2022: A Year in Review

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This year was long (in a good way) and full of personal growth, especially in the latter half.

For the first half of the year though, I was finishing up high school. Eventually graduating with a GPA [I was going to find it, but then I didn't :p], 6 AP classes, and a healthy dose of hatred for the US education system. But between juggling my responsibilities as Vice President of Beta Club, Senior Class Secretary of SGA, and Chair of Debate Club, I made an actual honest effort to hang out with my friends more than ever. Before this year I hadn't ever really done anything with my friends outside of school, so to make up for lost time, I did just that as much as I could. This included hanging out with my "Away Friends" (my friends from other geographies than mine, so we don't get to see each other often) in the form of meeting up with them in my hometown. And taking a cross-country road trip.

The road trip was the turning point of 2022 for me. I flew to Washington State, then we, over the course of eleven days, drove over 3000 miles back to South Carolina. Over those 11 days, we travelled through 10 states and stayed in 5 more, for a total of 15 states visited, my favorite being Montana. Along the trip we stopped for a few days in Chicago to stay with one of my other Away Friends. During my time there I went to my first real party, and I am not a fan. I also went to my first K-Pop concert and it was actually really fun and is probably my favorite concert that I have ever attended and I don't even actively listen to that kind of music. After Chicago, we stayed in St. Louis on 4 July to see yet another one of our Away Friends before the final leg in our journey (which was an insane 700+ mile, 12-hour drive).

The trip was hands-down the most fun I have ever had in any two-week period. It was this trip that allowed me to discover just how much I love to travel, and I made something of a promise to myself that from then on, I would make my best effort to travel whenever possible while I still can. It was also this trip that cemented my plans to leave South Carolina, and more so the South in general. After seeing so much of the country, I realized just how much there is out there that is better than what have here. On my first day in Washington, I saw several queer couples just... existing, something I never see here. So altogether the trip was an amazing experience and I await the day I can do something like it again.

The second half of the year, or the post-trip portion, also brought much personal growth although in different ways than in the first half.

To begin the post-trip time, I finally had the 'oh-shit' moment about starting college. Even with the disappointment of not being accepted to any of my top choices and having to settle for my Plan C (a local university with no CS program; Plan A was top choices, Plan B was safety), I still was cautiously optimistic about the opportunities that it would offer.

My first semester got off to a great start, I was really enjoying my classes (both the content and the professors), especially my required American Government course, Political Science 101, which came as a surprise to me. Another self-surprise that happened was how my procrastination problem seemingly vanished overnight. For the first time since middle school, I wasn't procrastinating on my assignments, even turning them in way before deadlines, and surprisingly I kept this up all the way through until the end of the semester. I also got a campus job working with the special events crew, where I get to work with some really awesome lighting and sound equipment. Overall I ended off the semester with a GPA of 3.73 and well on my way to being able to transfer to Georgia Tech, my original first choice.

Also, during the second half of the year, I worked on my time management. Adopting a strategy of using iCloud Calendar religiously (which I quite like, many people seem to prefer 3rd-party calendar apps however I really value the simplicity and features of the stock option in this case), I don't see how I ever did anything without it. By using different, color-coded calendars I was able to keep track of nearly everything that I had going on at any given time, which was amazing for my productivity. Towards the end of the year I even started scheduling in time for studying, reading, and other deep work.

And I did more travelling. This time with a cousin who I usually only get to see once or twice per year. We went to Denver, Colorado, where we went hiking in the nearby mountains (and getting to see the Red Rocks Amphitheater) and explored the city. I was amazed by the availability of public transportation, and not only that, but there was quite a lot of it that was free. This came as a surprise to me as someone from the South where public transit in any form is about as common as something uncommon. But nonetheless, it was a great trip. I even got to see yet another one of my Away Friends by pure happenstance at the Denver International Airport.

After all was said and done, I had a pretty good year. There were lots of fun and interesting things that happened this year that I wouldn't change for the world. I hope that the good times continue on into 2023.