Hello! It’s been a while. I’ve had a crazy time since I last blogged. My last post was about how to organize a hackathon and unsurprisingly since then Hack@Brown has happened. In the last month and 1/2 a lot has happened.
Side note before I forget: Tumblr updated its composer!!! In all of my product interviews I’ve been talking about how Tumblr had a pretty lame composer for a site completely based on rich content. This is my first time using it. Not sure if I love the title font choice (Maybe just because the “M” slants out a bit). Discovery is also a bit harder for writing tools, but I think I’ll need some more time until finalize my opinions on it. Also, I’m drinking an iced mocha from blue state and its freaking delicious.
I think that the last time I blogged was right before spring semester started. Coming back to campus was a little hard. I felt like I didn’t spend enough time at home. It’s crazy that I call a place that I spend maybe 1 1/2 months per year “home.” But in a sense, it still is. The good thing though, is that I’ll be working in New York this summer! At where else other than Facebook. If all goes well I should be on the Place Tips team with Tal and Joe! Thank you guys so much for doing everything you could to get me a spot in New York! And thanks Tala for introducing me to the team!
This semester has been really rewarding so far though. I went to HackCon and learned that as a Hackathon organizer, I’m crazy lucky to have so much support from our university. We don’t have to really worry about wifi, pay for venue, or a bunch of other things that other Hackathons have to find third party vendors for. One of the many things I love about here. I’m not sure if HackCon was really worth the money, but going to New York for the weekend was really fun. I’m happy we had “Nate and the girls night” and chilled with the team.
The weekend after was Hack@Brown. I’m still shocked that we pulled it off. There were definitely areas of improvement, but I’m still really proud of our team for all the effort that we put in. I think that we really did change some people’s lives. I could honestly write a whole post about Hack@Brown recap, but I’ll keep it short. I’m not sure what I want my role to be on the team next year. I’m thinking about moving towards focusing on mentorship. Food and Logistics, while stressful and at times overwhelming, is conceptually fairly easy. You think about all the things you’d want at an event and make those dreams happen. Mentorship though is tough. You can’t just create genuine connections and the success rate isn’t proportional to the amount of money you can throw at it. That’s the goal of our event though, so I’d be interested in putting more love there.
Now while all of this was going on I’ve also been the Head TA of the Software Engineering course with Gabe and Vinh (#dreamTeam). As a freshman, I got my butt completely kicked by CS32, but I really think that there’s a lot more value in taking it than just learning how to do big projects. We’ve added design questions to the projects, enforced a real style guide, reworked all the grading rubricks, and really have been emphasizing good Software Engineering skills (and got rid of java swing yassss). I really think we drastically changed the course for years to come and I’ve heard that students are learning a lot from it so far. Not to mention we have an awesome theme (Miyazaki!!) and movie night turnout has been pretty great so far. I’m having a lot of fun rewatching the Miyazaki classics. Definitely check out our website if you’re interested in what I’ve been doing.
The next big event I had was this past weekend: TreeHacks! To some people’s surprise, my first hackathon. It was a pretty crazy weekend flying across the country and staying up till 4am every night. Nate and I ended up making an app, Popcorn, that is for event organizers for Day of Event purposes. I’m surprised that nothing like this really exists right now. We didn’t go too crazy though, but it was good to brush up on iOS. The event also was pretty well organized! I’m really impressed. Also, I’m pretty sure that everyone is significantly happier when it is not 0 degrees outside. It was really nice to see everyone and experience a hackathon from the attendee side for once.
A lot of the hacks I saw were super cool and my friends even won “Best Hardware” and “Crowd Favorite” with their smart exercise mat! (congrats!) I had to skip out on the awards ceremony though to celebrate Chinese New Year with my family. I took a nap throughout most of dinner, but I’m happy I decided to see them before I flew out. It turned out to actually the last time I saw my great uncle. Yesterday morning he passed away. Death has been something that I’ve been really struggling with and learning about over the past year and a half. It’s strange to think that the next time I’m in town he won’t be at dinner. I’m lucky I got to see him one last time and he knows how much we all love him. It’s always hard.
So far, this has been my most rewarding semester yet, but I think I’m going to take it slow for the next few weeks. Somehow I managed to scrape above the mean on my linear exam on Monday even after coming home on a red-eye at 7:00am the morning of. I’ll leave you with the song I’ve been into lately (just overtook Tswift’s Style): Thinking Out Loud. Thanks for sticking with this post until the end! I really appreciate that you’re interested in what I’ve been up to. Until next time!