I need a break…

Ever since I came back from Korea last year, I find myself more and more lacking the passion that got me into programming and computer science. Since I was 12 years old, all throughout high school and university I’d been designing and working on webpages and websites. After I graduated in 2011, I immediately found a job in San Francisco and was happy to live there and attend tech meetups and startups there until 2014 when I moved to Korea.
When I was in Korea I was also working though my enthusiasm was slightly diminished due to me focusing more on the goal of meeting someone there. When I failed that goal ultimately and was forced to come back to SF, I found myself even less eager to get back into programming and working a day job again. There’s nothing wrong with Spigit, the company that I work for, nor my coworkers who are pretty easy going, nor the salary or benefits (except I wish I had more PTO), nor the technology (I actually prefer Angular 2 to ReactJS) but its just the timing I guess.

I’m at a point in my life where I needed to find a partner, and being back in SF definitely does not help. It doesn’t help that SF has gotten a lot worse than before. There’s more homeless, more crazy people, prices have gone up, less women, less internationals, less Koreans and salary is the *exact same* as what I got from Walmart in 2014. So same salary, less PTO, and everything else in SF has become worse. I only have one friend left in SF now and he wants to leave here even more badly than I do! Coincidentally or not almost all my close male friends have chosen to be with Korean women.. and all of them have had more success than me, ironically, even though my Korean skill is probably the highest out of all of them. And not to mention that I have been focusing on Korea the longest, since 2012.

So yeah, I need a break from work, and I need a break from this city. SF while its still a tourist friendly city, has become a worse and worse place to live in. There’s less and less reason to stay here while the salaries are still stagnant.
These days I just hang out with my friend who constantly complains about life in SF and the lack of women here (doesn’t help my cause) and play video games all day. All my other friends are in Canada or Korea. What a life.

I really want to stay at my company at least one year though, since I’ve never worked for a company less than that and I want to make it seem that I’m somewhat loyal to the companies I go for. Plus I have a plan to sell my place next year and get out of the US, which means this could be potentially the last US job I work for. So why not make it last a little longer?
But yeah this is still next June, and surviving until that time is… difficult. Almost all of my friends from 2014, from before I left SF the first time, are no longer here. Making new friends is difficult; most of the internationals I’ve met this year have all been temporary couchsurfers who I only get to know for a few days before they take off again.

So yes that is my pitiful situation currently. I’m not enjoying my job, Its hard to make new friends here, my old friends have all gone, its impossible to make a girlfriend here due to lack of Koreans, and all this while all my friends and people I care about are next to North Korea, a country that Trump might decide to attack any day now. It is quite misery indeed. Even though 2013 and 2015 weren’t terrific years, in retrospect they were, and in addition to 2012, 2014 and 2016 (those which I always remember fondly), I even begin to miss my life in 2013 (in SF) and 2015 (in Seoul) too… compared to those times 2017 feels like being in a prison. I have to stay here to save money, but at the same time I feel no joy, depression comes fairly often, and I feel trapped in this place that I can’t escape until at least June 2018. I need a change in my life for sure.


Computer Science education

The only CS course I’m taking this semester is a Capstone Design project. This semester’s theme is CS education. There’s about 6 students in total including me in the course, and each week we write a summary about a research paper that a group of CS professors have done, and discuss them. Our assignments are all CS-education related; having to write an assignment or comparing algorithm visualization tools. We also have to do a project proposal, carry out the research, and present it.

I chose to study how internships really affect how we learn. At UofT, we have an internship program called PEY, so its a 16 month internship program. I want to sample students who are graduating this year, those who have done PEY vs. those who haven’t. It’s not obvious whether or not an internship year would have a huge effect on what students know, after all. So my plan is to interview a few students, and give them some technical questions, Amazon/Google style. One set of questions is broad and general but rather basic. This tests the general knowledge of the student. The other set is more in depth and the student will do a think aloud and walk me through what they are thinking – this part is going to be suited to the student’s knowledge domain. The main internship knowledge domains are Software Dev, Database, Networks, System/Low level design, Graphics/UI design, Web Dev, and Testing. Depending on what the student did, I’m going to ask them these type of questions. If they didn’t do PEY, then most likely I will ask Software Dev/Algorithmic related questions as the other ones we don’t quite focus on at UofT. Then I will compare the different sets of students to see if the way they answered the questions is statistically significant, and make my conclusions.

I’m having a hard time starting out gathering the data though – mostly because I have a hard time approaching people. It’s strange that I can be so open online yet when it comes to in person, the worst thought I have is of disturbing someone or having them ignore me. I have to overcome this fear and do what’s needed to start this project! This entire month is pretty much dedicated to this course – project has to be done by the end of this month, writing up a sample assignment, and doing the weekly summaries. For a half credit course, the workload seems like two courses. There’s also a test after this month, but it’s right after I come back from San Francisco, so I basically have to study for that this month because I have no time next month. Good news is there isn’t a final exam for this course, though the test could be thought of as one. Oh well… this month is looking to go by pretty fast, as usual.

Edit: I’ve decided to do a questionnaire instead because it’s more portable, but still having trouble with people answering the technical questions. They have very little incentive to do them, most are busy with midterms, and it takes close to an hour to write out the algorithms and everything. I’ve made all the questions not too easy (it would defeat the purpose of the project) and not too hard (no one would do it). But it still seems people are shying away from doing those questions. I’ll have to think of a better incentive than to just say its good job practice, but having a hard time doing so.

Music School/Work

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: