2017 in retrospect

These were my key learnings this year.

The water is thickest while we’re in it. The path bumpiest while we walk it. I am still walking, but this last year is one more summit I have topped. What follows is a journey into another year. Before that happens, as I write this, at this time between times, it is easy to look back at the year past and the year ahead, and to consider my mistakes, and how I could have done things better.

It is also nice to think about the things I did somewhat right. There are of course almost infinitely more of the former things than the latter. Still. This is my year in review, and my hope is that a year from now, as I read this and write about this coming year in review, these thoughts will help me look forward with hope, and back with joy and appreciation for the challenges I have faced, and overcome to get to wherever I will be then.

I started college in 2017.

Going to school these last four months has been in one word, tumultuous. In these last few weeks, a century might as well have passed. The transition from home to this new place, would have been incredibly difficult were it not for the incredible people I have met along the way. I am grateful for the people who have supported me at every stage, and in whatever seemingly small way. That has been an important lesson for me this year:

  1. People matter. Do not ever forget that.
  2. Treat everyone how you would want them to treat you.
  3. If you can make someone have a good day, please do it. Sometimes, all it really takes, is a smile.
  4. Also, spend your time and energy in the ways that feel important to you, and that matter. This is the only useful way to spend your time.

My family.

Being so far away from the familiarity of home, and my family put how much I rely on my family, and how much I need them into perspective. There is a funny thing about being in college when something big happens and you want to share it with your family, and you know they are sleeping thousands of miles away from you. And when the holidays come, and students leave to spend time with their families and your own family is so far away from you. The international student’s experience in the US is an interesting one. An article I read in the New York Times summed it up perfectly.

My friends are my family here. I am so grateful for them.

I have one thing to say about this to myself.

  1. Always remind yourself to make them feel appreciated for the wonderful people they are.

I failed at things. Lots of things.

I travelled a fair amount this last semester. That was fun. Microsoft’s campus in Redmond Washington was everything I had imagined it would be. The interview felt like it went well, but unfortunately I did not land the internship. While that was a disappointment, my key realizations from this were,

  1. It is alright that things won’t always go according to plan. It is always an opportunity to get better.
  2. And, you can almost always try again later. That applies to everything in life, perhaps except life itself.
  3. Never get too bummed out about failures. Seeing Seattle alone, and getting that interview experience was an incredible opportunity! Plus, you made some really good friends on that trip.
  4. It is always worth trying to get what you want. You never fail so badly that you get nothing at all. At the very least, you get to say hey, I was once stupid enough to try this.

Now, 2017 was an incredible year, and ultimately, it brought with it challenges I did not expect I would ever need to know how to face. And yet I did, and I am here. I am ready for this next year, and I am grateful most of all for the people who step into this next year with me.