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21 Views from a 21 Year Old

TwentyOneThings
Photo of my family and I in Vancouver.

I just came back from a month long trip that spanned from Washington to British Columbia to California and then Nevada. I spent a lot of time pondering my life and wondering how I ended up where I currently stand and what can I do to better my life. I carried a journal with me and wrote it in almost daily, talking about searching for what I want in my life and discussing what life is truly about. This was all from my perspective, but I found it to be very helpful. While I am not going to share everything from that journal because it is very personal, I will share twenty one views on life I came to conclusion on. I hope they inspire you and make you think the same way they made me. Sometimes you’re in a tough spot in life, and need to consider what do I need to do to help myself move forward? What are some morals or guidelines I can follow to make myself feel better? I will elaborate by how they impact me and how they can impact people in general. This is what I imagined when I wrote these:

  1. Remember you skills and acknowledge your limitations: I have a lot of limitations. There are certain things I am not able to do, and I drown myself in them sometimes. I use my limitations as a barrier to prevent me from doing things. But the truth is I need to look past those limitations and admire the skills I have and the work I am able to do. Being optimistic is always better than being pessimistic. Life is so beautiful and we all have some sort of struggles. As far as we know, we only have one life, so it is best to live it out the way that can bring us happiness.
  2. Work is more fulfilling than entertainment: Entertainment is a temporary happiness. After the entertainment is gone, that feeling of happiness from the experience is basically gone. Entertainment is not productive. It is something to do when we need amusement or enjoyment at a specific time. It is good in the sense that it gives us time to relax and spend time with people, but it is not as fulfilling as working. Working at a job, working on a project, or even working on building relationships — they all give that sense of happiness. Going to a job you love coming to everyday, working on some sort of project that is going to impact yourself or the rest of the world provides a great feeling when the project is completed, and strengthening relationships with people brings the most happiness because love is the biggest key to happiest. Without feeling that sense of love and purpose, no entertainment can permanently make people happy.
  3. Respect your elders: While I was on hiatus, I spent a lot of time with cousins and people my age. We also spent a lot of time with their parents. I couldn’t believe a lot of the disrespect people had towards people like their parents or older family members. Some of the things I saw were like calling parents and aunts and uncles by their first names and also talking back to parents and elders. In general, parents do so much for their children. The best the child can do is be thankful, learn from their parent’s mistakes, and grow up to be better human beings. Showing signs of disrespect to good parents goes a long way to showing your attitude. It tells me that you speak to anybody how you feel like despite their social status. And if one carries that behavior of disrespect, I wonder how long they would last in the professional world and be happy with themselves.
  4. Have the power to say no: If you are ever uncomfortable in a situation, just say no to it. Peer pressure is an awful experience and can cost people their lives. If you have to do something you truly hate or are afraid of just because you want to impress that person or think it will better your friendship, not only will you end up miserable but you may even break that friendship from not saying no to the experience. The best thing to do is trust your gut because you understand yourself usually more than anybody else. People that try to enforce bad experiences on you have no place in your life, so avoid those people at all costs. I’ve experienced a lot of things I regret in my life, and the biggest reason why I regret them is because I failed to say no to things I was very against. But I did them because I thought they would make that person a closer friend. Instead, it usually ends up turning into the opposite. Be yourself, it will make you happier than being fake.
  5. Save money and spend wisely: Money does not bring complete happiness, but it keeps us living well. Our economy runs on money, and having some money gives you a better mental mood than being broke. When one makes the decision to make a purchase they have to ask themselves if what they are about to buy is truly worth the cost to themselves. Depending on how much you make or have saved up, is that product truly worth how much you had to work to buy it? Are you sure you will be happy with spending money on it? After this trip, I realized that I need to start saving more, invest more, and spending less. It will go a long way to how I am feeling on a daily basis if I know I am comfortable financially. It is true that relationships bring more happiness than monetary items.
  6. Care about your image at all times: In this digital age, our face is all over the internet. One bad photo, one awful experience, or one nasty post can prevent us from obtaining the career field we want to pursue. It can also cost us a job. It is best to act as a good role model to people around you. Having people look up to is the best feeling because it gives you that feeling of importance. What you say and do inspires the community that follows you. Loosing that feeling can tamper your happiness, so it is best to be the good role model you aspire to be.
  7. Be extroverted, it goes a long way: Like I have stated before, relationships is one of the keys to happiness. When you feel that people care about you and that people are there for you, you are a happier person than someone who feels they are lonely and mean nothing to anyone. When you go out and set your mindset to form new relationships, you open yourself up to meeting more great people. These people can be good friends, connections that help you land a job, or people you aspire to be more like. This one comes with the willingness to speak up and get to know people in public.
  8. Don’t lie. It hurts: To be lied to and figure out that someone you trusted was not telling you the truth is the worst feeling. Be that person that is honest because it goes a long way to strengthening the relationships you have with people.
  9. Wake up early. It is fulfilling: I feel completely different when I wake up at 6 A.M. than when I wake up at 8 A.M. Usually I have happier days, am optimistic, and seem to make less mistakes when I wake up earlier. The opposite tends to occur when I wake up later. It is good to be on a good sleep and wake up schedule. Another reason people wake up early is because it gives them longer days.
  10. Surround yourself with positivity.
  11. Don’t be afraid to speak up: This sort of goes with #4 and #7.
  12. Always be upfront: This also goes with #8. Being honest can grant you opportunities and trust you would not get if you lied. If you are in a bad situation, continuing to not be straight forward about what is going on can also make your situation end up getting worse. Even if there are consequences, be honest about what is going on in your life if you are having problems. It can save your life.
  13. Don’t go chasing waterfalls: Spending portions of your life trying to be with people who do not feel the same way about you is not worth it. It will just make you sad in the long run. The best you can do is move forward and try to find someone else that you admire and they feel the same way about you. Here’s an excerpt from one of my entries: “When you have someone that likes you, especially one of the best human beings you’ve ever met, you should fall for that person. Especially when the person you are wanting instead is no good for you, but you just ignore it.”
  14. Think about major decisions: Every decision you make impacts your life. Be smart and be yourself when you make decisions. One bad decision can ruin the rest of your life or change you for the worse.
  15. Spend time in the now: Draining yourself in the past only makes you more depressed. The best thing you can do is be organized and work on the present. It is the time period in front of you that can go in different directions and you are in it at the moment. While it is also great to plan for the future, do not plan too much. Life can throw so many different curve-balls that the future you hoped of can turn out to be the complete opposite of what you had hoped. Long-time planning, if it goes wrong, can leave you in a bad state mentally.
  16. Care about your health and body: You only have one. Take care of it and be conscious what you put in it and how you treat it. Try to eat better, drink in moderation if you drink, and stay away from other drugs. Exercise as well because your body needs it. Would you rather experience “temporary happiness” from living a reckless lifestyle or live safely but it may be “boring”?
  17. Be optimistic: It leads to more in life than constantly thinking pessimistic.
  18. Love what you do: Work a job or career that you are passionate about. While a lot of money is nice, it will not bring you happiness if you do something everyday that you dislike. Be someone who is passionate about your career because it will make you happier in the long run.
  19. If you have a good idea, pursue it: Accomplishments give you a sense of happiness. If you have an idea for a product or business, pursue if it is wise. Don’t pump money and time into something that is going to make your life worse.
  20. Be Open to New Ideas: Be open-minded.
  21. Stick to a good set of morals. It can keep you in check, help you in discussion, and guide you to where you want to be: When you lose your good morals, you lose yourself. You give yourself a “new” set of morals that only turns you into a worse person. Be yourself and also be someone who understands their beliefs.

