Highlights of 2010

Last edited on Fri, 31 Dec 2010 20:12:05 -0500

What a year!

I never thought I'd make it to my final semester at UW, but here I was in January 2010. I expected the final semester to be easy - I wanted things to end with UW on a good note. Didn't happen. Between the fourth-year design project and concurrency and databases, the last semester was the busiest of them all. But after seven semesters of torture, I couldn't care less. There was nothing else particularly noteworthy about the final semester except for maybe a slight shift in my friend circle, my first ever CS course, interviewing for full-time jobs as opposed to co-op jobs, obtaining visas for my Europe trip, and well, the fact that it was the final semester.

Interviewing for full-time jobs did not go well. In fact, interviews went terribly. Not because I messed up the technical questions but usually due to "HR" reasons. One company rejected me because they felt that I wouldn't be loyal to the job because I inquired about the possibility of switching departments within the same company. Another company picked on my clothing rather than my code because apparently my don't-wear-a-suit-to-interviews policy really seemed to bother them. Yet another company put their charming, non-technical, HR person to do the technical screening for candidates - her conclusion was that I, a 23-year-old web developer, would be a poor fit in a web development company run by 23-year-olds.

The 21st of April, 2010 was the day of my last undergraduate exam. I didn't exactly wake up to that day - I was already awake from the night before and studying so hard for that last exam that I had no time to get into the "I'm done after this one!" mindset. But once the proctor announced, "Your time is up! Please stop writing!", I felt it. My time at UW was finally over. It wasn't cinematic at all. I was too tired to have all my UW memories flash before my eyes. All I wanted to do was sleep. Sleep without worry.

But there was one thing that still had me worried. Most of my classmates had job offers lined up prior to their last exam. I did not. What bothered me more was that I would be spending the next couple of months in Europe and I had no money. All I had was two credit cards, some faith, and a few friends who told me things would be okay. I left for Europe on the 26th of April. 52 days later, I was back in Waterloo, homeless and unemployed with credit card debt worth 8000 dollars and memories that were priceless. Any person would have considered themselves somewhat "screwed" in such a situation. Fortunately, my friends came to my rescue. Jon and his family let me stay (and eat) at their place in Waterloo until I had found employment and Waseem bailed me out with some emergency cash wired all the way from Singapore. I lived the classic refugee life for two months when finally in August, I finally became a full-time employee.

The transition from being a student to being a full-time employee was the easiest transition of my life so far. To me, working full-time was no different than working as an intern, except that full-time employees made double the money, enjoyed loads of benefits, and had no academic obligations (aka PDeng and Work Term Report).

Getting engaged and/or married was the cool thing to do in 2010. I know of ten couples that tied the knot in 2010 and most of the couples have at least one partner who is younger than me (under 24). Two thoughts go through my head when someone I know gets married: I'm getting older, and I'm losing friends. There's no cure for the former, and I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the latter.

Several people have asked me if I have a new year's resolution. After some thinking I decided to not have one. 2010 was a great year and I had no resolutions for 2010 - no plans, no promises, no goals. I'll try the same for 2011!

Happy New Year.