On leaving college, living in San Francisco, and working at a startup.


Hi, I'm Nate. I taught myself how to code before college, and I entered the University of Michigan last fall, where I took classes in writing, philosophy, and pure math. I learned a lot, but my biggest takeaway (especially after the math) was the realization that I needed a break from school.

I was an avid student of Spanish in high school, taking four years and earning a 5 on the AP Exam, so I began planning my dream gap year in Barcelona: becoming fluent in the language, immersing myself in the culture, and supporting myself through contract software development.

Somehow, though, after that first year, I was able to land an internship at Google, so in May, I flew out to San Francisco and moved into a place in the Mission District. I soon realized that a lot of what I was looking for was right where I was in San Francisco: the limitless opportunity to improve my craft, the unparalleled personal growth that comes from living on my own in an iconic, bohemian city, and a hungry market for entrepreneurial software engineers.

In mid-August, I officially disenrolled from my sophomore year of classes. I spent September traveling across America, visiting ten states and staying in Los Angeles, Ann Arbor, Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago before heading back to San Francisco by way of 52 hours on Amtrak.

I'm now at Jupiter as a full-time software engineer. I joined as their first hire, shortly after the founders completed YC S19, and it's been an amazing journey so far.

I write monthly here about leaving college and living in San Francisco. I hope you enjoy.


Why I Dropped Out

From College to Google to a Startup

25 February 2020 · 33 min read

My 2019 in review: freshman year, leaving college, a summer at Google, and joining a startup. Plans for 2020, and whether I'm going back — to either.


Managing My Google Internship Money

20 November 2019 · 13 min read

I made $40,000 working this summer as a software engineering intern. On recessionary woes, high-yield savings accounts, and everything else I've needed to learn to manage this pile of cash.

The California Zephyr

Chicago to San Francisco by Train and How to Travel on a Budget

1 November 2019 · 13 min read

A photojournal of 52 hours on Amtrak, from the Mississippi River to San Francisco Bay. A round trip across America for $500: SJC to LAX to DTW to BOS to PHL to MDW to San Francisco. Some tips for finding cheap flights.

Hello to All That?

My First Summer in Silicon Valley

16 September 2019 · 26 min read

On moving to San Francisco at nineteen and my first summer in Silicon Valley. What I've learned and why I'm coming back.

4320 Minutes

The Common App and My Suspension

20 August 2019 · 12 min read

Why I took three unplanned days off of school the summer after my freshman year. Handling my high school suspension during the college admissions process and beyond. Thoughts four years later.

Getting a Google Internship Freshman Year

11 May 2019 · 13 min read

From application, to interview, to offer — my path to landing a full software engineering intern position at Google as a first-year student, my slightly unconventional hiring process, and a few resources I recommend for those going through the process now.

After High School Track

On Keeping Up in College

9 April 2019 · 12 min read

I was a 4:36 miler in high school, running at least 30 miles per week all year round. Since coming to college, week by week, I've run less and less and less. Some thoughts about getting back into it, featuring my favorite hometown haunt.

A Definitive Proof That 1 > 0

2 March 2019 · 16 min read

The most interesting proof I did in my first-year real analysis course — drawing on the ordered field axioms to prove 1 > 0. An introduction to mathematical reasoning from first principles.

A Guide to Applying to Michigan

On Ross Preferred Admission, LSA vs Engineering, and More

9 January 2019 · 10 min read

Things to know when applying to the University of Michigan — LSA vs. Engineering vs. Ross, dual degrees, Ross preferred admission, AP credit, majors, housing, Bursley or Baits, and more.