This past June, I finally received my diploma from the University of Waterloo. It’s been 5 years since I was a clueless first year student who thought C++ was a bad grade on a test.
During these 5 years, I
- took 38 courses,
- completed 7 semesters, one of them abroad in Singapore,
- completed 6 internships, resulting in 2 years of work experience,
- moved 12 times,
- lived with 22 different people, and
- travelled to 18 different countries.
Of course, these numbers do not do justice to the things that really matter: the valuable friendships that I formed, meeting a countless number of people from around the world, learning to be self-sufficient, learning to be comfortable in a completely new environment, gaining invaluable technical and non-technical skills through coursework and internships, and much more.
Thank you to the University of Waterloo for introducing me to computer science. Thank you for teaching me my first programming language (Scheme), teaching me about algorithms, epsilon-delta proofs, graph theory, lambda calculus, scheduling, polynomial rings, cryptography, financial accounting, complexity theory, and so much more. Thank you for having an amazing co-op program that allowed me to gain work experience, travel the world, and graduate debt-free. Choosing to attend Waterloo has been, by far, the best decision of my life.
Thank you to my friends for putting a smile on my face everyday! So many unforgettable memories which are too long to list. Thank you for always believing in me, always being there for me, listening to my first-world complaints, and hanging out with me even though you had an exam the next day. (And for playing hanabi with me and dealing with my anger if you messed up.)
Last but not least, thank you to my parents. Thank you for driving me to my 7am basketball practices in high school. Thank you for cooking delicious meals three times a day for the first 18 years of my life, which I did not realize was amazing until I tried living on my own. Most importantly, thank you for sacrificing everything you had to move to a country where you barely spoke the language, just so that I could have a better life. I cannot imagine what you went through to willingly leave all of your family, friends, and jobs. I have an amazing life right now, and all the credits goes to you.
This fall, I will be starting a PhD program at MIT in operations research. I’ll be starting fresh new life; going to a new school and moving to a new city where I have 0 friends. I am a bit nervous, but mostly excited for the adventures that lay ahead!