Pandemic. Police Brutality. Wildfires. 2020 has been nothing like I imagined. This year, I’ve been forced to trade my carry-on suitcase and hiking boots for my spatula and paper crafts. I’ve learned many practical things from staying at home, like how to adjust an Internet recipe so that it suits my taste or how to make face masks out of old t-shirts. But I wanted to spend some time reflecting on what I’ve learned from the tragedies of this year and how that’s changed my outlook on life.
Health is paramount. In high school, I was quite active since I had marching band practice in the fall and track & field practice in the spring. My fitness took a hit in college, but I still made an effort to go to the gym and daily traversed the campus by foot to make it to class on time. This came to a halt when I started working. As a software engineer in the Bay Area, I spend a lot of time seated behind a monitor, and the unlimited food my company provided did not exactly help. I realized just how unfit I was when I could not do a proper push-up while working out with my housemates. That, combined with the coronavirus pandemic, pushed me to make health a priority. You can’t order fitness from Amazon, nor pay someone to exercise for you; you need to put in the work to make your body as healthy as it can be. As a result, I’ve started doing CrossFit once a week with my housemates and doing Blogilates to improve my fitness. Instead of ordering takeout, I grow and cook my food so that I have better control over what I eat. …
Some people are fanatics about mechanical keyboards. It makes sense; we spend hours in front of our computers for work and play, and the keystrokes over time add up. Many typists develop Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) in their fingers from the prolonged and repetitive motion of hard typing. Besides taking breaks and stretching, a mechanical keyboard may help if you are experiencing RSI. There are tons of mechanical keyboards out there, and many opinions about each brand. Here are the main things you should decide on as you consider which mechanical keyboard best suits your needs.
Mechanical vs Membrane Keyboard
The first thing to realize is the difference between a mechanical and membrane keyboard. A mechanical keyboard consists of spring-loaded switches and removable keycaps. Depending on the switch in the keyboard, you can register a keystroke, or actuate, before fully depressing the key, or bottoming out. A membrane keyboard consists of multiple membranes with unmovable keycaps. For a keystroke to register, it needs to bottom out. The reason why a mechanical keyboard can help with RSI is that the switches allow the user to type lightly. …
It’s the end of October, which means the holidays are right around the corner! With the holidays come indulgent foods, and given how stressful 2020 has been, you may be tempted to overeat. Here are some things I do year-round that may help you avoid overindulging.
I turned 26 this month, meaning I’ve officially entered my late 20s. I’ve been reflecting lately on what lessons I’ve learned so far in these 26 years of life and distilled it into the following list:
First, I want to say that I recognize the immense privilege I have to be able to work remotely and stay at home. There are essential workers going into work and people sick with coronavirus in hospitals who don’t have this luxury. This article is not for them, but for those who are getting bored with social distancing. The COVID pandemic is still a very real public health emergency, and we should do our part to slow the spread by staying home when possible. Here are some ideas if you’re running out of things to keep you occupied at home. …
Making decisions is hard. From small decisions like which brand of toothpaste to buy to big decisions like whether or not to switch teams at work, I tend to overthink and overanalyze. I decided to take a step back and consider why I should not overthink decisions so that the next time I’m faced with this problem, I can handle it better.
Trigger warning: Sexual assault
Let me start by saying this is hard to write. It’s not fun to think about someone’s pain, imagined or not. But I need to write this because sexual assault and victims not being believed is a significant problem. Every 73 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted, yet only 5 in 1000 perpetrators go to prison (https://www.rainn.org/statistics/scope-problem). Some of my close friends have come to me with stories of their assaults. …
I never really considered myself a writer. In high school, my interests were mathematics, music, and leadership. In college, I tried 12 majors, all of which were in the sciences and engineering. After graduation, I started working at Google as a software engineer, a profession known more for programming than writing creatively. “Clearly,” I thought, “since I’ve never been educated or trained as a writer, I can’t write.”
At the same time, I needed more hobbies outside of work, and writing seems like a good way to stretch myself. I mentioned my desire to write more to my college friend Alan last December, and we made a year-long pact to hold each other accountable to write and share what we write with the world. Each month since January 2020, I’ve been writing and publishing one Medium article per month. …
Ramping up on a new team is hard enough, but doing it when everyone is working remotely is even harder. I joined my current team 2 months before my workplace implemented mandatory WFH, so this ramp-up period has been okay. I also tried 12 different majors in 4 years of college and have been on 5 teams in 4 years at Google, so I have a lot of experience ramping up. Some things I recommend:
A few months ago, I hung out with a coworker from my previous team. He asked me what I wanted out of my career, and I told him I wanted to be happy. I expressed disdain for the ladder-climbing grind of the tech industry.
“Why are you laughing?”, I said, feeling hurt.
“Because that’s so different from what you wanted just a year ago.”
He reminded me that a year ago, I told him under no circumstances would I let anything or anyone prevent me from advancing up the tech ladder. I realized that over the past year, I’ve been unconsciously reexamining what I want in life and what’s important. The musings happen over dinner conversations with friends, calls with college classmates, and good-bye parties to colleagues. …