This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Alexander Nguyen, a software engineer who moved from New York City to Seattle for a job at Amazon. It was his first job out of college, and he says it was the loneliest time of his life. The following has been edited for length and clarity.
I spent four years in New York City and studied computer science at New York University. I always had fun and often explored the city all day and well into the night.
During the day, my friends and I got bubble tea from Boba Guys, hung out in Greenwich Village, and people-watched. At night, we went to White Oaks Tavern, the warm and comforting speakeasy bar popular with university students.
After graduating, I started applying to tech jobs. The job-hunting process was very draining and demotivating — I went over at least 300 software-engineering problems on my own, trying to figure out how to present myself in front of an interviewer. I was rejected around 40 times, which made me feel like I was doing something wrong.
Finally, after a three-month job search, things started looking up: I received a software-development-engineering job offer from Amazon in 2020.