Some time ago I read old blog posts Mikko wrote introducing people who had become Startup Life interns in the first batches. I remember reading their stories and in my wildest dreams I wanted to become like them. These people had founded and exited companies, had years of experience in the field or were finishing their studies. They were cool. Luckily, Mikko gave me the right push at the right time and got me to apply for Startup Life.
I was one of the very junior developers to intern through Startup Life. I wasn’t even a bachelor yet, I had never worked in a company as a software developer before nor I had any experience about startups other than hanging out at Startup Sauna and Boost Turku. So it was pretty intimidating to move to San Francisco and become a fellow alumnus with the forementioned people. I can now admit I had no idea what IPO meant, what was churn or how to do a code review the first day I started at Chartio. And yeah, it was scary.
I know there are others like me wondering if they should apply. People who know how to make things happen but are bit afraid of not knowing the lingua and processes used. People who might be little worried about moving alone to the other side of the world for the first time. People who think that it’s not worth taking the leap.
I want to say a few words of encouragement: it’s okay to be scared. It’s okay not to know everything when you start – everyone is a beginner once. Asking for clarification and help is the most important thing for an intern to do. It’s your job and responsibility – not only to yourself but to the company – for the first few weeks or months to ask questions. The fact is people don’t expect you to know everything but to be able to learn them fast enough. And especially in Silicon Valley the culture is very welcoming for asking questions. No one has ever said to me “I don’t have time (or I don’t want to) to answer your questions” in San Francisco.
And you’ll never be alone, if you’re a Startup Life intern. The community of current and previous interns and the extended Finnish family there is amazing. I didn’t know anyone when I went there and the first weekend I ended up watching hockey and football with Nippe and his friends and spent good part of the year eating dinner with fellow Lifers.
And those smart people I mentioned in the beginning? I have the pleasure to call many of them my friends these days. And me? Well, I am not scared anymore. Now I know, that anything can be done and if ever home sickness grows too big, I know I can always fly home.
Juhis spent the last year working at Chartio as a developer.
Chartio is recruiting again! Check their Front-end Engineering Intern position in our jobs section!  

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