As I have now been studying in Washington D.C. for over a month already, I’ve had time to compare the life and culture here, to life in Berkeley. While California is my home, and I’m very grateful to have been born and raised in the West Coast, I’ve realized the only really great place in the West is California. There’s no other place I’ve ever been really eager to explore over there.
Now maybe this is only because I’ve recently been exposed to a new place, a new coast. But on the East it seems like there is so much more here to see, learn and absorb. Not to mention, traveling on the East coast is at times cheaper than what it would cost just to take a trip down to Los Angeles from the Bay Area.
The weather is much different here than in California, obviously. It’s much colder here, and although I love the sun and warmth at home, it’s nice to see rain and watch the snow fall. It’s different experiencing a “real” winter.
I haven’t had much of a culture shock while being here in Washington. In a lot of ways it reminds me of home and of San Francisco. I like to describe D.C. as a small, big city. It has tall buildings, and the hustle and bustle vibe, yet still has a suburban, small town feel to it.
The Bay Area in particular has a much more casual dress code when going to work, and Washington (or the East Coast as a whole) in general, has much higher standards for business attire. When it comes to meeting people and networking, people in the East Coast seem a lot more willing to talk. I’ve found that people are more willing to help you out, and genuinely want to help others succeed, and work as a resource to provide people with connections they have. In the West Coast, specifically the Bay Area (Berkeley and California), people do not talk. It’s much harder to meet someone at a coffee shop and get to know them than it is in the East. It’s also a lot harder to find someone who is willing to take time out of their day to help you.
As I’ve now experienced work and school in both coasts, it’s easy for me to compare and point out the good and bad of both places. However, what I think is most important, is that if you can, you should take the opportunity to experience both.
Depending on what your career goals are, what you want to do, and where you want to be is something that you need to figure out while traveling and exploring new places. For as long as I can remember I was set on moving to Los Angeles after graduating. Now that I’ve expanded my horizons, I’ve come to realize that I was really limiting myself. I’ve seen much more and I’ve noticed that I enjoy politics more than I thought. I want to travel, I want to explore all of the East Coast, and I want to see all that the world has to offer.
Often times we hold ourselves back because we fear the unknown. I was terrified to move to D.C., but now that I’ve done it I couldn’t be happier. I couldn’t imagine missing out on this opportunity, and I’m glad I’ve realized all the options I have. Not just careerwise, but lifewise.