Unlike 2017, 2018 didn’t have real lows to contrast the highs. Aside from the wonderful encounters, foodie trips, and loving relationships, 2018 was the first time I strongly felt that I am an introvert. I was quite surprised by my rising need for personal space and quietness, as socializing with people used to energize the extroverted me.
By taking a step back from social life, I started to question myself whether I had declined too many requests or used self-care as a disguise to some larger issues. After some introspection and late-night conversations, I realized I have emerged into another personality phase.
As the change grew on me, I focused on introspection and reserved a lot of time for reading, traveling, and recharging. By cutting down 80% of the activities, I got to focus on healthcare and deep learning, held my first think week in Honolulu, read 150+ books, and explored 10+ cities.
Friends, if we haven’t talked in a while, here’s what I’m up to. Let’s catch up 🙂
I started 2018 with Din Tai Fung. I was fortunate to closely work with the CEO of the leading company for high-quality food and stellar service. I have learned (and ate) so much through rotating at each sector and meeting various partners and clients. On the last day of the internship, I was asked to give a 3hr talk on the future of technology and food, which pushed me to think critically about the future of many other verticals.
In the meantime, I visited my family in Hong Kong, helped my brother prepare for college admissions, and ended the break early with the TA camp.
After I got back to college, I picked a few classes around my Applied Mathematics, Computer Science, and Economics concentration, organized the Brown Datathon, went to a few other hackathons, and found my favorite community of the crazy monkeys at Junto (thanks to Valentin!).
During spring break, I visited Seattle, went to the Tensorflow Dev Summit, hung out in the Bay, and sent my mom flowers on Mother’s Day.
Soon after the semester ended, I flew back to Taipei for a few days and had really nice food at Tutto Bello (Italian) and Raw (Creative) and some really nice wine.
Then I came to San Francisco for the internship at an AAI (Augmented Artificial Intelligence) startup called Fin Exploration Company, where I got to work with an awesome team and realized my childhood dream of working on a product like Her.
Summer was always a lot of fun — outside of work, I recharged at holiday resorts at Carmel by the Sea and San Diego, attended a lot of Nav Talent activities with other associates, and got interested in the venture scene in US & China. I was extremely blessed to meet great founders & founding teams such as Helix, Notion, Coda, and Floodgate. Furthermore, I have enjoyed cooking at home and checking out some top restaurants like nopa in San Francisco.
During mid-July, I was invited back to Taipei to give a talk at GIS Taiwan, where I shared my personal stories with a diverse audience all over the world. It so happened that Celine Dion was visiting Taipei during the week of my stay, so I took my mom to her first concert 🙂
As a little reward for myself, I spent a weekend in Los Angeles (and went to Friends’ studio at Warner Brother’s!), checked out a few summer party, and cooked a lot at home.
After the end of the internship, I helped my dad wrap up a few businesses and flew back to Taipei again (the third time in three months!). I am extremely lucky to be able to visit my family so often and check out my favorite restaurants again (Raw, MUME, etc.).
After a short break, I came back for my third year at Brown. I was lucky to get an on-campus suite with my girls and cooked a lot more often than before. I continued to explore my interest in data science as a head teaching assistant and deep learning models as a researcher at Brown. I also started a little experiment to figure out what I truly want for next summer by applying to one firm in finance, one firm in consulting, one APM program in tech and talked to a few VC firms. Thanks to the final rounds that brought me onsite, I got to see how each industry differs from the eyes of the interviewer and alums.
Outside of school, I attended YC’s female founders conference, traveled for a few other business meetings once every other week, and watched Lion King in NYC. I love meeting other entrepreneurs and accelerate the progress of medical imaging technology.
During Thanksgiving, I decided to host my first ever Think Week in Hawaii. It went SO well (helped me decide to be an APM intern at Google next summer and inspired my Getaway retreat), and I had so much fun swimming with dolphins, learning to surf (it’s much more tiring than I thought, but I’m glad I finally stood up on the board), and meditate on the beach.
After the holiday, my good friend became my boyfriend, and I took a day trip to the tiny cabins for a little more recharge. Soon after the finals, I got back to Taipei again. Though I used to do winter internship in the past, I decided to plan the break around learning — golf, knowledge systems, and cooking — and I was so glad that I have focused on personal growth.
- Implement regular system review: I live by my principles/mental models/routines, yet I often neglect the importance of having regular check-ins. Many changes were delayed until something urgent came across. Starting today, I hope to channel my energy to long-term activities and work to make my life better in 5–10 years.
- Tie meditation and writing with empowering rituals: I’ve read and learned a lot about the benefits of both, yet I am still in the process of making them enjoyable and fun to do at the end of the day. While I am still experimenting to make them effective, I am optimistic about the positive change as they realize and become an integral part of my life.
- Set aside more time for family and friends: Sometimes I would get carried away by everyday tasks and neglect the relationships that meant a lot to me. Thankfully, I have learned to take real vacations last year and planned some nice retreats for 2019.
2019, here’s to another great one ahead 🙂