odwalla juice, free for the taking.

There was as much garlic as there were fries.

There was as much garlic as there were fries.

Classic double cheese burger done right.

Classic double cheese burger done right.

A smathering of Asian dishes ranging from sushi to roasted duck.

A smathering of Asian dishes ranging from sushi to roasted duck.

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