If you have read all of these or even just a couple, thank you. I know it is long but I wanted to share. I hope you are able to look at these views and think about them. Do you think they are good or bad? That decision is up to you and what you believe in. I have a contact page if you have questions.

-Daniel

Let’s Do This: Second Semester at UIUC

Photo

(Photo of my roommates and I first day at UIUC)

As I sit here listening to Typhoon’s new album, Offerings, and reading linear algebra notes, it feels good to be back! There may be snow on the ground and I may have left a 70 degree environment to come here, but I am so excited for this semester!

Before I dive into my reasons why, let me discuss my amazing experience over break! First and foremost, I got to see family, including my mother and sisters, and friends that I have not seen in a long time. It was great to reconnect and experience moments with some individuals that will last a lifetime in my mind. Having the opportunity to go to Southern California and Southern Nevada made my break even more happier, as I was able to experience the outdoors more, which is something I needed so much. I had a great Christmas and New Year’s Day with my family, and I thank them for inviting me over and making the holidays fun this year despite the loss of my father. Last but not least, I continued to learn, meeting connections and learning more about analytics and blockchain technology. I have been working on a beer consumption analytics application for the last couple weeks in my spare time, and it should be done soon!

So now that I have talked about my break, I am going to give five reasons why I am excited for this semester:

