It’s perplexing isn’t it? We always tell ourselves to live in the moment and to appreciate what lies before us. However in reality many of us fail to do so. We allow time to slip by, only to realize at the last moment that it is foolhardy to believe that the music does not end. Clinging desperately, we try to hold on to what remains.
This is the exact predicament that I am finding myself in. With roughly 8 months left in my undergraduate studies, the end is indeed looming in sight.
When I look back at my IB years, there are many regrets that I harbour. I wish I had been way less arrogant, less disrespectful towards my peers and more willing to take major risks. While obviously I cannot change what has occurred in that period of time, maybe there is still time left to mitigate the regrets that I will inevitably have of my time in the UK.
Cutting to the chase, one of the things that I do intend to do is to write a brief monthly journal of sorts to recount what happens over the next few months. So here it goes:
October. Was rather bogged down at the start of the month with hackathons. HackZurich was rather intense and was definitely a lot more competitive than HackGenY London. Although I didn’t win anything, I was pretty satisfied with the code that I was able to produce (Angular frontend). It also made me realize the importance of choosing one’s teammates carefully. Being in rather foreign territory and surrounded by a sea of people, I haphazardly agreed to join the first team that I met. This translated into a bad fit in terms of what I really wanted to do and what the team was set on solving. I ended up working on another refugee related platform project which was far less exciting than the hardware and big data hacks that I was interested in. Lesson learnt at least I guess.
The rest of the month was a bit of a wash. Back to back hackathons left me rather drained and I really did not want to work on anything. I wanted to spend time on improving code quality and reviewing some underlying principles that I glossed over initially, but most of the time I was too depressed to really get anything done. It is a little hard for me to recollect how I exactly felt during those few weeks. All I can say is that it was a mixture of disillusionment with life and hollowness as a result of the break up.
November. Three hackathons back to back. Snapped out of my lethargic haze.
- ProductHunt Hackathon: Built a site that generated random activity suggestions. Took up a technical lead role and had a lot of problems with code. JS Promises did not bloody work. Asynchronous processing created a huge mess. Horrible hackathon but expected considering the few hours that I had put into it.
- MasterCard’s Master of Code: Built an android app using react-native. Experienced first hand the importance of utilizing a mature platform with solid community support. Ian and I spent so much time getting the environment set up correctly and porting functionalities. Pair programmed with him on some parts and also wrote a simple API wrapper. Got lucky and made it to the top six finals thanks to some great pitching.
- HackTrain 2.0. I really did not want to go to this hackathon. Firstly, I was pretty burnt out. Secondly, this was an extremely competitive hackathon. Every one seemed to be either senior developers with years of industry experience or Masters/PhD students with backgrounds in CS or machine learning. The whole event was intimidating. Despite a really slow start, things worked out in the end and the team was pretty fun – everyone more or less clicked well.
Leading on from these slightly verbose descriptions of the hackathons, there is something that I want to slightly drill into, namely the functional value of business development people within the team (if any). While my first few events left me with a certain distaste of bizdev people (as they did not add any meaningful value to the project), Master of Code and HackTrain did made me change my mind. In the former, the bizdev person pitched the idea really well. The fact that he had the chance to get almost six hours’ worth of rest meant that he was on a totally different energy level to the other participants in the room when it came to pitching. In the latter, the bizdev person really pulled his weight in terms of defining a clear direction, asking pertinent questions and understanding the industry in great depth. He even managed to make the business model canvas feel relevant. Will definitely try to pick up some the techniques he used.
With regards to the rest of month, nothing much of consequence occurred. Worked on some Qriousity stuff. I am a little sceptical about the direction that the ‘AYTP Challenge’ is heading towards. The business case seems a little weak. But then, we will see.
I really need to start studying soon. That’s all for now.