A Lookback of 2018

A Year in the Life of Jasmine

Today, my friend asked me what I thought of 2018.  It’s interesting, because all I was thinking of was that Christmas was coming soon, and I needed gifts for certain people, but I forgot that it also meant we were approaching 2019, and every year, I’m not ready for it.

I couldn’t really think of anything on the spot to answer her besides ramble about my job, so I looked at my calendar.  Here are some of the main points in summary:

  1.  I spent most of last winter at home to protect my body, and I put myself through hours of SQL and R coursework everyday; it was discipline, but I’m glad at this point now that I paid for that Datacamp subscription and made the most out of it.
  2. Went to Harry Potter World with my family, which was one of the biggest destinations on my bucket list, so I was really happy with this vacation.
  3. April was when I tentatively started applying to jobs to really dig down on what I could qualify for.
  4. I had still been sort of going to fellowship at the time.
  5. When the lung transplant team had me go to see an infectious disease doctor at UPenn and finally drummed down on my antibiotics, and I began my daily courses of medication.
  6. I went on those few dates and actually made a genuine attempt to enjoy myself since my last and only relationship ever.
  7. Checked out SOJO Spa, a lesser to-do item on my bucket list
  8. Interviewed end of May for my current position, and got it.
  9. Was still regularly going to gym/therapy 
  10. Got my first gynecology appointment out of the way, was hella scary
  11. Mom went to Dubai, parents went to Peru, and my mom celebrated her 60th birthday in Taiwan, plus New Zealand- it’s a good year for her
  12. A couple friends got engaged
  13. Went to Princeton UXPA lecture to hear Google UX/UI director speak
  14. Am picking up skills in Excel
  15. Moonchi and Logan are both one years old ^_^
  16. Unfortunately, Trump is still a POS, but it’s one year less we gotta put up with that
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Nov. 11, 2018 Sunday night: The Leaves are almost Gone

I’ve been joking about having a quarter life crisis since I was 20, but I guess 25 is the “official” quarter-life crisis legitimacy age, assuming 100 is the year we would live to on average.  I just Googled it, the average U.S. age lives to a lifespan of 79 years old, apparently a whole four years longer than it was about 30 years ago.

Weather and Season:

For some reason, it seems like fall condensed in the past week- the landscapes exploded into colors of orange, yellow, and red, soon swept to dead leaves in the wind, and finally left the trees in our yard 90% barren.  We went from 70 degrees two weeks ago to 40s this week, with bouts of rainfall scattered throughout the days.

Career: 

On Friday, it was not a fun day.  I was not feeling it, with the dark skies and rain, and I was tired from driving down to Princeton for a UX/UI lecture the night before (more on that later).  The new list I was working on was also more complex and annoying – there were more factors to consider and change in the system, and none of it was as efficient and straightforward as it should be.  I have a vague idea of the role I took on at this job, but I feel like more than anything, I was hired to research and figure out all the arbitrary conditions in this process without having been properly trained.  Someone from another department messaged me, asking me to look into something I had done two months ago to an account.  For comparison, I work through about 2000-3000 accounts per week on average, and when someone messages me on something, I get anxiety on having to understand and defend myself clearly and promptly.  I needed to understand more of the background and relationship of what other departments do and how the system functions, in order to be able to defend myself on what I had apparently done and what they were looking at.  My quick research led me to believe that I had made an error, and an email was immediately sent out informing others that I had made a mistake.  After help from my co-worker, I realized that I had not been wrong in the update I made, and I therefore attempted to explain to my boss why the change had been made.  It’s just a crappy feeling, not being sure if you did make the mistake stupidly, or it was some operational error you didn’t even have clarity on.  I had apologized many times so far, but out the handful times I had been messaged on my errors, I really believe most of them were due to some of the natural margin of errors that happen when you do a lot of manual work in large amounts of data, and also due to some result I was given that nobody had a concrete idea on how to handle.  There was only one time that it was 100% a huge stupid mistake I clearly made.  None of my bosses have yelled at me or anything, but it’s this pressure I feel where I want to work hard and I really dislike having anyone accuse me of mistakes.  I’m still having doubts about my value and my worth.  I’ve learned that it’s important not to apologize, and to always do your best to find out what happened before believing it when someone tells you you made an error.

