Looking back on 202021 Mar 2021
2020 was an interesting year to say the least. You’ve probably heard it phrased a dozen different ways from a gross number of people. So I won’t try to describe it more, except that I’ll use it as an excuse for being 3 months late. It’s also an excuse for why I won’t do the usual by the numbers format I did the last two years.
This time, I’ll just list the highlights (ups and downs) of the past year, and the things I’m looking forward to this year.
- Tried nordic skiing.
- Went on the final EHP retreat to Glen Eyrie.
- Had interviews with various Ph.D. programs including Stanford, NYU, and UW Statistics.
- Face a lot of Ph.D. program rejections including Stanford and NYU. I talk a little bit more about dealing with these external events here.
- UW Statistics came through!
- Pandemic becomes a thing.
- The final open mic night gets cancelled.
- School becomes all remote.
- Accepted offer from UW.
- Apparently, I did well in my undergrad that they gave me a few awards.
- Successfully defended my thesis.
- Started biking for longer distances and more often.
- Officially graduated and received my degrees.
- Started internship at Microsoft with the Mixed Reality team.
- Ran a 10k!
- Went on some hikes in Boulder.
- Signed an apartment lease in Seattle.
- Finished internship at Microsoft.
- Had a small birthday gathering.
- Drove to Seattle from Superior.
- Lots of furniture hunting and assembling.
- Ph.D. program starts.
- Got my license at Washington.
- Started to get stressed about classes and teaching. The “new guy in a new city” feeling starts to really hit.
- Got new license plates.
- The Election happened.
- Successfully finished my first quarter.
- Bought a new plant and welcomed Ciri to my household.
- Course evaluations for my TA job come in. The numbers are skewed (sample size of 8), but the comments were great!
- Started reading the Wheel of Time.
- Started a YouTube channel with the goal of uploading one new guitar video every month.
Things I discovered and learned
- Teaching can be frustrating at times, but always rewarding.
- Study groups can actually be fun, especially when there are few other ways to socialize.
- AirPods Pro, Macbook, and the complete Apple ecosystem is just seamless.
- The Joy of \(x\) Podcast by Steve Strogatz
- The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (and, later, Branden Sanderson)
- The Witcher by Andrzej Sapkowski
- Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
For a complete list of books I read in 2020, visit my Goodreads.
Some specific goals for 2021
- Run a half marathon.
- Upload 12 guitar videos on YouTube.
- Write 10 short stories (at least 1000 words each).
- Read 20 books.
- Start actively working on a research project.
Some broad goals that may or may not ever happen
I re-discovered a lot of things I like. Here are some goals along that vein, but not important to lead a healthy, productive, happy life.
- Write a fantasy novel.
- Play music at some sort of event like a wedding. (The difference between this and busking is that, here, someone considers me a good enough guitarist to hire me)
- Put on an art show with paintings.
- Publish an album of photographs.
Despite being unable to do a lot of things, a lot of things did happen for me, to me, and around me this year. Whether or not we want it to, time continues moving forward. We can either choose to live in the moment, or pine for what could have been. We can either change our ways to adapt to the times, or let our old patterns drive us into extinction.
This is my biggest takeway from the last 12 months. Hopefully someone out there is inspired by what they read here.