Status of my goals and end of undergrad

Last year, I outlined a list of several goals that I had set for myself this year to achieve.

Let’s check back on the status of these goals now.

1) Graduate on time
I just finished writing my last exam today, and am confident of passing all my courses. As for my GPA, hopefully it will be improved.
Edit: Finished with a 2.75 GPA, achieving my goal of having my GPA >= 2.7!!

Status: Done

2)  Eliminate three quarters of my debt
If you take a look at my spending levels compared to last year:

Spending May 2009 - Sept 2010
Spending May 2009 - Sept 2010
Spending Sept 2010 - present
Spending Sept 2010 - present

Comparing the two, it’s easy to see that without a car or eating out everyday, I saved a lot of money. The increased tuition and fees in this period is because of full time school plus cost of attending conferences and events this year. I’m happy to say that I took a lot of money out of my stock account this year and paid down $14,400 of my debt, that’s 77%. So yes, I achieved this goal.
Status: Done

3) Secure a job by graduation time
After many interviews, I managed to get the job offer from the company I was interviewing with in San Francisco. What a relief for me! I’d like to thank everyone who supported me, including those who comment on my blog, my family, friends, my professor for my CSC490 CS Education course, my AIESEC VP of Communications and my  former manager from Environment Canada for serving as my references. I worked hard and I will continue that way.
Status: Done

So all of that is done and it feels rather surreal to me. Seems that college went by rather fast, a lot of all nighters, and maybe not enough socializing. Still, I think it helped me evolve as a person. Even this year, I am quite different than a year ago. I don’t have a car anymore, no steady source of income yet, no $20k in stocks, and no girlfriend once again. Yet I feel more mature somehow. Maybe cause I have tangible achievements now. Anyways, I thank the University of Toronto for causing me to become a stronger person, and feel quite relieved to end off my 17 years of education (since kindergarten). I still don’t know about grad school yet (GPA too low), but I am ready to move on to the real world now.

Stress, Stress

I think ironically, though I am only taking 3 courses this semester, I’m somehow busier than last semester. Anyways, I’ve been job searching the past few weeks, and it’s almost like having another course because I have to study for these interviews. In addition to all my assignments, I think I’m booked till the end of the term.

Jan 19-28: 5 interviews, Macroeconomics midterm 2
Jan 29-Feb 4: CSC490 project proposal, 2 interviews
Feb 5-15: 490 project, 490 assignment 1, 1 interview
Feb 16-Mar 1: ECO336 midterm, ECO336 research paper,2 interviews,AIESEC review board
Mar 1-Mar18: 490 assignment 2, Macro midterm 3
Mar 19-Apr 7: Conferences, 490 project, 490 test
Apr 7+: Intense job searching if I haven’t gotten one, 2 economics finals

In addition, I have to keep actively searching for jobs + interviewing because I’m graduating in June, keep up with AIESEC duties as Communications member and Webmaster/Social media manager including weekly meetings and updates, do weekly 490 research paper summaries, and gather data for my 490 project.

Hopefully I can keep updating my blog regularly though, but we’ll see.

In the meantime, feel free to watch my amateur John Mayer covers:

Chinese and Conservative

First post of the year.

One thing I noticed about myself as I got older was that I started becoming more aware of my Chinese culture.
Well here’s the story. I was raised in a small city with virtually no other Chinese people. So I started becoming very white washed. I lost all my Chinese skills and sense of culture. When I came to Toronto, due to the influence of other Chinese people, I’ve started rediscovering that culture – and in the process becoming more traditionally Chinese.

Even more so than my parents. My parents never really thought much about going back to China, but I’ve been wanting to go back for a while now. There’s a sense of beauty and history there I wanted to experience. I guess you could call it “一种落叶归根的感觉”, a sense of belonging. I wanted to go back to visit because my ancestral home and my relatives were calling me.

My ideals for what the ‘perfect woman’ for me changed as well: It used to be that I had crushes on Caucasian girls, or Asian girls that were raised here. No longer the case. Now I’m all about the ‘traditional’ Chinese beauty – the shy, quiet reservedness, honesty, politeness, calmness, loyalty, obedience; basically the same qualities I had myself.

I’m the Chinese student that the average Asian parent would probably like to have. I’m obedient, reliable, took orders well, and work efficiently. I have ‘artistic’ talents, rather than physical talents. I wished that my parents had pushed me harder during elementary / high school because I wanted to get into a good university. I went into Computer Science not because I was forced to but because I wanted to. I wished my parents made me learn piano; instead I learned it by myself because I had no money for piano lessons. Same with guitar. I wish my parents sent me to Chinese school; I learn it by myself during my spare time. I’ve designed websites since I was a kid – again in my spare time.

In short, I didn’t really relate to other Asians saying their parents ‘forced’ them to do this or that, because I wanted to be a good student. You only get one chance at life so make it your best, that’s my way of thinking. Get a good education, network well, find a good job, marry into a good family. I’ve wanted to live a good life – hence I was never bothered by overwork; I liked working hard; I like striving; I wanted to be the best I could be. My brother is like me – but even more competitive. I think it may come from our genes – my dad was a farmer so he’s worked hard his whole life, and my mother’s side was descended from Chinese nobility so the ambition was always there. I guess some of it passed on to me.

Basically, during these past few years, I’ve ‘rediscovered’ who I really am; I’m at my core a Chinese person, traditional and conservative, and heavily influenced by American ideals of innovation and leadership; I’m also politically conservative. But I don’t think I would be satisfied with myself if I was any different.