  1. Courses: I am taking Computer Architecture, Numerical Methods, Data Structures, Blockchain Security, and Probability and Statistics Two. I have not really been a hardware guy in my lifetime, but I feel like this course will help me develop a passion for hardware and programming components. In addition, I am excited to see how Numerical Methods will teach me more methods of computation, and I get to use Python and its glorious packages I use everyday! I am excited to learn more about Blockchain in the Blockchain Security course! While a hard course, I think that Stats & Prob Two will be interesting like the first course, and it will only help aid me in my journey to becoming a data scientist!
  2. Incorporating advice: I spoke with a few connections over break, and learned a lot of things about getting involved in blockchain, data science, and becoming a better entrepreneur. I cannot thank those people enough for the advice they have passed on to me, and it is going to go a long way to help me become a better person.
  3. Fitness & going vegan: It has taken me three attempts, but I am finally on a consistent fitness plan this time around! I am glad to get some exercise in my weekly schedule and improve my mental and physical being via the workouts I do. In addition, I am finally home, and can go completely vegan! While I am primarily doing it to improve my health, everyday I am getting more and more interested in animal protection and caring. I am apart of r/Vegan on Reddit, and it is interesting to hear some of the scary things that go on in the agricultural industry today. I believe the combination of these two things will go a long way towards making my health extremely better.
  4. Finding an internship: Now that my beer analytics application will be completed, I think that I will finally find an internship this semester for the summer! I have given reconsideration to return home to Chicago, and I do not think it will be a problem because I love Chicago in summer. It will be interesting to see whether I end up doing analytics or software engineering! Maybe I can still land something in the Greater Seattle Area, Portland, or California area, but I will be happy to return home this summer too because Chicago is a great city with great companies that provide endless opportunities. I cannot wait to learn from whatever experience I end up receiving!
  5. Experiencing opportunities: This university has so  much to offer opportunity wise, and I can not wait to take advantage of whatever I can! Whether it is doing projects for an RSO, working on a programming project with friends, relaxing to some good music, or reading a book, I cannot wait to experience these activities. I hope to finish assignments and studying sooner this semester so I can experience these things more often. It is always good to take time to wind down, and I  need to do more of that this semester.

Well if you want to start your day or end of the day off similarly to me, take a listen to Typhoon’s new album, it is the music I will share with you in this post:

Spotify Link to Offerings

Youtube Link to Offerings

Have a great day everybody!

Dan

Leaving on a Jet Plane 

(Photo Mosaic I created in my data structures course at UIUC. Go Knights!)

Wow my first semester at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is over! It had its ups and downs but overall I enjoyed my first semester.

I met a lot of great people and professors, got to experience having my own apartment, and learned a lot about technical writing, computer science theory, software engineering (especially Android), and theoretical knowledge about Probability & Statistics!

Now it’s time for winter break! I am so glad it’s here! Right now, I’m heading to the West Coast to go home and visit my family and friends. I cannot wait to relax, study for job interviews, get outdoors, and overall have a good time.

I’m currently finishing up Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella’s book, Hit Refresh, which I highly recommend. He goes into detail about how he has hit the refresh button and Microsoft when it’s time to make a change for the better. And I’m doing the same in my life as well.

I haven’t had the best health this year, and so I am also hitting “Refresh”. I’ve started following a Vegan Diet and I am on an exercise plan to help me throughout my daily life. I’ve been open to the options of Yoga and Meditation as well. It’s time for me to make the best decisions I can in my life in order to live a healthy, (hopefully long), and loving life. I really believe these things moving forward are going to definitely change my life for the better.

In addition, I have also decided to just start appreciating everyday I have with everyone and make the most out of being ready for tomorrow. I lost my dad at a young age this year (57), and some of the after effects have given me a different outlook on life.

All I can say is love yourself, live out the life you want to live, and be the person you want to be. Surround yourself with positive environments and just love everyone around you. You’ll never know when they will be gone.

Well my flight is taking off now! Have a happy holiday everyone!

I leave you with one of my favorites:

Leaving On A Jet Plane – John Denver

Thanksgiving Reflections (2017)

(Photo of Lake Washington I took in August 2017)

Wow, I have finally created my own portfolio website, and have my own domain! I have been wanting to do this for awhile now, and the day has finally occurred.

For the last almost 2.5 years, I have been in college, and it has been an all-around amazing experience. I have deepened my passion for computing, mathematics, and statistics like never before. My classes have been interesting, I have enjoyed the professors I have had, and I also enjoy the peers I have met through college.

Outside of college, I have also met other people through networking events. Before I moved to Urbana, I went to a lot of events such as Built in Brews, which introduced me to a lot of wonderful people who work in Chicago’s tech industry. I have attended programming workshops and such, where I have met many different instructors who work in the industry and have taught me a lot about data science and web development.

2017 has not been a good year for me. I’ve dealt with losing my father, struggled with health, and have had to overcome some obstacles academically. But I am still driven. I have a goal: to graduate college, move to the Seattle, WA area (hopefully), and starting providing for my family and others around me in need.

That’s why this Thanksgiving I am thankful to be alive and be able to pursue my dreams. I have learned that life is short. I have not only lost my father at a young age (57), but also many friends that passed away suddenly. Everyday, I need to make the most of it and continue to move forward and live out to be the best person I can be.

That’s why I live by the motto, “Let your love grow tall” (Thanks Michael Angelakos). I have learned to love those around me and continue to love the beauty of life. The world is so incredible despite all the negative things I see on a daily basis in the news or on the streets. Make the most of it, and I wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving. Hopefully all your dreams and wishes come true.

-Dan