2018, it's been a ride.

Schoolwork and T4K obligations dominated the first part of the year. In May, I finally graduated from UT with my two bachelor's degrees in biomedical engineering and computer science. But despite the huge sense of accomplishment, I knew that I was in for another big journey ahead. I'll certainly never forget that nervous feeling in my stomach that rendered me incapable of eating much throughout the last week leading up to Day Zero.

The summer ride passed by in a flight of moments, and I soon found myself back home. Although I had been aware of the transition period from the ride back to normal life, my own transition still managed to surprise me. I calmly recognized that I would most likely never again go on an adventure as grand as biking to Alaska to fight cancer, but I was also determined to make sure that this past summer would not be the greatest thing that I would ever do. Despite this mindset, I still ended up in some weird headspaces, and I am incredibly grateful for the friends who listened to me talk through those directionless feelings as well as some other interpersonal problems I was going through at the time.

PC: Grace Scoggin

In mid-September, I started my current job as a software engineer at RetailMeNot, and I've been enjoying myself while learning a lot! For one, I finally fulfilled my longtime goal of learning front-end development (yay React!) I also went to ACL for the first time, made some new friends, ate far too many yogurt pretzels while coding.... But I knew something was missing when I arrived home from work and just wasted my time away being a couch potato. After a month and a half, I enrolled myself into some extracurriculars, and I'm now mostly pleased with the direction I'm headed in this next phase of my life.

2018 Goals: Review

  1. Learn, learn, learn!
  2. Finish off the ride year and take Texas 4000 beyond the summer ride.
  3. Get involved with Women in STEM initiatives again.
  4. Network.
  5. Stay in contact with friends.
  6. Journal daily.
  7. Blog at least once a week.
  8. Post at least one song cover on YouTube.
  9. Make a personal website.
  10. Get back into dance.

I'd say that I accomplished 1, 2, 3, and 10. Despite not paying much attention in class during my last semester of college and not learning anything programming-related on my own, I started learning French, Japanese, and Korean. (Let me know where I can get classes for Spanish!) Texas RIDE was ultimately postponed, but I'm pretty satisfied with how the summer ride turned out overall. Although the last time I biked was on Day 70, I've stayed involved with Texas 4000 through interviewing candidates for the 2020 team and sitting on the ATLAS and Tribute Committees. I've also gotten back involved with the Society of Women Engineers. I'm about to complete training to become a coach under the Leadership Coaching Committee, and I recently started a role on the Outreach Committee working on the SWENext Program. Fitness-wise, I currently take ballet and contemporary classes at Ballet Austin after work since my office is so close to the studio. And as a bonus, I did a cover of BTS' Idol!


I made some progress on 6 and 9. I wrote about each day of the summer ride in my journal while on the road, and I am really glad that I did that. For my website, I did give it a new look with a template from HTML5 UP. But maybe 2019 is when I use my new React skills to truly make my own personal website?

I definitely did not accomplish 4, 5, 7, and 8. The extent of my networking efforts was ordering business cards. (When I gave my friend Brandon one because I was excited about them, he roasted me: "Nice, networking with people you already know!") I've also not done much for staying in contact with friends. As for blogging, I posted even less than I did in 2017, oops. And there is no song cover on YouTube, though I did learn how to play "22" by Taylor Swift (roughly) on the guitar.

2019 Goals

  1. Pass the JLPT N3.
  2. Continue with French and Korean classes and restart learning Spanish.
  3. Pick up a technical side project outside of work.
  4. Continue with diversity in STEM initiatives, particularly in K-12 outreach.
  5. Pick up cycling again by participating in the ATLAS Ride.
  6. Start volunteering at a health/cancer-related non-profit.
  7. Catch up with friends more often.
  8. Read 15 books this year (maybe a few that aren't in English?)

Happy New Year!