2018 Year in Review

2018 is a mixed bag & honestly I still don't know what to make of it.

I was actually debating whether to write this or not, because 2018 has been difficult. The highs were high, but the lows were very low. It’s a mixed bag & honestly I still don’t know what to make of it, so I guess I’ll just keep this short and sweet!

2018 started with my bachelor’s thesis defense. The day before that I got called, for the first time ever, to my lecturer’s office because according to him, “this (my final paper) is great but it’s impossible that you wrote a paper this good”, which was simultaneously the biggest insult and the greatest compliment I’ve ever received in my life. I graduated after 3.5 gruelling years because I couldn’t stand another semester of final exams, & I 10/10 would not recommend because let me tell you: I can still feel how burned out I am today.

Post-graduation I immediately started my first full-time job & I was awarded this year’s MVP for the Data team which was still a shocker to this day because wtfhowdidthathappen. I gave my first international talk at PyCon APAC. I went on to speak at four more meetups and conferences (CS UI Dev Meetup, ScotlandJS, MozBelajar, PyCon ID) with four different talks in three different programming languages & two human languages. I also moderated this year’s PyCon ID---my first time moderating a conference. I also participated in Increasing Rust’s Reach which had been a priceless help for me to get started with Rust & open source in general (this I 10/10 would recommend!).

View from the bus from Portree to Armadale

I didn’t travel much, but I spent a week with myself in Isle of Skye---a much needed break considering that I had dived into employment right after college. One of my happiest memories in 2018 was when I was sitting at the seaside of Portree, eating fish & chips, when it suddenly struck me that “heck, I love being with myself”. (Hint: that self-love didn’t last long).

I bought tickets to four different concerts only to sell them last minute simply because I was too exhausted to go that I’d rather stay at home, but in the end I forced myself to go watch MLTR’s concert so I could see The Actor being sung live.

Last year’s highlight was meeting wonderful people. This year I met even more wonderful people—hard-working, smart, kind people I truly look up to. People who would go out of their way to help me. What would I do without all of you?

At the beginning of the year I decided to stop buying paperbacks. As much as I love flipping through physical papers, it’s hard to argue against the practicality of e-books. It didn’t take long until I got tired of reading through my tiny iPhone screen, so I bought myself a Kindle Paperwhite. I read 37 books, 15 books short from my target of 52 (one book each week) but considering that last year I only read a measly 6 books, I’m totally happy with this. Here are my favorites:

  • Becoming by Michelle Obama
  • Pachinko by Min-Jin Lee
  • Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
  • I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
  • The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
  • Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
  • iWoz by Steve Wozniak and Gina Smith

A sketch of the Princes Street Gardens.

I also made more sketches than last year. I created 30-ish sketches for my friends’ graduation gifts. I remember that some years ago I wrote a blog post on how I find gifts useless---note that I was not a big fan of human interactions & being social was something I had to consciously learn, so it’s funny to see how my perspective has changed over time. In fact, I actually want to explore what other handmade gifts I can make & give to people in various occasions.

Lots of days were hard, & during these days music would sometimes be the only thing that actually light up my day. My favorite albums that were released this year are Villagers’ The Art of Pretending to Swim, Aly & AJ’s Ten Years (still don’t get why this is not a hit), HONNE’s Love Me / Love Me Not, & George Ezra’s Staying at Tamara’s. My favorite TV series that I discovered/were released this year are The Good Place & Sharp Objects. Also, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch was pretty cool.

This year I learned Rust, Vue, & Scala (which I get to use at work!). I created some side projects for funsies: find-coordinate-points which is a quick tool I made to help me at work, maknyus-ipsum which is a lorem ipsum generator but with Indonesian food, indonesian-word-embedding, & a Bash prompt editor that has been a WIP since March (I’m working on making it public). Three of them were made with Vue. I think the Vue + Flask combo would be my go-to stack for most (web app) side projects from now on. I contributed to some open source projects too, ranging from bug fix, adding new feature, to adding translation. At first I thought these didn’t seem like much, but given that I worked on these side projects on top of my full-time job, I think I should give myself a pat in the back.

Looking back

Last year I wrote these:

  • Find the balance between CS and non-CS things: I read more books than 2017 and complete more sketches---I think I can say this is a success. I like to think of 2018 as the year where I reclaimed my old hobbies back. There were some I actively decided not to pursue anymore (e.g. graphic design), & there are some that I haven’t had a chance to yet (e.g. writing. I signed up for NaNoWriMo but it didn’t fall through. However now I have a book idea that I really want to start working on next year!)
  • A slower life: Technically, yes, I did have a slower life. But honestly I’m just as exhausted.
  • Be nicer: I tried!
  • I wrote about some initiatives I care about, & how I wanted to work on those in 2018. I think I didn’t do much about this in 2018---adjusting to life post-graduation was tough. Next year I’ll be organizing PyLadies Indonesia & Global CFP Day Jakarta, so maybe 2019 would be the year. :-)

Next year

What I want to learn next year:

  • Generative art. My passion for art is inherited while my passion for computers comes out of nowhere. I’ve always thought of the two things as two diverging paths, so it’d be interesting to see how the two play out together (plus, generative art would make pretty cool gifts & bedroom decor).

As you may have noticed, I’m purposefully limiting the new things I want to learn next year because my head can only hold so much.

What I want to do more next year:

  • More doodling. Doodling in sketches, in writings, in ideas. Not everything has to be perfect or 100% well-formatted.
  • Write. That. Book.
  • Make running as a part of my routine.
  • Since being nice is too broad of a resolution, here’s for next year: maintain the relationships I already have (don’t forget birthdays!) & make great new ones.

The most important thing, though, I hope I can be kinder to myself. This year I beat myself up for all the things I thought I wasn’t doing well at (regardless of what people told me, even when they told me otherwise), all the things I didn’t achieve, & all the smallest mistakes that seem inconsequential in hindsight. I realized this was becoming harmful when I started to question everyone who was nice to me & any kind of compliment & appreciation that I got because I felt like I didn’t deserve it, it was a mistake, I’m a fraud, gosh the list goes on. Consequentially, this is one of the reasons why 2018 was difficult for me---I was fighting with the voice in my head for almost 24/7.

Whew, I didn’t mean to end this post in a sad note. Luckily though, writing this kind of post helps me remember all the good things that happened in 2018. I hope your 2018 went well, & let’s cheers for a better 2019.

December 31, 2018

Year in Review