Crisis on Monday

February 13 2017.

It was a major crisis.

I can honestly say that I have never been in such a situation before in my life.

When I was stuck in the situation, my mind was literally flying off to so many directions. I was thinking all about the consequences and how I managed to get off to this point. The matter was so complicated to the point that I actually had negative thoughts channeling through my mind. I knew that this would (at some point) be settled and that I would write all about it here. So here I am talking about this matter.

I’m not going to go to the specifics of what actually happened during this critical period but all I can say is that it was a combination of 5 different problems that I found out all at the same time. 5 problems might not sound so complicated but the key thing is that everything came at the same time and that’s where I totally lost it.

How I went through this?

Well, here’s the rundown of what I did:

  1. Panic about the situation, having lots of panic
  2. Eat things out of thinking because food numbs the effect of the situation
  3. Try looking for possible solutions
    • Comprehensively looking for the various options that I have
    • Clearing out thoughts of giving up and hoping for the worst
    • Frantically thinking through each problem
  4. Staying calm and focus on solving a single problem
  5. Everything resolved

Typing out what I did doesn’t make my problem that complex but I can tell you that it felt more complex in my mind during the time. Which leads me to the thing that I want to write out, I was not calm enough. In the past, I have always managed to keep calm even during the most hardest times but I guess the combination of stress and problems really clicked off my mind.

The most important lesson that I have learnt during this crisis is that I did not resort to being calm. I thought I was but I wasn’t. And reflecting back to the entire crisis, the biggest reason why I had this crisis in the first place is because of one problem that I felt unconfident of solving and that cause me to rethink the validity of solving other problems.

The good thing is that I managed to solve the problem, now I can add this experience to my bag of experiences so that I can look back next time and say “If I managed to survive that moment, why can’t I survive this one”. I think looking back at past experiences is one of the most powerful things in solving a problem and re-assuring my mind about the matter that I am currently facing.

This crisis situation also re-activated one of my past priorities to be more organized and having better time management. The source of all these problems came from my poor time management skills and also the lack of proper organization for my resources.

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Five Years

Five years ago, I made a bold decision that inadvertently changed the course of my life

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I decided to start a tech blog.

I called it The Technology of Today.

I loved it with all my heart and poured all my time at it.

When I first started, I honestly didn’t know what I was doing. All I wanted to do was just to share what my opinion and views that I had. It was purely just to kill time and not for any fame or money. Five years down the road, a lot of things have come and go. Went from going to high school to University in America. The growth of the site in the first two years has been just beyond my expectation but things started going downhill in the third year and subsequent years as I began losing interest in it.

In the last year that I have been in the US, I did consider countless times of putting an end to this tech blogging thing but I just couldn’t. I worked very hard through countless sleepless nights doing coverage of live events to get to the place I am in right now. I honestly didn’t want my effort to go to waste.

So, I continued to stay true to blogging. I have always had grand ideas on expanding the site beyond what is there today. But the biggest problem really is prioritizing blogging with other things in my life. Blogging has never been my number 1 priority. That’s the problem. I just don’t have the time to work on my ambitious.

This somehow conflicts with one of my favorite quote which is:

“You may be busy pursuing your dream, but don’t become too busy to pursue your dream!”

Fact is, I have become too busy to pursue my dream of expanding the blog.

Five years is a long time. That’s more than 1,600 days in total. I spent a considerable amount of time in those days thinking about this site and I am not giving up on it. The last two years, I have worked hard on creating my own writing style and I am confident that it will be able to stand out. In the forthcoming year, I will be working on improving the background foundation of the actual site.

Hopefully I will be able to see a 10th year anniversary.

The ever-lasting balance

It’s a brand new year and also the start of a new semester. The novelty of studying in America has definitely worn off and I have gotten used to pretty much everything about studying here in Arizona; So, looking forward into this year, my plan is to switch things up a little

To be honest, I am really scared for this semester. I know it is going to be tough because I am trying to retain my GPA here. But I believe I will be able to make miracles this semester and this year because I totally outdone myself last semester. Will talk more about that in my course reviews that should be trickling out something.

Over the last couple of weeks while travelling around, I have been reflecting on the past year (academically) and the biggest problem I have been facing every semester is time management. I have changed my planning style twice last year and still things didn’t quite work out. The problem is that I just can’t cope with things that are out of my control like being lazy, emotional breakdowns, etc. Also, the schedules that I have been making up don’t have much leeway if something does crop up. So, for this semester, I am trying something totally different. Will explain in detail sometime this year.