  • The UX/UI event:  I had heard about this since the last meetup I attended back in the summer, and didn’t think much about it since.  But then I got an email notification and realized that the topic was one I was quite interested in, which includes user accessibility, something that involves improvement for disabled people as well.  The user experience should prioritize that demographic as well, so I definitely enjoyed the lecture, which was given by Elizabeth Churchill, the head of the UX/UI team at Google.  It was the first time I’d been in this building, which was the one right in front of the Princeton fountain.  The auditorium I was in looked similar to the one broadcasted at the UN, and I immediately sat next to a student who had a #builtbygirls sticker on her laptop.  I talked to her, and realized that there were obviously many Princeton students as well attending, and it was hard not to feel a bit intimidated since I was suddenly aware of the high amount of intellect in this room.  I enjoyed how the speaker broke down the way they researched things at Google, and I definitely agree that a smooth interface is all the difference in whether someone wants to download an app.
  • I’ve been researching more online about what courses and topics I could learn more about and be more exposed to.  I also have been reading up a lot on job requirements, particularly those in my town.  I feel more certain now on the skills I want to target acquiring at my current job, especially those that are transferable.  I need to remind myself when I feel anxious and insecure at my job, that it takes time to pick up on all the nuances of responsibilities, and that even if I lose this job, it’s not the end of the world, and I’m sure I am better off now than I was a year ago regardless.  I can only try my best.

Health:  I shuffled my Tuesday work schedule two hours later to stop by the SSI office with my dad to figure out what’s going on with the status of my benefits.  It always gives me anxiety to go, because one time we had this really mean Indian lady who treated me like a criminal who was taking advantage and lying to her.  I put aside two hours for the trip, but thankfully, we talked to one of the front desk ladies and resolved our questions in about 20ish minutes, with probably a 20 minute wait.  I left with a pamphlet of information and more clear instructions on how to report my wages, and then realized I could head into work at 11am instead of 12pm.  I also ended up going to a deli to talk more with a new guy at work, he’s an interesting character.  I also have to figure out some insurance claims I made, and sometimes when I think too hard into things it can be overwhelming. But I’m okay for now.

The good thing is I’ve done so much research, and have a list of notes on what to further look into and learn about now.  At least I have a sense of direction on what to gain more experience on.  Bloomberg Business magazine is also really informative on world news and trends, so most of my weekend was spent between watching The Americans and reading and researching.

Life in the 20s

Yeah… just a blink ago, my brother remarked on how he was starting to attend weddings and other adult things that seemed 20 years away.  20… LIGHTYEARS AWAY.  Cause now it has reached me.  Yep. Me.

Newsfeed on facebook, all day, e’eryday, people be getting engaged with their couples pics and bling bling rings, and even POPPING OUT LITTLE HUMAN BEINGS.

Like, time is supposed to be slow, but it is speeding up lately.  On a scale of MY personal level of stress, it’s been a solid 5.5/10 lately, which is not too awful.  But mostly, I think it’s probably a topic I’ve written about quite a few times now, and that’s how everything around me lately especially with my friends is related to couples, and relationships, and engagement/wedding talk.  I feel like maybe I’m exaggerating, but then the topic comes up and I’m like nope, I am not imagining this.

And I want to be chill, content with who I am and my own journey and all those philosophical quotes that remind you about self-acceptance and all that, but then I have so many moments where I cool down and all the doubt and uncertainty of the future floods in.  I’m constantly wondering now how much my potential really is in career, in how confident I am in my standards of dating, and my ability to continue trying my best to get my shit together, or appear to have my shit together, while enjoying life in the now.  And it’s really difficult – I definitely feel like I have so many to-do lists constantly, from the small to the big, like laundry, and laundry, and food prep, and insurance things, and doing that thing for my dad, and counting my finances, and worrying that all the meanwhile that I try hard to be in the now, everyone else has planned out their next steps, whether it be a trip abroad, moving in with their bf in the following year, or getting into grad school.

And while I haven’t been exhausted in that out-of-breath way too often, lately I’ve been sleeping A LOT.  Remember when I had major insomnia and anxiety, to the point of feeling psychotic?  Now I nap around 3-4 hours a day on the weekends .___. I don’t know why, and I don’t mind too much, but why am I sleeping so much?

All I can do now and continue to try to remember all the things on my weekly to-do list, and to try to go to the gym on a constant basis, stay patient on where I am in the workplace, and try to navigate and learn whatever I can.  Stay as healthy as I can be.  Find the line between ambition and satisfaction.

