Personal Goals - 2021

10 minute read


Summary: A summary of goals for 2021.

Summary of 2020

This year has been pretty blessed considering what’s happening around the world with Covid-19. I did a cabin trip with Sarah and friends early in the year and did New Years Eve at a club seeing Kaskade(?). Definitely safe to say, I can’t do “long” nights out anymore. I went to Cancun with my family and Sarah at the beginning of the year before Covid hit and then spent 3-4 months at the Kim family house, which was definitely… longer then expected. Throughout quarantine, really got to know myself better. Found an interest in gardening and cooking and really had to explicitly focus on mental health. In the summer, got to make a trip home and even go down to San Diego to see some old friends from the BodyRock/SD crew. Was very memorable even with Covid restrictions, and happy I went. In the midst of Covid, got to experience July 4th still with some NYC friends up near Westpoint. Closer to Halloween, saw K-Town in Manhattan with all its outdoor seating! It was actually quite awesome, and something I hope they keep during all the non-winter months in the future.

AAMPLIFY managed to get through the pandemic by shifting its gears to a virtual summer program. It actually was quite successful and I was glad to introduce a statistical and data-driven thinking portion to the leadership curriculum. EverydayBME managed to shift gears in the face of the pandemic as well. We partnered with BMESDiversity and offered Patagonia 1/4 zips to entice a social media display of the diversity in BME science and research. It was actually quite awesome to see how many minority groups participated because it speaks to some of the successes at least we’ve had in the BME community in terms of diversity.

With the start of the Fall semester, my paper was accepted for review at a high-profile journal, which was a really nice touch (we’ll see if it gets accepted though heh). In addition, I managed to work with a small team (many talented individuals) to get an EEG analytics software in its MVP version approved by the FDA via a 510k approval process. Learned a lot about regulatory and how to work with the FDA and consultants to get a software approved. Finally, I took a very interesting course, called Real Variables with Professor Sogge at JHU. Learned a lot about Lebesgue measure, integration and differentiation theory. In addition, got a very nice introduction to Hilbert spaces and Fourier series, integrals, transforms. Wish I took the course 3 years earlier. I’ve also been an active contributor in open-source and was later added to the BIDS-standard team by Stefan. I’ve really become amazed by the open-source community. I’ve had lengthy Github conversations with many talented individuals that I’ve never even met, let alone know their face, or voice.

I think it’s important to reflect on how “blessed” this year was for myself, but also reflect on some of the bad that came with it. This year marked the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, and with it, many many people were forced to stay home. An aggregation of poor response, and misinformation led to the pandemic bringing the USA to its knees. When we look at countries like South Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand, Vietnam and more, it’s quite apparent what differences there were to anyone that is scientifically trained. In addition, at the same time, we saw the very public unnecessary deaths of many Black Americans (Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd to name a few). For people like me that live in a world of first-world privilege, it probably “shocked” us. I know for me at least, it really started making me question the society we live in and what sort of biases I’ve been engraved with since childhood. It also was hard to come to terms with the fact that this kind of thing has been honestly happening far too frequently since before I was even born. It is a flaw in how we are taught history, and a flaw in our society. With the poor pandemic response, and racial problems of the USA, it is apparent that voting strong local public officials that are knowledgeable, scientifically driven and socially aware is more important then we realize. Going to be on the lookout for more ways I can actively, or passively help as time progresses. I’m glad that I was also able to at least do a bit more research in my local, state and federal elections then I normally would in the hope that I become a responsible and socially aware voter beyond just this year. A side effect of the pandemic actually made me do more reading and research into climate change and being a “green citizen”. It took me by surprise that recycling is more nuanced then just use, recycle, reuse. Projecting forward decades, it was became more apparent to me that we can’t keep living the way we do - taking from the earth without thought. It actually will lead to more racial inequality and potentially cause more social issues that we can’t even imagine. Part of my personal goals for this new year is to become a more “green citizen”, as well as being a “responsible socially aware citizen”.

Old 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:

- [X] 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.

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

I definitely could have ran more this year, but because of Covid, I’ve “exercised” less, but have been running significantly more. I’ve gone up to ~4 mile runs every now and then, but am nowhere close to a half-marathon level. Cooking-wise, Sarah and I have explored many many dishes, such as: eggplant lasagna, medium-rare rib-eye steak, indian marinated chicken, thigh curry chicken, fresh-made linguini with seafood and much more.

2. Professional:

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

Although I haven’t done an internship as I was hoping, I have been significantly more active in open-source. I’ve contributed to mne-bids, mne-python, the BIDS specification, bids-validator, and many more. Open source science rocks! I believe I’ve definitely gone beyond 10 closed Issues/PRs.

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’ve done this relatively well, considering we grew up not “giving presents” normally. Since I’m very “calendar-oriented”, it helps that I have all my birthdays and important events on my google calendar.

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 haven’t really had an opportunity to do this as much as I would’ve liked. However, due to Covid, I’ve definitely had a few Zoom get-togethers ranging from catchups, to board games to playing Among Us.

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. 

I could probably do better here still. I think I’ve been marginally improving, but there can be more instances where I reflect more on my thought patterns and actions.

Goals 2021:

1. Health

This year, I’ve found that mental and physical health are intricately linked. In addition, they have consequences on professional productivity. Sarah introduced me to yoga this year, and I actually quite enjoy it since it involves a lot of stretching, deep breaths and movements that I otherwise wouldn’t do. It’s a great way to be active in the morning and after runs.

Other activities I’ve found helpful are running and cooking healthy. Cooking isn’t just healthy, but it is a relaxing activity. In addition, now that I’m more comfortable cooking, I want to explore more by cooking healthy. Cooking healthy means cooking with just vegetables and ingredients that are not currently being stressed by human activity (e.g. red meat, fish, fat).

  • Continue to do yoga 5 times/week for at least 5-10 minutes per day.
  • Continue running at least 10 miles/week (1-4 miles per day).
  • Begin learning how to cook vegetable only dishes

2. Professional

This upcoming year, I’ll be graduating with my PhD and MS from Johns Hopkins. I’m looking forward to taking courses in constrained optimization, stochastic optimization and graph theory. I’ll also probably be starting a transition to a post doc, or industry position. In order to feel like my PhD is fulfilled, I would like to publish a few more projects:

  • SickKids dataset
  • Theory of epileptogenesis

3. Outreach / Societal Impact

This year I would also like to dedicate more time to outreach. I think there’s too often change that could be done at the local volunteer level that isn’t because of passiveness.

  • Volunteer at least once/month
  • Be more mindful of re-using things (e.g. plastic, etc.). Aim to re-use things until they are broken