Reflections 2018


Wow time flies. I'll try to keep this short and sweet, but we have a lot of stuff to cover.

Table of Contents

This Year in Numbers

491 Github contributions (less than last year -- sad...)

17 credits of college courses taken

8 weeks spent surviving Java Spring during my summer internship at Capital One

Over 1.4 thousand likes and reacts to my post on UMich Memes for Wolverteens -- my crowning achievement.

0% -- the battery capacity of my laptop that died

8% -- the battery level of my new laptop as I'm typing this post.

Things That Have Happened At Some Point in 2018

In January, I published an Alexa skill with my friend, went to a couple of track meets, and released the Ion bus app. I also went to HoyaHacks at Georgetown, where I made Scout with David, and had a couple of delicious cupcakes.

In February, I ate (and was subsequently disappointed by) a kiwano melon. I also stole the show as Banker Number Three in the TJHSST production of Mary Poppins. To top it all off, tjCSL achieved an consecutive 7 days of uptime on all services, which was unfortunately very exciting for me.

In March, production started ramping up for Threshold Litmag, went on a class trip to Washington, DC, where I got my Library of Congress library card. We also moved out of our apartment.

In April, I deployed Ion Signage 3 and went to Bitcamp, where my team used machine learning :wow: and a Myo armband to determine whether you were holding a can. Also did some more pole vaulting, and went to Chicago, where I experienced deep dish pizza for the first time.

In May, I wore a skirt. I also played at Chantilly Jazz Fest with the jazz band, constructed a gondola out of cardboard, executed a flawless (read: heavily flawed) prom asking, and ran tech support for tjSTAR (also presented my senior research project at tjSTAR). May turned out to be pretty eventful.

In June, I went to prom, then graduated and took lots of pictures and said lots of goodbyes. Then I went to orientation, at which I met my very first college friends. Then I came back to Virginia, moved into George Mason University, then began working at Capital One! I also went to the National BBQ Festival, in which the free samples and free stuff make up for the price of admissions. The week after, I saw the National Symphony Orchestra perform.

In July, I went to the "A Capitol Fourth", except it was the dress rehearsal, so it was mostly sound checks and John Stamos forgetting his lines (sick burn). Also checked out the National Building Museum and funhaus, then ordered food at a Chinese restaurant for the first time, completing my transition into Asian Adulthood. Ooh! I also witnessed the aftermath of a microtornado, so that was cool, I guess.

In August, my team at C1 moved into the newly constructed headquarters, featuring a hot chocolate machine on every other floor and pricey yet delicious cafeteria food. Then I flew to Detroit, then San Francisco (where I was stuck for almost 14 hours due to flight delays), then to Chengdu. I caught up with family, friends, and an abundance of Uniqlo stores. I also flew a (simulated) airplane and managed not to crash, so that's pretty exciting, too.

On September 1st, I moved into the University of Michigan. I took a picture in the Big House and then got rained on. In September, I also went to my first Michigan football game, took a selfie with a helicopter, traversed the interconnected buildings of North Campus, and saw the Philadelphia Orchestra.

October involved a squishy moon in the UMMA, MHacks (!), HackHarvard (!!!), and some really beautiful sunsets in Ann Arbor.

November included one (1) fake mustache, many Welcome Wednesday Bagels, first snow, seeing Candide live (hilarious and wonderful), trying to climb into the walls of Rackham Graduate Building, and heading back to Virginia for Thanksgiving.

December was a last push to finish out the semester. I built a gingerbread house, discovered this really cool bookstore in downtown Ann Arbor, turned on the Christmas lights in the CAEN cave (where I work), and practiced a lot (relatively). I also had a Zingerman's sandwich for the first time, which means I'm basically an Ann Arbor native now. After school ended, I flew back to China, where I went to Guangzhou (saw a tomb and a huge library), Chengdu (saw my grandparents, ate hot pot), Zhuhai (went to the beach, saw a huge clam-shaped thing and a whale shark). I should clarify, the clam-shaped thing is a building (the opera house), and the whale shark was in an aquarium. I did not see those things as I was walking along the beach.

And so that brings us to now. This was a pretty cursory look at the past year, and I guess there wasn't much reflecting going on -- mostly just remembering what the hell I did for another 525,600 minutes.


This past year was pretty busy, and there were a lot of firsts. I lived on my own for the first time. I wore a graduation gown for the first time (hopefully not the last). But there were also a lot of lasts -- a lot of farewells bade (bidden? biddeth?).

This year was the start of a new era for me, one with greater independence, with more responsibilities, with new people to meet and new things to discover. But the start of a new era means the end of an old one, and as I think about not just this past year, but the past 5 that I've spent in the state of Virginia, I realize just how lucky I was to have the privilege of living there, of meeting the great people that I did.

I've lived in a lot of places in my life -- the five years I've spent in Virginia is maybe the longest amount of time I've spent in one place; it's certainly the span of time with the most significant changes and growth.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this. I guess, as I ring in the New Year (in about 50 minutes), I can only hope that the next five years will be as fulfilling and interesting and fun as the past five. I hope that, just as I found a home in Virginia, I'll find a home in Michigan, and wherever life might take me next.

And you know what?

I'm almost certain it will be.

Happy 2019!