It’s New Year’s Eve. I’m leaving for Waterloo tomorrow, to start a new year. That leaves me with just over seven hours until 2017. Now seems like as good a time as any to look back on the year.
Being a university student, I feel like years are now divided into three segments: winter term, spring term, and fall term. Although I’ve become extremely lazy when it comes to maintaining this site, I do still try to post on each term. So for anyone who’s curious (aka future me), here’s a rundown on each term this year.
It tells you a lot about the year I had when two of those three are protected, and I made a conscious effort to write the third such that I wouldn’t have to protect it.
2016 was not a great year for me. I had to spend the entire year in Waterloo, a city I don’t want to spend any more time in than absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, I’ll be spending at least the next eight months there as well. I guess it’ll be on me to make it better than this year, because perspective is everything. With that being said, instead of lamenting this lackluster year, I’ll gloss over the highs and lows that came to define it.
I had two terms of school this year, the first calendar year as such for me. A year ago, I was wondering what it would be like to finish second year, if I finished second year. Well, I made it. In terms of grades, 2016 was a good year. No, 2016 was a great year. I finished top 10 in my class in the term that’s supposed to be the hardest term, not just for ECEs, but arguably any program here at the University of Waterloo. Despite my doubts, I finished strong in 2B as well, with my average falling only 3%. I think I’ve proved to myself that the last three terms haven’t been a fluke, and that I’m capable of being successful here. Heading into 2017, I think I need to remind myself of that from time to time. It’s been a very tough school year, easily the toughest I’ve ever lived. I wouldn’t be here without the incredible support from my friends, not only academically (I seriously cannot understate how fortunate I am to have the friends I have for carrying through me pretty much all our labs), but also emotionally, and always being there to hear me complain about something or the other, and sharing a nice dank meme from time to time to get us all through the year. I hope only to someday return the favor. Being the last day of the year, I’m in a pretty reminiscent mood, and I’ll say this; university has introduced me to some truly wonderful people, who have been a constant source of joy for me in 2016.
My coop term was not good this year. In fact, I can extend that to most of my coop experience this year. I blew some interviews for phenomenal jobs, underperformed where I was employed, and ended the term by getting laid off. It feels like a lifetime ago, but I suppose it was only at the beginning of this year when I interviewed for my dream job, right here in Calgary. I can’t think of one thing that wasn’t stellar about the job. The pay was ridiculous, the perks were ridiculous, the location was ridiculous, the job was ridiculous. I would have been beside myself with joy if I had gotten the job. But I guess that’s just life at the end of the day. Very rarely do we ever get what we truly desire. I’m still a little bitter about being passed up for the job, and I don’t think I’ll ever really forget it. Instead of spending summer at home, I was spending it in Waterloo, at a job that never really clicked for me. I’ve already posted about why I was disappointed with the coop experience, and it’s not something I really want to get into right now. A couple things to come to mind when thinking about that term, though. The first was being courted by the company like I’ve never been courted by anyone before when they were in the hiring process. The second is the unforgettable experience of being laid off along with everyone else one week before the term was supposed to end. And the third, the third cycles back to what I’ve already discussed; the friendships made during the term. The friendships I made over the coop term were probably the best part of the coop term, and made the term worth it for me. I don’t say this often enough, but I really appreciate having the friends I do. The final term of 2016 saw me get a job at Intel, which I am very excited about (and equally nervous). After the disappointment at the beginning of the year with not being given the job in Calgary, I did something I thought I’d never do, and turned down an offer to work in Calgary for another company. So far, I don’t regret it at all, and I hope that 2017 doesn’t change that sentiment.
2016 was also a rough year for me due to several health scares within my family. It has been a mentally strenuous year, with several close family members receiving bad medical news, and even the death of a close family member. These are things I haven’t talked to anyone about, but I feel like I spent a lot of time this year worrying about the health of others. I won’t sugarcoat it, this year has been hard. If nothing else, the only thing I want from 2017 is continued good health for all those I hold dear to me. To be honest, I never thought I’d need to worry about things like this. This year has been a rude awakening to the fact that at the end of the day, there’s really nothing more important than your health. I really, really hope that 2017 is better than 2016 in this regard. We’re not kids anymore, but we’re still too young to worry about stuff like this, aren’t we? Though truly, are we ever old enough? I sincerely hope not.
Nothing in life is without its silver lining. I came to an important realization this year, one that I wish I didn’t need to come to, but will stick with me regardless. Life is painfully short. And because of that, we should live it to the fullest. So in 2017, I’m willing to try things I’ve never tried before. Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t live a very outgoing life. I want to change that. I want to do things I haven’t done before, go places I haven’t been before, and explore parts of life that remain unknown to me. Whether that means joining school teams and clubs, hitting up more concerts, checking out the GTA on weekends, getting Tinder or finally losing some significant weight and getting into shape, I need to make 2017 a year where I stop writing about these things with a whimsical, idealistic tone, and actually go out and get it done. I don’t want to use the passing of yet another year to throw around cliches, but I swear to God, I’m serious about doing all this in 2017. I have nothing to lose but time, and we have precious little of that as it is. (And with a Donald Trump presidency approaching, who even knows if any of us will be around to reflect on 2017 next year?)
I’m leaving for eight months tomorrow. My work term will end on the last Friday of April, and school will likely start on the first Monday of May. It’ll be quite a while until I meet my friends and family here again. Being home these past two weeks has really made me realize how much I miss them, and the simple life of being back home again. That being said, I know we’ll continue to be in touch. It’s a testament to the strength of our bonds that I’ve only grown closer with everyone here in Calgary since leaving for Waterloo. It’s impossible to say what the new year will bring, and I hope it’s nothing short of phenomenal (and the either the Flames or Iginla win the Stanley Cup – actually no, just Iginla). So here’s wishing for a 2017 filled with great health, wealth and prosperity for all. Happy new year!