Like what I said in my 2016 review, most of the things that I did last year revolved around doing volunteer work and that was because I wanted to try out everything to see what works. It was also a platform for me to meet new people. This time around, I will continue to volunteer work but that will not be my priority. I will be prioritizing things that will improve my academic life as I complete the final stretch of my college degree.

All in all, everything that I will be doing this year has to do with good time management and there’s only how many hours a week so I will need to properly utilize the time. It is probably going to end up being some sort of a disaster but I am confident that the plan that I came up with will work? I guess.

I can honestly say that this new scheme I thought of has something to do with prioritizing things. It seems that previously what I have been doing is taking certain things too lightly which caused big problems in the long run. Classes, research, blogging and socializing; All these have their own priorities. I just need to figure out the right balance that will be the best use of my time.

Twenty-Sixteen : Finally twenty, no longer sixteen

About a year ago, I was on a plane on my way to America. I was expecting to great things for 2016. Every time I deeply think about it, I still have that surreal feeling that I am actually here.

Believe it or not, I actually spent a lot of time this year thinking what this 2016 year-in-review entry will look like. I had this t-shirt idea very early on this year. I wanted to do like a photo journey of what I did throughout the year but it is a little impossible this year if I want this entry to be published on time. This year I took a lot of photos, 315.87GB worth of photos and videos to be exact. Maybe I’ll consider doing it sometime in 2017?

But moving back to the actual year-in-review. I have spent exactly 366 days in America and I have done a lot in the past year. More than I had in mind when I boarded the plane here on December 31. I actually got the idea of this t-shirt thing when I was doing my class reviews. The idea behind this was that, If I were to choose one picture that represents 2016. What would it be?

Initially, I thought of representing the year with like the happiest photo of me but that didn’t represent what I did this year. I could’ve done a collage of photos but collages are so out of date these days. So, I ended up with the photo above. It might just look like a random selection of t-shirts but each and every one of them tells a story of my life in America.

I don’t have time to cover the story of all 29 t-shirts. But what I’ll do is talk about three main ones that paint the entire story of 2016.

Where it all began

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When I was doing my preparations to attend ASU, I was thinking about a lot of things. One of them is that I wanted to be more outgoing. And my solution for this is to do volunteer work. I thought that since that I’m here already, I might as well try out every opportunity that came my way. In a lot of ways, this ‘The Color Run’ t-shirt represents the start of everything. It was the first of many volunteer activities that I signed up for this year.

I can tell you that I was a little hesitant about doing it initially because I was a little shy and afraid. But I did overcome it and this became the stepping stone of my journey here in America. Frankly speaking, I didn’t make any friends through this volunteer activity but it did help me build my confidence around people.

Global Guides

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I really don’t know where to start with this one.

I can’t imagine what my life would be without the Global Guides program. Everything I did this year all started with this very program. I still remember during the first day of orientation, where I was all alone and getting my box of food and sitting down on a table. A guy with a blue shirt then approached me and started talking to me. He asked me a couple of questions and after that I felt a bit more at home. I was never homesick at that time but talking to the guy made me feel calmer. Till today, I still keep in touch with that guy.

That is why I decided to sign up for the program. Since I have experienced it first hand, I know what my responsibilities are. Often times, my motivation is definitely for the free food that is being served but it all becomes worthwhile when I get to meet amazing people. The bulk of my friends that I talk to are made through this program. This semester alone, I have made over 100 friends (measured by adding people on facebook) and I take this metric real seriously because I don’t just simply add people of Facebook these days.

While the color run is the stepping stone of my volunteer experience this year, learning about the Global Guides program assured myself that I made the right choice in choosing a school and proper mindset.

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I might have said it before but I am going to say it again. Joining this organization feels a lot like ‘determinism’. I can tell you that I had no interest in joining this at all. But boy was I glad to be accepted into this organization. CIS is really the link to all the people that I have previously met here at ASU and also served as a platform to engage with new people.

The boys and girls that I met through CIS has been among the best people I have ever met in my life. I mean what I say. In Spring 2016, I was more focused on building my network of friends but in the Fall 2016 semester, I continued building my network but also to proceed in improving the relationship between the people that I already know.

I can honestly say that I am not the most enthusiastic or friendliest of people but I am thankful that somebody is willing to endure with my weirdness. Not going to talk more on this as I have a separate entry in the works that talks all about the people I have met in America.

Fulton Schools of Engineering

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E2 camp, I covered it quite extensively. This was one of the random opportunities that came flying by me without me noticing. I am not exactly sure how I found out about it but I am thankful that I found it. It was definitely a pleasure to work alongside other American students to welcome new American students to the Fulton Schools of Engineering. This is probably the most complex of all volunteer activities that I signed up for this whole year but boy did was it a fun challenge. I learnt to overcome several things like working with a female counterpart, being energetic all day long and also learning how to properly convey messages.

