Check-In 4th of July weekend
July 2, 2017
I’m back! So this has been a very excrutiating and stressful week (read: not fun at all and I wish I was living the RC adventure instead - but this was important enough to take a big break from it). The good news is that I’ve sort of made a private decision about where I’m going next. In the process, I’ve really sorted a lot of stuff about the future. This includes the following knowledge:
- That I would be happy anywhere.
- How I would be happy at each place.
- What are my motivations for each of the opportunity, extrinsic and intrinsic.
- Some things about myself. Good and bad.
Since this is exactly mid-batch, I want to reflect on my experience so far, and what my goals are for the next few.
I’ve learned a lot about what professional programming is, in terms of culture and the work involved. I have an idea of how to keep typing in a sustainable way for my body, and this taught me a lot about having work ethic, incidentally (because to be able to program sustainably, I need structure, and making structure means thinking critically about how to work).
I know how Bitcoin works, more or less, and some things about security and encryption (in particular, homomorphic encryption).
I made a proof-by-picture animation which I hope to present in the near future.
I now use VIM, and I’m more or less comfortable customizing my work environment on the computer. This more than anything has a direct impact on my life and productivity, as I am so much more empowered as a computer user.
After years of feminist awakening, I finally organized my first women event, in the form of dessert outings. I’m much more comfortable doing women events, and I feel much more tight-knit with the women who are here.
I think the main lessons in this are mostly
- Talking to good (kind, curious) people about what I’m learning really helps iterate my knowledge and solidy it.
- Talking to people to break the ice on something I want to learn is super efficient.
- Doing something new is a great way to regain motivation.
- Writing about what I’m doing is a great way to keep the knowledge structured, correct (as much as possible), and keeps me motivated.
- Daily check-ins are good. I feel like I’m in control of my time.
- Working very hard means that I’ll become totally unaware of certain things, but that’s ok. I can catch up with people/the news from time to time and there’s probably an efficient approach to this.
What I want to do next in the batch
Things that are the total opposite of research and academia (I’ll have plenty of this very soon). I want to make small, practical things that are very neat tricks to navigate the information age.
In particular, I’d like to learn
- Web scraping.
- Little scripts that automate things.
- Writing classic algorithms in Python/Haskell.
- Learning Haskell so I don’t get too frustrated with Python!
I think something I did coming here that I want to diversfy from is doing fancy things. Fancy things that I can do are very theoretical, and are essentially playing on my strengths. While I will continue to pursue these, I think it’s also important to do little practical projects, because I think having the power to interact with the web I browse everyday in a more meaningful way will lead to very interesting projects/skills in the future.
Alright, that’s about it for now. Feel free to reach out on Zulip and offer suggestions!