A List for My 2017

People often list things that they want to do or places that they want to be before the start of a new year. I don’t really have such a practice, but I can still clearly remember what I posted on Moments at the beginning of 2017; I hoped I could sleep and exercise more. Have I completed these goals? I’d like to make a list to answer this question.

  • I think I have slept more because I no longer registered more than one class per semester. I again went back to China to do research in summer, but my past summer was way friendlier than the one in 2016. I also stopped TA-ing in the fall semester, leaving me much more flexible time (and much more time to sleep as well).
  • I also exercised more. On average, I went to the gym five to six times in a month. This is definitely not frequent but already more than last year. I got my driver’s license in June and was then able to go to the gym more often. I started living alone since September, so I was also more flexible due to this change.

Hence, I think I have, at least to a certain extent, fulfilled my goals.

I also did some other things:

  • I traveled quite a lot. I went to Denver (for CHI) in May, visited London and Edinburgh in June (for DIS), went back to Shenzhen for the rest of the summer, drove along California 1 in November, and now I’m in Florida ready to drive US 1 tomorrow. I never really like flying but I had no other options for long-distance travels. Driving is a lot of fun but can be exhausted too. I think travel is, in general, a double-edged sword to me – I enjoy it and I hate it at the same time. Let’s see if I get to travel this much again next year. (My next summer is already booked for California because of Facebook.)
  • As a Ph.D. student (which is, um, my “official” role), I published two first-authored papers at top-tier Human-Computer Interaction conferences. I’m happy with this solid start even though I didn’t really appreciate my first paper-writing experience.
  • As a Ph.D. student (again), I passed my Qualification Exam. I guess my worst two days in 2017 were March 20th and 21st. The exam was so damn cruel.
  • I know I mentioned just a few lines above, but still – I’m thrilled to get my Georgia driver’s license. What a mark of my yet another step towards independence!
  • Finally, I got an intern offer from Facebook. I promised myself that I would get one. I’m happy I keep this promise.

Of course there were pains too:

  • I have been in relationships with guys (different ones, of course) since 2008. The year of 2017 marks an end. I broke up with my boyfriend and started my expected-to-be the longest period of my single life. I had always wanted to be single and cool and live alone since I was pretty young, but you know dreams change as people grow. I enjoy being single quite a lot, but sometimes it could be difficult too.
  • It’s still hard for me to get used to living in America. I mean, I have already been here for four and a half years, but I still can’t see myself as part of people who live in the United States. I hate most of the foods here, I hate how things are designed here, I hate the system here, etc. I don’t really like here but I have to stay here. This pain is in no way a new one, but it keeps burning me. I think it will still do in the future, so I’d better find a way to get along with it.

I learned many things throughout this year. One thing that struck me the most is the importance of waiting. Actively waiting, not passively. I had to work hard consistently for a (sometimes very) long time to get certain stuff (e.g., a research intern in the States). Maybe more precious things need more time to reach me. I’ll keep waiting for them.

I hope these are enough for a year. And for those of you who read till this line, thank you for bearing me babbling. Happy New Year!