Once a busy city, people moving from one place to the other, business meetings on every corner, hundreds of tech and networking events every week, San Francisco is now a ghost town. San Francisco is where young entrepreneurs challenge business rules: the perfect habitat for implementing the next big idea. But, since London Breed, the city’s Mayor, instituted a stay at home order, we have seen churches close, technology events canceled, and major businesses shut their doors throughout the city. 

As a college student here, seeing my classmates leave for their home countries in the middle of the semester was so saddening. It meant no more outings to Bob’s Donuts at 10 pm, no more Sunday evening soccer matches with Minerva soccer enthusiasts. Taking a quick walk to Apple Union square or Amazon loft is now a thing of the past, and the lively Minerva 10:01s we anticipated every Sunday will no longer happen. All these amazing events that bring us together as a community have been indefinitely suspended.

The situation worsens when you consider our summer plans will likely be canceled, as my internship has already been. Today, remote internships are the new normal, but the competition is so high because so few companies can afford to hire interns during this period. When I got accepted to Minerva, I was so excited that I would have the opportunity to spend a year in the city dubbed the mecca of technology. I envisioned attending Facebook F8 events and Google or Apples’ developer’s day. Instead, as a result of the pandemic, these events have been canceled.

Before the pandemic, I had plans in place to create a platform to change how we learn and connect with each other. I built a landing page for Deeging, an app to connect students with private tutors, their school teachers, or lecturers so every student can get the help they need anytime, anywhere. Thousands of students have signed up already. The pandemic has made me realize platforms like Deeging are more important now than ever before. Despite not knowing how to create apps and because of this realization and the resulting belief and passion I have for the product, I am working hard; I am learning to develop iOS and Android apps to build Deeging. I won’t say the process has been fun, but I know the effort is worth it. Sometimes I am stuck for hours trying to figure out why a line of code won’t work – going on Stackoverflow with no success. I have thought about giving up, but, when I remember people whose lives could be impacted by this platform, I am motivated to continue until I see a breakthrough. 

When all this is over, I think there will be a shift in the way the world operates; online programs or meetings will no longer be seen as inferior to the physical ones. The habits we have picked will lead to the creation of new markets and businesses in different sectors. I hope my experience during this time will serve as a launching pad towards making me a better version of myself, and I hope the same will happen for society at large when it’s all over.