Penn senior 2013. Welcome to my journey of finding out what life means and what my purpose is in lifeAsk me anything Submit
In my studies here at Penn, I have increasingly been exposed to the viewpoints of professors and industry leaders regarding internet privacy. There’s more than one reason why professors are difficult to find on Facebook, none of which are that they are behind the times. As much as the Internet has become a great place for increased convenience and productivity, it has also a dark side, specifically regarding the sheer lack of regulation on privacy and the collection and aggregation of private information.
It is not difficult to observe how Google has infiltrated our lives and not only collects data on our activities in real time, but also likely sells the data to ad agencies and others. At present time, Google is not the one in most precarious position to screw users. Sure they are pushing for Google Wallet which will very likely put us in greater threat to identity theft and loss of financial information. Sure they provide email services and search that can be hacked and even more private information lost. What is most disturbing is likely the web crawlers and data aggregators that sell information about individuals from the most alarming of social security number and date of birth to health records, criminal records, and others. Not to mention the potential for incorrect entries for data completion.
I will be attempting to spread out my network of applications used. Even though I am not of same importance as my professors, it may hold value to be difficult to be found online. Changes in email account, uninstallation of google chrome, and increased usage of Bing are the preliminary steps that I will be taking. I will attempt to transition out of social networks but experience has shown that to be increasingly difficult. We’ll see what happens in the next few weeks.
As my time here is running short, I’d like to document a few of the things that I found interesting.
UST has their graduation ceremony in November. So that means, these past few weeks, I’ve been seeing so many students in their gowns walking around taking photos. I never realized how odd it is to watch people throw their cap into the air for a photo but maybe because I never graduated anywhere officially. Also, WTF are you guys doing in the library!! I know you guys want to take pictures studying but it really isn’t THAT glamorous.
Something I said might have tipped the administration off. They implemented their 24 hr computer schedule a couple months ago when I noticed that no place was open 24 hrs for workaholic whartonites I’m so used to. I guess UST is trying to implement that culture.
Library: The Place I Call Home
The library has a voting system for new chairs, couches, and tables. It’s an interesting idea in that you can just sit in a chair, and write your comments down. People actually contribute and write gigantic messages. But it’s still just a ruse to study longer.
We all use signs and signals to figure out whether we are on track to reach our objective or what the next step should be by analyzing the environment.Sometimes there’s just a gigantic elephant in the room that’s impossible to ignore.
Such is the case of my life here at HKUST. I’ve met a girl here and have successfully made things ambiguously confusing between the two of us (i think this is my trademark). In any case, last night, I got the text “Mr. James Hwang, date me!”.
Do I know how to respond to this very obvious attempt to make me take the next step? Do I know what I’ve been doing to make her have this sort of outburst? I have some sort of inkling but I don’t think I was completely prepared for this.
Yelim, I am so glad I met you this semester. I sincerely wish I had the chance to know you better. You were such a blessing.
Because I only knew you for 6 weeks, I’m hoping to document everything I remember because I’m almost positive that my memory our time together will waver and fail with time.
First day of international management when we were placed on the same team, we were so damn lost it was funny. As always, I was ecstatic to be working with such a beautiful and intelligent girl as yourself. You seemed exciting, energetic, and outgoing. It was my hope that we would hang out more and make a great team. I still remember when we were so confused to find out that Leslie was a guy.
During the semester, you continued sitting next to me. I always thought it was so funny that you wore so many colorful bracelets. It reminded me of my high school days when it was all the rage. You struck me as the hippie Asian I always wish I had met or even had become, free spirited and easy going. You seriously intrigued me. You’d write notes on your legs instead of your hands as I knew many of my friends had once done. You had this intriguing tattoo of a 5 pointed star behind your left ear. During class, you’d doodle such amazing flowers and patterns that I always stayed awake in class to admire. Last I saw you, you had “Made in Korea” stamped on your inner wrist.
I thought it was so funny when you walked into class on crutches after you crashed your skateboard. Again, your free spirited nature was such a refreshing change from the life I had in the US and the life I lead here.
These little details, I will forget but it’s written so I can never forget. As for you, I will always remember you, your kind smile, your exciting personality, and everything that I knew about you. You were so loved here at HKUST and will always remain in our hearts.
To me, productivity is getting your work done. To me, productivity means no stupid activities: no starcraft, no aimless wandering. You know what your goal is and you achieve what you set your mind to.
Under this definition, I think I can conclude that I know how to make myself productive. I can get work done. I can go days without starcraft or even facebook. A question that has recently emerged has been what do I do with all that time? More recently, I’ve noticed that I’ve become a nerd who studies everyday without a social life. My life has become very VERY standardized.
My current weekday schedule is as follows:
- 7:00 - 7:30 AM - Wakeup shower and leave for breakfast
- 8:00 - 9:00 AM - Breakfast + computer lab for research/work
- 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM - Class and in and out library inbetween to get work done
- 4:30 PM - 11:00 PM - Studying in Library/Computer Lab or Group Meeting
What I’m starting to realize is my life is extraordinarily robotic. Who do I hang out with? Do I have clubs? Do I have a social life? In all honesty, the answer is no. But I have achieved productivity! I have figured out a schedule that works that allows me to get the work out possible.
So now I wonder, why was I so encouraged to achieve productivity? I figured less work made my life less valuable to me. Now I realize, more work made my life even less so.
I don’t know what I’m doing with my life here. If I ever thought college was fun, this is definitely not it. In some sense, I’m fearful this will be representative of work. If I can’t figure out how to balance life and work now, I probably won’t figure it out in the workforce.
TL;DR: I miss Penn and my semi-aimless lifestyle.
Every summer, I’m learning new things. This year, I learned that Wharton has taught me to be productive or at least stay awake when i most need to. I think I’m the only one so far in these past 2 weeks to not fall asleep during work.
In other news, I have so much work to do…Developing this mat.sci database is proving to be difficult. Well…not difficult time consuming. I think what’s pushing me is that I may be allowed to play with cloud stuff if I can finish this stuff. Ok! That’s the goal. I will finish reading XML today!!!!!!!!….hopefully
It’s my second day of working today at the High Performance Center at Hsinchu Science Park. I must say, I’m absolutely exhausted. My back aches; I’m lethargic; and my body is COVERED with mosquito bites.
I sleep on a bamboo tatami without a mattress on top of a wooden board in a bunk bed. There’s always a lonely mosquito around trying to take free blood from me and my roommates. I’m living the college life I had avoided so far but with roommates who are just as conditioned to live this undesirable lifestyle as I am.
Yesterday was orientation day at HighC (as Eugene has termed our workplace). As a summer intern, I was one of the lucky few who was assigned mentors who had thought of a project before our arrival. I will be working on a web-based database for materials and their properties. It’s one of those “I know I can but I’m lazy to do it” kind of projects. It’s easily become a long term project due to the complexity of the desirables by the employer.
It seems like I’m on my own again, like I was last summer. Only difference is that it’s a structured project with oversight, I know more about the subject, and my living conditions could be better.
Off to another productive day of work but not before I grab breakfast