03 January 2016


So let's tackle the reflection on 2015 first.

Being on PEY...I don't recall much from the second semester of third year. Yes I remember the municipal project, which was achievement unlocked for staying in the lab past midnight, and all those concrete problem sets that somehow took 6hrs+ to do with multiple do-overs. Yeah not many happy memories associated with the deadliest year of civ.

Nah that's far from true. Third year is when I became closer with a couple people in my department, starting with suffering through survey camp together and continuing with the aforementioned schoolwork. Another contributor is the lack of time to see Chestnut friends with all of us on such different schedules. YNCN was also another rewarding and fun experience, the whole team is amazing. It's also the first club that I thought genuinely cares about and lives up to it's mission. While I loved my experience there, I'm hesitant to rejoin in forth year because of the big time commitment that is required. The two other things that I would want to dedicate myself to is research project/capstone, and grad school application, and I don't want to give anything less than full effort to YNCN if I rejoin. I already feel quite guilty about not contributing much to WISE this year as VP.


Onto PEY, I can only thank having good luck to be in my position.

Lucky that I knew beforehand that the person interviewing me was the same person that conducted the info session so I was to stalk the heck out of him online and be more prepared. Also lucky that he was so laid back, my interview was really just two questions and the rest of the time was him giving me advice about grad school. But a million thanks to everyone that helped me prepare for it.

Even more lucky that my direct supervisor is the head of the whole company's building enclosure practice area and that he is new to the company as well. These led to almost a start-up feeling to my daily work, I'm really employee #2, such as being able to work on a variety of projects, listen in on high-level strategy, and meet clients. I can now brag that I set up the template for many of our workflows. Overall, I got a lot more exposure to what being a consulting engineer in building enclosure is like compared to if I had worked in a larger team.

The few complaints that I do have is one, my boss travels to other offices a lot so oftentimes it's difficult to coordinate my workload when he's gone. Two is that I'm not doing heavily technical work, such as modelling. But it's a fair trade-off that I'm learning more of the business side of things, there's forth year for the technical knowledge anyways.

Surprising to myself, I learned that I don't actually value my career as #1 priority in life. Unfortunately I don't have a passion for building enclosure, but do like it enough to do it as a job. Initially I was really upset at this discovery, since I've internalized the whole "love your job so you won't have to work a single day in your life", but has then come to peace with not necessarily feeling like my job needs to be my life's calling. That's not to say that I will merely show up for work, I do still want to do an amazing job on projects because I have a dream one day that even a tiny-budgeted, hastily built residential building will be comfortable to live in and not degrading to the environment. I am fed up with living in shitty buildings.
Through both my trip to New York in November and subsequent discussion with Andrew in Toronto, I realized that leisure is my first priority. Leisure as time for myself, whether that's to have tea, cook a meal, catch up with friends and family, or travel. It feels so precious to have a chunk of time that you have control over how to spend, because one has exceedingly little control over anything and "Time itself, foaming, raging, and boiling like a river, roaring through this room and through all rooms [...] and Time, with its grand, unfightable sweep, taking me along with it" (quotation via Shampoo Planet).


Being in Atlanta...is good. An easy way to sum up moving here is that it's not that different and it is different at the same time.

Not that different:
  • Living alone - the gradual increment in living alone from previous years (dorm, apartment with friends, own apartment) has prepared me well for living by myself. Fits well with my introversion anyways. The downside is that it's harder to push myself to go out. Gosh I haven't been anywhere yet... 
  • General culture - the US is pretty similar to Canada (though arguable that the statement is more true in reverse), though the South is a bit of a different beast. College sports is huge. 
Good different:
  • Southern food is good. Chick-fil-a needs to open in Toronto ASAP. Also lots of good Americanized Mexican food.
  • Ease of online shopping - I'm keeping every box that I receive from an online order, shall post a photo of every box when I move out. Amazon delivery is so fast in Atlanta that my packages get delivered within two days despite not being Prime. Though this really isn't good for my goal of buying less.
  • Skipping the snow and slush of winter is pretty nice.
Bad different:
  • Not a walkable city - this is really my biggest complaint against Atlanta and why I don't want to relocate here permanently. Every other bullet point below I can stand. My walkable definition extends to public transit, I left Toronto thinking it'd be hard to do worse than the TTC, and was then swiftly proven wrong. Of course being unable to drive is a big factor in my annoyance, but Atlanta traffic is terrible as well so I doubt I'd want to drive regularly here regardless. To be fair, Toronto isn't very walkable outside of downtown either. Maybe I'm just unhappy that there's not a good farmer's market nor an asian supermarket anywhere remotely easy to get to.
  • Socioeconomic disparity between the races - let's leave this at I don't recall seeing a non-black fast food worker. 
  • A lot more areas of the city is sketchy.
To tie to above points together, an overwhelming majority of my coworkers live near / outside the perimeter (I-285) in the nicer suburbs. In fact the first acronyms I learned here is ITP and OTP, meaning respectively inside and outside of the perimeter. While inner city revitalization is starting to happen (Beltline, Pounce City Market, West Midtown), it will take time, and for now downtown is still to be avoided.


Okay that's about how long I can concentrate for today. Tomorrow shall be a financial review of the year and more thoughts on buying things. 

No comments: