This is my first non data-vis blog post! I’ve spent a good part of this past fall semester reflecting on things, so here are some thoughts on the current state of my life.

Why am I writing this post?

Earlier this year, I had a really basic personal site with no blog. I completely overhauled that and created this version of my personal website with Jekyll at the end of the summer. At the time, I was really inspired by this idea of writing a bunch of flashy data vis posts. I’m a huge fan of The Upshot and FiveThirtyEight, so I had this dream of starting a blog, something like a low-budget, beginner version of The Upshot. I loved the idea of exploring various interesting concepts by writing blog posts with simple analyses and visualizations. So, this blog was created.

I was also motivated by a desire to write more and (hopefully) improve my writing. I haven’t taken any reading or writing intensive classes during college, and I want to feel more comfortable and confident in my communication skills. Additionally, I’d like to keep a written record of me and my thoughts, which is primarily why I’m writing this post.

2017 Life Updates

During my second semester (spring 2016) at Georgia Tech, I spent a while thinking about switching majors from industrial engineering to computer science. I ultimately decided not to switch. This year, I realized that was most likely the wrong choice. At some point, probably while I was taking CS 1332 (Data Structures) and CS 2110 (Computer Organization), I became aware that I was having a lot of fun learning about CS related concepts. I think I was hoping that industrial engineering would be a combination of the theory and modeling/simulation threads in Georgia Tech’s computer science curriculum. While industrial engineeering does have some conceptual overlap with those areas, I wish my major classes had a greater focus either on cool theoretical aspects (theory) or on computational applications of concepts (modeling/simulation).

But, even though I feel a bit out of place in my major, I made some significant progress in terms of my technical knowledge. This was probably the first year I really programmed. I took core CS classes and did well. I joined the HackGT tech team and contributed to our checkin web app (written in TypeScript, which I had never heard of before this year). I wrote a ridiculous amount of D3 code for my data vis project. I learned about data warehousing and wrote a bunch of Python at my internship over the summer. I never imagined doing any of these things when I started college, but I am so happy with how this aspect of my life is going.

All of this led to me applying almost exclusively for software/data engineering internships this fall. I got a lot of skeptical comments about not being a CS major, but my internship search went surprisingly well! For the first time, I felt like recruiters actually took me seriously instead of using my resume as a mousepad or something. Even technical interviews (which I had never done before this semester) and networking sessions weren’t so intimidating anymore. I applied to around 40 companies, and I was somewhere in the coding challenge/interview process with roughly half of them; I ended up accepting an offer I was happy with in mid-October.

Handling everything was very overwhelming and stressful at times. Fall 2017 was by far my hardest semester yet. I actually started this semester with the intention of dropping all of my extracurricular activities at the end of the semester. At the busiest point, I was taking 18 credit hours (ended up dropping one class later on), interviewing/applying for internships, pushing code in preparation for HackGT 4, and handling responsibilities as a TA for CS 2110. I tend to get stressed out fairly easily (I’d like to think I handle it well, though), and that was especially true this semester. However, by the end of the semester, all of the things I had been worried out ended up working out well. I have a little more faith in my ability to take on stressful situations now. Furthermore, being a 2110 TA and being on the HackGT tech team ended up being incredibly meaningful, rewarding experiences – both of these commitments contributed to a sense of community and purpose that I feel was lacking from my college experience before. So, here I am, at the end of the semester, excited about continuing my involvement in both of those.

This year was also a year of uncertainty. I had always been planning to graduate early, but it never seemed so close until now. I’ll be graduating in December 2018, which means I have two semesters left, and it just doesn’t feel like enough time. I don’t want to leave college regretting not switching majors (oops) or not taking a class taught by some cool professor or not traveling to enough places or really anything else. For a good part of 2016, my mentality was to get by and get out of college as soon as possible. Now, I’m really starting to appreciate my time and experiences at Georgia Tech – this shift in attitude was pretty recent and largely influenced by this hectic, but rewarding, past fall semester. I fully intend on making the most out of my two semesters left.

Some other miscellaneous updates:

2018 Goals