Another experience which is not a volunteer thing but rather a paid position is my experience as and undergraduate teaching assistant. I will be talking more on it during my class reviews which are a little back on schedule due to time constraints that I have been having for the last couple of weeks.

What’s next?

Whether I like it or not, 2016 is coming to an end. I am excited to see what 2017 has in-store for me. Classes this year will be extremely tough but I hope that I will still be able to do more volunteer work this coming year. As the novelty of being in America has worn off, I hope to spend more time this year chasing other goals.

But even as is, I have reached my number one goal that is to do things that are out of my comfort zone. I’ll get started on that photo entry thing as soon as I find time to do so.

Here’s to 2017! Hopefully I won’t slack too much on these entries.

The time has come

When I decided to come to America to further my studies, I worried about a lot of things. As usual, I kept these thoughts to myself. I have gone through some crazy stuff in the past so I knew that coming here was not going to be much of a challenge. The craziest thing that I can think off my head is the time where I was completing a physical training routine during camp. But it was raining that time and I was having a fever and huge headache. It’s so amazing that I managed to even survive that.

Most of my worries about coming to America was resolved within the first week I arrived. Funny thing is that I was real scared about jetlag the most because of the stories that I hear but I never faced any jetlag at all. And also recently, I resolved one of the last worries that I had about transitioning to a new environment which was to make friends. I really thought that was the end and that I can properly enjoy my time here.

It’s my 350th day away from home and the unexpected converged with the unexpected.

Turns out that my biggest fear has come back knocking. I was expecting such a thing to happen but it seems that over time, this fear just slipped off my mind. This is something that I have never ever experienced in my life. I’ve always seen this situation as a grand time for people to create PSAs on facebook but today I have experienced it first hand. My mind is like flustered because one side is going towards the inevitable truth and the other is edging towards the feeling of remorse.

But life has to go on, I will take this as motivation to work harder.

I’ve so gotta clear up all the articles that I started.

I’ll start it tomorrow, having a huge headache right now

Fall is over

For the second time this year, the semester is over yet again. Unlike in Spring, this semester was hard, like literally. But education won’t be fun if things were easy right?

I’ll be talking mostly about my expectations and the reality of this semester in this entry and I’ll leave the nitty and gritty stuff about the classes that I took in my class reviews which I am hoping to complete by the end of the year. I was really, hard pressed at getting it done by the time I was done with the finals for the class but that clearly didn’t happen. Right now those reviews are like 10% done.

Over the Summer I actually listed out seven(7) goals that I wanted to fulfill in this semester. Most of them were just things based on what I noticed during the Spring semester. Sadly to say, I only managed to get 2 out of the 7 things that I set out to do. I’ll just talk about what I managed to achieve this semester and just leave the other 5 things for another day.

The first of the two in my list was to make more friends. I didn’t clearly define what I meant by making friends but how I calculated was based on my interactions with them. One of the biggest reasons why I have met with more people this semester compared to the last semester is because I was more outgoing that I usually am. Being more outgoing and doing things that I wouldn’t usually do was my second goal of the semester.

It all started with E2 camp where I had an amazing time, then came orientation where I met with lots of interesting thing and then finally is the club that I joined this semester where I became closer with a couple of people that I previously met. Honestly speaking, I am not much of a people person. I don’t have much friends. I know a lot of people from school but never in my life that I had this many friends that I can actually talk to on a personal level.

The friends that I have made this semester (each and every one of them) will always have a special place in my heart. Although I might not be the most outspoken one, I have experienced a lot of things during this semester while interacting with them outside of classes, during camp and casually on campus.

If I were to describe this semester in one word, it would be ‘unexpected’. Everything that happened this semester was really beyond what I could predict. Like what I learnt during Philosphy 101 last semester, at the end of the day, everything goes down to determinism. What’s meant to be will eventually come to place. It felt like all of these chain of events that happened this semester is based on my decision but I believe it’s fate that put everything on the table.

The things that I did this semester was so unexpected to the point that I just felt lost at times. Lost in the sense that my mind was blank.

But overlooking at what I did this semester, the thing that I am most worried about all semester was my grades. Compared to last semester where I didn’t have much friends, I spent most of my time studying rather than going out and socializing with others. I can definitely said that I didn’t study as much as what I liked but I think everything turned out pretty well, I guess. We’ll see about it.

Looking forward to doing some meaningful things during the winter break.