Reminder to be Thankful: Healthcare, Career, and Other Basic Things Most ppl take for Granted

I’ve started my second week of work, and I remember thinking of my last job and how excited I was just to have a job and be healthy enough to go to work everyday.  After a couple months though, the excitement wore off and the work became mundane- I felt restless and uninspired, not to mention the weather got colder and more difficult for me.

I had this thought at the end of last week that it seemed I was nearing the end of my training and picking up most of what I could pick up at this job and place, but I really hoped that wasn’t the case.  Thankfully, I think I still have a lot to learn, and if I do well and still last here 3-6 months later, maybe I’ll get a raise or they’ll consider moving me to another higher position in data.  Ideally, my image of “making it” career-wise would be to climb up the ladder in terms of data analyst, then data scientist, of which the avg annual income is ~$100,000.  Even though money isn’t everything, it would definitely be one less thing to worry about and would make life a little easier.  My hospital stay for just 8 days last year ended up costing ~$50,000… I don’t know how people are supposed to survive and pay that without insurance in America.  Definitely a huge problem.  It’s inhumane not to provide people with the basic ability of maintaining their health and welfare.

I’m glad that compared to certain peak times of my life, these past months I haven’t had to visit doctors an incredible amount- I have to take off once a month so far, and I try really hard to book my appointments for other things after my work ends, which is possible because it’s part-time.  As I grow older, I become more and more aware of spending money practically, and investing in things I need. Really need.  Like work clothes.  What I WANT are a nice new pair of bose headphones and for my mac computer to have sound again, but so far, I am living life fine without either.  Shout out to you Sean if you’re reading this lmao because I use bluetooth on the sleep machine to get sound when I connect it to the laptop 😀

So what I want to be thankful for now, and what I have to keep reminding myself when I start to feel bored or annoyed that I have to go to work, is that it is a blessing to have the ability to have a job and to make it there everyday.  I remember those cold winter months where I had really bad winter blues and was alone and so frustrated that I was just full-time sick, watching everyone else simply have opportunities to hit their goals.  I don’t need anyone to hand anything to me, I just want the opportunity to earn it.  Because now that I am not down with the flu/cold or my lungs are fucking with me and I can manage my current job so far, I feel confident that I have the drive and the ability to learn and make it to where I want to be.  As long as life doesn’t throw more shit at me (which I know it will), I can do it.  And that is one of the biggest leg ups I have over my competition.  I know what it’s like to simply not be able to try.  When you’ve never known what it’s like to have a chance feel like it’s completely robbed from you, you don’t know anything else except to take it for granted.

I know I’m not earning that much right now.  But it’s a step above not having the ability to earn anything at all.  And even if I get fired now, I already picked up so much on the corporate world in one week, and other random technical jumbo I never thought twice about that impact our lives very much, that it’s okay:  I know it wasn’t a waste of time.  Absorbing knowledge is great 😀  I’m starting to migrate towards analyzing real work this week in their many Excel sheets… my biggest wish is that the learning doesn’t stop here and I’m not stuck doing this for weeks on end, or for the rest of my position there.  Give me a chance to prove what I can bring when illness doesn’t prevent me, and I will kick ass.

Finished R Career Track course

So… after an estimated 95 hours (even though it absolutely took me much longer than that…), I finished the career track on Datacamp for R!  I really learned a lot looking back, but every step of the way introducing something new to my brain was hard work.  I’m still not a master, but at least I am becoming more familiar with the structure of it and what R’s capabilities and tools are.  Finally finished whew.

Now, I’m starting on Python, which is supposed to be easier, but I guess it’s the learning curve of re-learning the process from scratch with different coding style that is tripping me up.  I feel a bit discouraged, but all I can do is keep going forward, slowly and step by step.  At the end of the course, I’ll realize that this first and second class material was easy as it’s all introduction to basic 101.  But, it doesn’t feel that way right now and I feel pretty overwhelmed T_T  I really hope I’m going to be qualified enough to get a job in the future in this career, and my friend is also shifting her career to becoming a web developer from scratch, so it’s kind of encouraging to see her progress and all that she’s learned in the past couple months.

I’m kind of tired, but I can’t give up.  If I continue on pace with the goals I’ve set daily for myself, I should have learned the Python entire track before 20 days’ time, in which after I would start browsing through projects and practicing to become even more familiar with what I want to do, rather than how to do it.

I remember the course I took on Photoshop and how overwhelming it was… didn’t know how to do anything, including importing an image.  But it became second nature to know where to click to get the result I wanted, but it also meant weekends of morning to night in the same spot.

HAVE TO KEEP GOING. MUST.