Thoughts on 2016- The year I became a semi-adult

Much like the Trump Presidency, the reality of my adulthood hasn’t sunk in yet. I graduated earlier this year, just as the world got much darker. 2016 hasn’t exactly been kind to us all. Many end-of-the-year articles list the catastrophic events that happened this year, and the other half reassure people that the world isn’t as terrible as we think it is.

But good or bad, every year is a chance for self-reflection. So here are some dull but important things I learned this year about post-graduation adulthood.

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How to earn an identity

Of course, you are not your job. Related article:
Of course, you are not your job. Related article here.

I recently wondered in another blog post, “what makes someone a computer scientist:

the act of writing code or the programming mindset?” I could ask the same of any other field, and it all boils down to the same questions: how do you adopt a new identity? when can you give yourself a new title? One obviously has to do more than take a class or fiddle with some code to be a “computer scientist.” So I came up with these criteria to test whether one has earned a new identity:

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Why we should watch out for unassertive language

lion-in-mirrorLast semester, I was looking through a graded midterm I had received back when I realized that my professor had added up my total points incorrectly, leaving me with an 82 instead of a 92. I turned and marched back into the classroom to demand my points back.

I approached my graduate student instructor and asked in a small voice, “Could you help me count this again?”

“Sure,” he said, and pulled out his phone to add up the numbers. He poked at it for a while, so I said, “I think it’s supposed to be 92.” For some reason, I felt uncomfortable hearing myself add I think in front of my sentence when I was sure I was right. Eventually, my GSI said “You’re right, good catch. That’s a big point difference.”

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How I became an “outgoing introvert”

“Introverting-” a great picture I found in Budapest.

For years, I exhibited all the signs of a textbook introvert. I refused to approach authority figures on my own or answer the phone at home when it rudely interrupted my thoughts. I brought books to parties and dinners, even when my mother pointed out that I was being antisocial. She felt sorry for me whenever I trailed behind other people or kept to myself in the corner of a crowded room. Not only was I introverted, but I was also painfully shy.

I’ve read more articles than I can count that nobly attempt to dispel myths that introverts are “shy,” “don’t like to talk,” or “always want to be alone.” Many more articles attempt to guide the poor misunderstood introvert through a society that favors extraversion. Among the general population, introversion is often associated with crippling shyness, lack of social skills, and solitude. The introvert is the proverbial turtle, ready to retreat into his shell without a moment’s notice. Thus, many teachers make the special effort to pull introverted students “out of their shells.” Amusing animal metaphors aside, people often forget that each individual is a human being with a wide spectrum of personality traits, skills, and dispositions, as well as a capacity for change beyond his identification of “extravert” or “introvert.”

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Thoughts on Uncharted Festival, Day 1

One of the main perks of working for the Daily Cal is attending mind-blowing events, such as the ~$300- per- ticket Uncharted Festival of Ideas, for free. A quick description of Uncharted, courtesy of their website:

OCTOBER 24-25 2014: “Uncharted brings you together with some of the world’s great thinkers for two thrilling days of discussion, debate, and workshops designed to engage and inspire. Hosted in downtown Berkeley’s thriving Arts District and highlighted by a hilltop bash in UC’s exclusive University Club, Uncharted promises to be stimulating, surprising, and fun.”

Here were some thoughts I had about the talks I listened to on Friday, Oct 24. 

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The modern paintbrush beckons

Haha butts
I swear that art is getting weirder. I’ve held this opinion ever since my parents told me about a Chinese painter who created beautiful images of peaches by dipping his rear end into paint.
A recent visit to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York left me with no doubt: avant-garde artists are pushing at the boundaries of normalcy. Some works were so bizarre, simplistic, or abstract that my friends and I had many “What is this doing in a museum?” moments. I’m not sure if our world is just getting bored, or if normalcy really is evolving. In any case, the “advance guard” of artists is marching ahead into the realms of eccentricity, and we must catch up or be assaulted by accusations of ignorance.

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