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2011: Year in Review

Once again, the end of the year is upon us, and I wish everyone Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays into the new year. At the end of every year, I do a yearly review of the highlights and low points of that year for me, and so this will be for 2011.

Highlights:
-Graduated University with a 2.75 GPA (3.0 when converted to US system).
-Completed a capstone research project in computer science education.
-Eliminated over 75% of my debt(!). Now only $5k in debt vs. $20k a year before.
-Got a job in the California, with a great company and great co-workers.
-Learned basic Korean, can now read Korean but still can’t speak or understand it well.
-Improved my singing ability a lot! Now I can sing a lot of songs acapella that I would’ve been embarrassed to do before.
-Knows basic Parkour movements such as wall run, kong vault, speed vault.
-Got a perfect score (100%) on my Stanford class on High Performance Websites.
-Also got an A- score on my UC Berkeley class on Advanced Java.
Visited China for the first time in 19 years (!) and loved the beautiful serenity of the place.
-Met alot of great people through QQ and is now teaching an English course to Chinese students over YY.

Low points:
-Lost about $9k worth of market value on the stock market, mostly because I wasn’t paying attention.
-Making friends still a bit difficult.
-Nothing new for love life / relationships aspect.
-Didn’t get to go on AIESEC exchange.

Summary:

2011 was the single best year accomplishments-wise that I’ve had since 2006. The disappointments of 2010 put behind me, I set out to work hard this year and achieved almost all of my goals. Economics saved my GPA – I gained an additional 0.26 in my GPA this year, and completed a research project on CS education while I was at it. Even though I wasn’t that materialistic, I still cut down on my spending – and reduced my debt by $15k (over 75%). In addition – my biggest goal this year was to find a software engineering job in California, and I achieved that as well. Almost to my surprise, the company I really liked decided to offer me a position, which I gladly accepted. This was of one of my biggest accomplishments this year.

In addition, my obsession with being constantly productive led me to learn and try many new things this year. Parkour is the practice of efficient movement, which me and my coworker took classes every week in. So now I can run over obstacles faster in case of an emergency. A new interest in Korean culture led me to go to a Korean meetup group every weekend, and now I can read Korean and have several new Korean friends, though still cannot understand or speak it fluently. I am teaching English to Chinese students for free online and I love it. I took two classes at Berkeley and Stanford and aced both of them. Pwning some n00bs at the local SF Magic: the Gathering meetups every sunday usually ends off my week.

However due to work, I didn’t pay much attention to the stock market this year, meaning I lost over $9k. I also didn’t invest in many of the IPOs this year like Groupon or Zynga. Its also hard to make good friends when you go someplace new, and I didn’t meet anyone special or anything. I have one good coworker who I usually hang out with, but since my company is mostly composed of people who are either married, much older or have kids, I don’t have that many people I can relate with.

Overall, I am satisfied with my progress this year and hope that next year can continue my success.