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12/08/2014 09:26 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

What Is It Like to Grow Up in the Silicon Valley Right Now?

Is Silicon Valley a good place to raise children? Why?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

2014-12-03-daniella

Answer by Daniella Maydan, lives in Palo Alto

I'm going to come at this from the perspective of a teenager that's currently growing up in Palo Alto. I attend Palo Alto High School. There are many Pros and many Cons.

Pros:

  • Great weather (according to most). Although I personally would have loved to grow up in an area where there are actual seasons, the weather here is pretty darn good. It's always pretty warm. It doesn't snow, and it doesn't rain much.
  • It's very safe
  • The community is very accepting of LGBTs
  • Kids don't worry as much about being popular. They do however worry about not being smart enough (being a nerd is cool here!)
  • You're surrounded by brilliant and innovative people. Most people surrounding you are very smart and educated. Kids that grow up here have very high educational standards.
  • Which also leads me to the point that the schools here are fantastic. Your child will receive an amazing education.
  • There are plenty of extra curricular opportunities. This is especially true for people interested in STEM based jobs. Plenty of my friends have internships at UCSF and Stanford. There are also plenty of programs in the area. Stanford has a few summer programs for kids interested in medicine. Silicon Valley is also very active and many kids play sports.

Cons:

  • It is VERY stressful. Going to high school here is EXTREMELY hard and stressful. The standard is very high. People that would be top of their class in any other school, are completely lost in the middle. They sometimes barely even make the top 20% of their class. It makes you feel pretty worthless. You work your butt off and yet there will always be A BUNCH of people that are way better than you are. I'm talking about people that are taking multivariable calculus as freshman. People that got 2350s (or higher) on the SAT in 6th grade. People that have real jobs as programmers. People that went to your middle school, and yet somehow now attend a world class university such as Berkeley or Stanford (at the age of 14). There are so many of these people that it's become normal. These people aren't the exception. I think that kids that grow up here tend to do better than most after high school. Many people that go to college from other areas are completely unprepared, but people coming from Palo Alto usually don't find it as hard. The jump is not as big. However, high school is a living hell for many of us (but, I guess this is true for most people...). Now, it's awesome that as kids we are pushed to work hard and that we are surrounded by very intelligent people. However, many times it gets to be way too much.
  • It gives you a very naive view on the world. We live in a very rich and privileged area. Everyone person surrounding us went to a top university, founded their own start up and has maybe even become a billionaire before the age of 25 (Mark Zuckerberg)... We have no idea what the real world is like. A bunch of us are spoiled brats. While that is definitely not most of us, a lot of us are still very spoiled. I wasn't even going to mention it at first because it seemed so normal to me, but the reality is, most people do not have the newest iphones and ipads. Most people don't own macbook pros or have their own google glass. It's not normal for your high school's parking lot to be filled with cars that cost over50,000.
  • There is a huge divide between the wealthy and the working class, and the area is extremely expensive! Our teachers can't even afford to live in the area. Some of them drive over 2 hours every morning just to get to school. There are also a lot of kids that live in East Palo Alto that attend Palo Alto High School. Their lives are drastically different from ours. There is a huge divide between the kids living in East Palo Alto and between the kids living in Palo Alto. Although people are generally accepting, there is definitely this idea of them not being "as good" as us. If your parent isn't an engineer, doctor, or lawyer, then people generally look down on you. It may not be evident in our actions, but it's definitely what the people around here think.
  • We barely value anything other than STEM classes. Most people that I go to school with think that English and History are a joke. Math and science are ALWAYS the classes that people place emphasis on. A huge amount of my friend's parents let them (and tell them) to skip these classes in order to study for their math and science classes. This is even worse for the arts. The kids and parents here barely care about the arts. We have been raised to value careers in STEM and so we barely hold any value for any other career options.

In conclusion, I'm still very undecided on this subject. The area is fantastic! As a parent I would most definitely want my child to grow up in an environment like this! But as a student, I'm not so sure...

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