 

Truth on the internet

For months now, I have been wanting to talk about this openly and I think it is the right to to talk about this.

The internet is full of lies.

There’s no denying that fact.

Everyone is stuck in their social bubble due to the algorithms that internet companies integrate into their platform. The illusion of validity proves once again that their algorithms are right.

There is no doubt that the advancements of technology have brought upon this trend of falsifying information on the internet.

But does truth have a true home on the internet?

This semester, one of my focuses was doing intensive research on topics related to the class material. Since ASU is a research 1 university, it was no surprise that even the lower division classes focused strongly on research. What I learnt a lot about is that each source type has it’s own credibility. But even with the validity based on the source, these kind of sources can also be invalid.

I spent the bulk of my time this past year on social media. More than I ever spent in a year. In the past, what I share on social media is merely just random bits and pieces of my life and this year I am shaking things up a bit by introducing more personal stories and encounters. Being actively sharing information on social media is years in the making. I had an idea that there will be a time that I will take advantage of the potential that social media platforms like Facebook and twitter has to offer. That time is now here.

Being openly public on social media is my choice. Some people might still have reservations that government agencies are spying on their online data but I believe that having an online presence and understanding it is important in surviving the 21st century.

It is my choice to publicize certain information. I have spent the last couple of years figuring out what exactly that I want people to see and what I want to publicize. That meant googling (and even bing-ing) myself to see what search engines can pull up about me. I have made it relatively easy for people to stalk me on the internet. But not by chance, I know what people will know about me when they look me up on the internet.

Why am I doing this, well in managing my online presence, I can protect my information. Sounds a little counter-intuitive but what this means is that I am still in control of what people know about me. At the end of the day, it goes down to my online privacy and relating back to the title of this entry which is about the truth, I do personally believe that the internet should be more truthful.

I can’t say that I am 100% truthful on the internet, but I try my best to keep things legit. Sometimes, lies really is necessary because being truthful just doesn’t cut it.

Things that I publish on the internet is not by accident nor is it by chance, it was a decision that I spent time making.

Making America Great Again?

Disclaimer: This is the most baseless entry I have yet to write on this blog. Kindly pardon some of my naive-ness and negligence in this matter.

Come January 20, 2017, America will be appointing Donald Trump as the 45th President of The United States.

Honestly, I am neither angry, sad or happy about the results for this election. I do have a slight preference towards Hillary Clinton winning this election but only because she would make history and give the female population the confidence they need that anything is possible. That’s all.

This morning felt like a usual day but things changed drastically in class. My english teacher came in the class feeling quieter than usual. Just the other day she told us that she was afraid of the election results and so during class, she tried to talk about her thoughts on the election results and after just a couple of words, she started tearing and was on the verge of breaking down.

She just started crying

This is my first time experiencing a teacher cry in front of a class. I have seen other teachers cry before but not in front of a class.

She then proceeded the class with her sunglasses on and tried to teach the class. Honestly, at that point, I felt like crying also. Not because I’m sad but I understand what she is feeling. As an American, of course losing an election is a shitty thing.

I knew it coming in this country this year that a new President will be appointed

I have also been told that Americans don’t like to openly talk about politics.

I also understand that at the end of the day, politics really goes down to personal preference.

To be honest, I have never really quite followed the US Elections this year. Only up until till recently that I started taking attention about it and learning about the various policies and changes that the candidates are fighting for. Prior to this, the only thing I knew about the elections is that Trump is a funny guy (contextually speaking) and that Clinton is the one fighting for the minority groups. But even after doing extensive youtube-binging and clicking on lots of internet links, I still don’t know the big picture about the candidates.

I guess that is the nature of politics and why some people choose to support one candidate over another. Everyone is just looking at one part of the story and concluding from there.

And especially with the election this time around. Social media and the internet today is so advanced and everything said by any party can be fact-checked. The use of social media this time around is wild and crazy. The thing about social media is that things like facts and opinions can be easily manipulated based on the preference of the publisher.

Simple reason why people who support Hillary Clinton thinks Trump is going to lose because the algorithms built into Facebook is designed to show you only things that you like. It’s that amazing. The same thing goes for the Donald Trump supporters that think Clinton is going to win. All of this is based off the expectation that you conceive your standings through social media.

Facebook and Twitter has been real crazy in the last 24 hours, all about politics. Glad that it’s finally over but it’ll probably take a while for this election fever to go away.

But the reason why I brought up the topic of social media is that I have been reading long and short remarks online about the election results. Most of the things that I have read on my Facebook is that people are surprised that Trump won the election and that people are feared for the next President.

