by Nathan H. Leung, college dropout in San Francisco



by Nathan H. Leung

Hi, I'm Nate. I'm originally from a suburb of Philadelphia, PA. I taught myself how to code before college, and I entered the University of Michigan in September 2018, where I discovered interests in math, economics, and personal writing.

Looking to get more real-world experience after my freshman year of college, I left school in May 2019. Over the summer, I interned at Google. That October, shortly after the founders went through YC's Summer '19 batch, I joined Jupiter as their first hire. Outside of establishing a strong engineering organization and codifying the company's guiding development philosophies and practices, I spent a year building end-to-end systems with TypeScript, React, Kotlin, gRPC, and Kubernetes.

During my gap year at Jupiter, I also established California residency by living, voting, and paying taxes in San Francisco. Because of my new domicile, I made a plan to transfer to a UC school in Fall 2021 with an anticipated graduation date of May 2023, and I officially phased out of my role at Jupiter in November 2020 in preparation for that.

After finishing my transfer applications, I joined Ramp, a Series B fintech startup, as a software engineering intern. As of this writing, I'm thinking about the next few years of my life and career and considering my options for this fall: attending UC Berkeley, attending UCLA, or staying at Ramp full-time. I hope to make a decision soon.

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Featured · February 1st, 2021 · Long Essay

Startup Year

A Review of My Year at Jupiter (YC S19)

At the end of 2019, I moved to a new place in San Francisco and started my career as a startup software engineer. I am now planning on returning to college. My 2020 in review.


November 9th, 2020 · Quick Note

Hello from Nathan Leung

A Life Update

Two weeks ago, I sent 208 old friends — everyone from elementary school teachers to my intern mentor at Google — an email life update for the first time. Here's the email I sent, with some results.

July 29th, 2020 · Long Essay

Carpe Annum

My 2020 Gap Year Playbook (for Startups and Tech)

As more and more colleges go online, I've started to get more questions from students about taking a gap year. If you're looking to take a gap year soon, willing to learn how to code, and interested in pursuing a career in tech, here's what I recommend.

June 8th, 2020 · Quick Note

A Few Words

On George Floyd

A few words on George Floyd, racism, and taking action.

March 31st, 2020 · Long Essay

Playing in Traffic

How to Make a Professional Personal Website for Free

This blog is deployed to Europe, Asia, SF, and NYC. It's secured with SSL, updates instantly, and is served from my personal domain. An intro to HTML/CSS, web hosting, and DNS, and how to get this for free.

February 25th, 2020 · Long Essay

Why I Dropped Out

From My Freshman Year to Google to a Startup

My 2019 in review: freshman year, leaving college, a summer at Google, and joining a startup. Some notes on 2020 and beyond.


November 20th, 2019 · Quick Note


Managing My $40K Google Internship Money

I made $40,000 working this summer as a software engineering intern. From high-yield savings to stocks and bonds, here's how I'm managing this pile of cash.

November 1st, 2019 · Quick Note

The California Zephyr

From Chicago to San Francisco by Train in 52 Hours

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.

September 16th, 2019 · Long Essay

Hello to All That?

Scenes from My First Summer in Tech

On moving to San Francisco at nineteen, and interesting moments from my first summer in Silicon Valley.

Featured · August 20th, 2019 · Quick Note

4320 Minutes

How I Handled My Suspension on the Common App

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.

May 11th, 2019 · Quick Note

The Internship

How I Got a Google Internship Freshman Year

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

Featured · April 9th, 2019 · Quick Note

Rock, Stick, Mud

Why I Run

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.

March 2nd, 2019 · Long Essay

From Zero to One

A Definitive Proof That 1 > 0

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.

January 9th, 2019 · Quick Note

A Guide to Applying to Michigan

On Ross Preferred Admission, LSA vs Engineering, and More

Updated for 2021. 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.