SF GIRL(S): Why SF College Graduates Have It Made


Jessica Schimm is a beloved 7x7 online intern who recently graduated from SF State. This is the third of three posts she's written about what it's like to navigate the tough patch of life between college and the real world, without completely freaking out. 

It may not be profound, but it’s true: graduating college is equal parts exciting and terrifying. At least that’s what I’m feeling right about now.

A few weeks ago, I graduated with one of the largest graduating classes in the history of San Francisco State. Myself along with more than 8,000 students will soon be receiving diplomas in the mail, our degrees in fancy type, which really is another way of saying: “Welcome to the real world,” or maybe: “The good life is over, now start doing what you’ll be doing for the rest of your life without a summer break.”

As San Francisco college graduates, we do have one advantage others do not; we already know the city of San Francisco and most likely some of the people who work in our industries here.

In college I was told time and time again “it’s all about who you know.” Granted, I studied media. But I think this is true for most industries. So if we’ve done local internships and networked, then I think it’s safe to say that we have a leg up on all of the other outsiders trying to make their way in.

To be honest, (minus the extreme rent rate) I do think this city is a pretty good place to be for college graduates to launch their careers, and here’s why:

1. Startup Central

Someone recently said to me “Everything in SF is a startup”. AngelList.com, a website for startups, says that you can browse over 3,700 startups in San Francisco alone. For us, that’s over 3,700 chances to jump in early and help create something big. Startups are often willing to hire fresh college grads - they can be just as desperate for enthusiastic employees as we are for jobs. A few friends of mine already work at startups and I have an interview with one next week, (fingers crossed).

2. Breeding Grounds for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

If you don’t get hired at a startup, no sweat, San Francisco is all about innovation, making it a great place for entrepreneurs. Though my department at SF State mostly spoke about integrating entrepreneurship courses in relation to the new trend in my major’s industry, I couldn’t help but wonder if the idea was also influenced by the occurrence of recent grads who have gone on to become entrepreneurs in SF. It’s no simple feat, but worth considering while we’re young, not tied down, and have little to lose.

3. Highest Minimum Wage in the Nation $10.25

When entering the workforce straight from college, almost all my friends have taken service jobs while figuring out their “real job” in the meantime. San Francisco could not be a better place to do this, with hoards of new restaurants opening all the time there is a ton of opportunity to save up or pay rent with a service job while interviewing for your dream job. And though the minimum wage rate evens out in the city, it still puts you at a considerable advantage as soon as you step out of the Bay Area.

4. Second Best City for Working Women

It is worth noting that when us SF girls do get a job in San Francisco, we can expect to be earning 84% of what men earn, according to Business Insider which listed San Francisco as the second best city for working women. That statistic is sadly staggering, but with women-advocates like Sheryl Sandberg, Jennifer Newsom and Peggy Orenstein (to name a few) living in our backyard, energy of female empowerment here in the city is working to change that number to 100%. After interviewing successful women in the city for my blog Women Who Run San Francisco, I have found this to be true.

Cheers to a new chapter and let the job hunting begin!

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