I am no political expert here but I know that there’s no reason why we should be afraid of the new President. The United States is built on the foundation where the President only has partial power over rulings. But then again, Trump has shocked the world by winning the elections.

Honestly speaking, I was somewhat expecting Trump to win the election but not by a landslide win but more of a close tie between him and Clinton. What this shows is that Americans do like him despite his lack of political experience.

Either way, I am looking at this from a positive view. I don’t think that Trump winning the election is a bad thing. This is politics after all and that I only know part of the story, maybe it’s much worse than I could imagine. But anyways, if Donald Trump can win the election, I presume that he can try to be a good president.

Hope he keeps his promise to Make America Great Again.

Here’s President Obama’s speech about the election results. His speech is probably the most meaningful words I have heard this whole election.

Side note: Why the hell is WordPress just displaying the link for the video. They need to fix this. It looks perfectly fine in the post editor but not in the published entry. Zzz.

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My dilemma of writing articles

One of my goals this year was to create a consistent schedule for writing blog posts (and also increasing the number of published articles) but that has clearly not happened as things started to go crazily off track half-way into my first semester at ASU. Homework and assignments started catching up to me and I just did not have the mood to write articles.

I had all of the big ideas as to what I was going to write but I ended up missing the opportunity to write those articles because of my laziness. Then came Summer and I was all pumped up as I had all the time of my life to write all day long. But then, the dilemma struck me yet again, I did not have the passion to write the articles. All I wanted to do is to continuously watch youtube videos, sleep and eat.

For the most part, Summer really didn’t work out as I planned it to be. Didn’t manage to complete any of the tasks that I set for the holidays. I tried everything from creating wunderlist notifications to watching motivational talks but I just did not have the mood to do legitimate things during the Summer. Take example this very article, I had the plan to write this back in July but only in September am I actually writing the said article.

But right now as the new semester is starting, my mind is getting all of these ideas about the things that I want to write. But the problem right now is that it is conflicting with my school work. Currently, I am back to speed in writing articles thanks to the labor day long weekend which is ending in a couple of hours time. Hopefully I will be able to find out a methodology as to how I can be consistent in writing articles.

Word of the day: Multipotentialite

Anyways, I stumbled upon this TED talk today and it was a pretty interesting one because it just clicked to me. The reason why it’s in this article is because it relates closely to what I am trying to explain here. Long story short, this talk is about how people usually like to start doing a lot of things but end up quitting it because they quickly lose that initial enthusiasm that they had when they first started learning about that new thing.

I can tell you that this has happened to me so many times. Just take example blogging, I started doing it frequently back in 2012 and while I am still doing blogging on a weekly basis to express myself on the internet. Often times, I end up not wanting to write articles because I don’t have that passion.

My passion for blogging comes and goes. Another thing is about how I was so invested in the Raspberry Pi platform last year and now I am struggling to find the passion to continue on with it. I ended up quitting it late last year but the point is that never did I expect that the things I learnt while playing around with the Raspberry Pi would become useful in my college degree. The digital design class and engineering class I took earlier this year had lab sessions that touched on electronic circuits and my experience of wiring and referencing circuit diagrams did benefit my time at the labs. And the Linux command lines that I learnt while using Raspbian is proving to be useful in my current programming class which dives into multiple programming paradigms.

And this all goes back to the definition of determinism that I picked up in the philosophy class I took last semester. Ultimately, everything has it’s purpose and I will continue to explore into new territories as things will eventually become useful.

Now, I’ve just got to devise a plan to keep up with my blogging streak.

Summer is over

It felt like just yesterday that I was packing my bags ready to move out of my dorm and take a flight to Boston for the Summer. And here I am writing this entry on the night before class officially begins.

Tomorrow is the first day of classes and I am still questioning why the first day of the semester is on a Thursday. But anyways, starting early means ending early.

I would like to say that I am well prepared for this semester but that is not the case here. I did learn a lot about the higher education system here during the Spring session but somehow, I still feel a little worried for the classes I will be taking this semester. My initial plan was to get a head start for the class by doing some reading and practice but that did not happen at all. I was thinking about doing it but I did not actually do it.

Nevertheless, I am hoping to improve on what I did wrong last semester. There is still room for improvement. Most notably is my time management and commitment with different things need to be improved on and

Right now, I am mostly excited about the classes for this semester because they are genuinely the thing that I am interested in opposed to the courses I took last semester which was a 50/50 mix of things that I liked and things that I was “required” to take in order to be on-track for graduation.

I really don’t know what else to talk about but yeah, real excited for the first day of classes tomorrow. Orientation last week was pretty much amazing and I hope I can meet with people like that in my classes for this semester.