[Day 604] New year, old me

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I think I’ve either had a pretty good year, or repeated life misadventures have really lowered my standards. I ended 2017 on a happy note, watching fireworks by the river, eating street food, and screaming at random strangers while Dani was silently judging. I found myself working hard, building stronger relationships with people I care about, and having a lot of fun. Here are some of the things I was happy about in 2017:

  • Taught my first class at Stanford
  • Presented at NIPS for the first time (at one of the workshops, not the main conference)
  • Became a Snap Inc. Research scholar
  • Our team was the regional winners of the Ericsson Innovation Awards in Americas (top 15 out of 1,444 projects worldwide)
  • Got published on Le Monde 
  • Rebuilt my website. Both of its blog posts were featured on the front page of HackerNews
  • Wrote a series of 12 articles about skills for young people in Vietnamese, most of them were republished in major newspapers and magazines in Vietnam such as VietNamNet, Dân Trí, Doanh nhân online
  • Introduced Lập trình đi, a program that aims to provide free, quality Computer Science for everyone in Vietnam
  • Stayed in a relationship for the entire year, whoa
  • Learned to fly an airplane
  • Danced on stage with Flo Rida
  • Visited four new countries
  • Had many new experiences: watched my first American football game, went to a jazz concert by a Grammy Awards winner, watched my first meteor shower, went to Cougar Night
  • Met many inspiring people


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There is, of course, a lot of room for improvement. For example:

  • I barely exercised. There was one occasion when I walked outside, smelling the fresh air, and realized that I hadn’t been outside for 3 days.
  • I overcommitted to too many projects and as the consequence, half-assed a number of them.
  • I only finished half of my reading challenge, reading 28 out of 55 books.
  • My massive, unasked for ego kept getting me into meaningless, painful fights.
  • I have a lot of hatred and greed in me, which led me to make several decisions that I later came to regret.

I have a long list of what I want to do this year, though the majority of it is TBD, since an interesting life is an unpredictable life and I’m terrible at making commitments in advance. However, there are some main things:

  • Graduate
  • Get a paper published at a top-tier conference
  • Get a book published in English
  • Become a better software engineer. Kill it at technical interviews.
  • Exercise more. Run regularly. Go outside of my house every day.
  • Travel to a new continent (Oceania or Antarctica)
  • Finish my reading challenge (50 books)
  • Control my emotions better. Stop getting angry at small things. Be more forgiving. Respect people’s time. Be a better person

This list makes me slightly awkward — isn’t aiming for better things shows some sort of arrogance? — so I’ll stop here. Wish me luck! Happy new year!



[Day 604] New year, old me

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