This year was a great way to end what I like to call a decade of growth. These past 10 years, I went from high school to college. I found out the things I love, the things I hate and the things that I could care less about. Love came and went, along with different friends. Above all else, I am almost certain that I've found what I love to do. Science, and the ability to "make discoveries" that can help people are what I hope to do for the rest of my life. I came to graduate school without understanding why I wanted to be there, and where I wanted to go, but now I'm getting ready to leave... at least understanding why I came.

This year I am glad I found a partner that has been supportive of what I do, and patient enough to listen to my weird and obnoxious thoughts on things ranging from sleeping habits, to science. It has and should continue to be a thrilling experience to make mistakes, reflect and adapt while I face the next challenge of learning how to grow two minds at once.

I'm close to graduating from school where I will never have to "take courses" again, but rather then rejoicing that I never have to set foot in a classroom again, I'm realizing I'll miss the lessons in logic you learn from challenging yourself through homework and exams. I took up the Masters in AMS at JHU this year, and I'm glad I went through with it. I am close to publishing most of my thesis work this year and then going through the final defense of the PhD. It didn't seem so far away that I was struggling to understand the basic methodological papers my undergrad PI sent me, but now I'm confident to say that I at least understand 50% of things with a one time read. Time to grow and reflect on this year.

Old 2019 Resolutions:

1. Learning Mandarin Chinese - Simplified [ ]

"Traveling to a Mandarin speaking country, Taiwan with my friends made me realize my Chinese is horrendous. I always went to China with my family, and I never had to get around by myself. This was the first time I wanted to rely on my Chinese to communicate with strangers, and get around the country, but I realized my speaking and reading ability is just not up to par. This year, I'm committed to speaking to my parents in as much Chinese as possible and I've even started a Wechat/Messenger/Line group chat with my Chinese friends to practice Chinese."

Yeah this stopped after April when my friends Anthony and Justin stopped using Line chat lol.

2. Bartending Basic Drinks and Theory [ ]

I bought a bartending kit on Amazon and am aiming to learn how to make some basic drinks like an old fashioned, mojito and other drinks I can find online. Aiming to learn how to make 6 good drinks by the years end!

Definitely instead of doing this, I chose to not drink as much, ... so I guess that's an accomplishment.

3. Continuation of Lifestyle Changes [X]

"Cutting my own hair, benching 2 plates, reaching deadlift of 3 plates and running at least 5 miles per week. Been proud of myself for learning how to cut my own hair (thus saving time and money each month), and hitting a bench press of 2 plates, while still weighing 160 lbs. This year I hope to continue my fitness goals and potentially shave off 10-15 lbs to a flat 145-150 lb. This will be achieved with the help of my nifty Apple Watch Series 3."

Still been cutting hair, but went all in on the high-rep, 1 plate for bench, deadlift and squat. I've been running a lot more recently and I think that will lead me to the goal-setting of 2020.

4. Professional Improvements and Consolidation of Technical Skills [X]

Managed to get a lot of things done this year :).

5. Improving Photography With New IG Page [ ]

"This year, I'm going to try to post new photos to a new instagram blog page with more travel related photos. This is to sort of separate my personal instagram from my photography hobby. I have a lot more to learn about optimal lighting and photography of different scenes (e.g. portraits, landscapes, nightshots). I am aiming to post an additional 12 photos that I am proud of onto this IG page by the end of the year.

See link to keep up to dates with my adventure! https://www.instagram.com/ajltravels/ "

Didn't happen as much as I wanted, but instead I worked with a few colleagues to get @EverydayBME off the ground, which is a super cool Instagram page off the ground.

2020 Goals:

1. Health: (Half-Marathon)

13.1 miles. Longer then I've ever ran in my life, but it's going to be the goal of this year, and the entrance into adulthood. In order to get to this point, say for the Boston half-marathon on October 13, 2020, then there will be a decent amount of training involved. I should set a goal to:

  • [ ] run 1-2 times per week with 4+ miles by March.
  • [ ] run 1-2 times per week with 6+ miles by June. Run the Boston 10k in June.
  • [ ] and then start training in July for the half-marathon.

How can I measure side-effect success? Heart rate should ideally go to resting at 50 consistently. I should be stretching consistently and doing foam rolling.

Learn another few signature dishes to maintain cooking health :). - [ ] pancetta wrapped stuffed chicken w/ fetta cheese, spinach, mushrooms and garlic - [ ] a red wine dish - [ ] a fresh pasta dish

2. Professional:

Internship, or open-source development with at least 10 closed Issues and Pull Requests.

3. Personal:

Think before speaking more, patience and focus on my friends, family and significant other more then myself. I've focused on my self-growth over the last 10 years, and it's time to focus on my external-growth over these next 10 years.

I should check up on my family more often via WeChat, and give better presents for the birthday and holidays.

I should check up on my friends that don't live in Baltimore every few weeks or so. Put things on the schedule for hanging out. I should invite a few friends to do Montreal with me in the summer.

I should focus on listening to Sarah more this year. She's more right then I am in more instances then I would prefer to admit. The fallacy of trying to believe in yourself is that you convince yourself out of hubris that you are right even when you are wrong.