Molded Into Life

What did you do this past week?

This past week has been a lot of writing, programming, and thinking. I’ve been very blessed to have the opportunity to be a blogger for UTCS, and due to recent events, I’ve thought a lot about my life and a lot of things that happened. Though I am not able to share everything, I have put a little instance of it in my blog post here.

As for programming, I was unable to spend a lot of time on the SWE project last week due to a lot of opportunities and stresses (as I talked in my previous post), so this week has been a lot of studying in Flask, creating API endpoints, and catching up on a lot of things that I wasn’t able to absorb for the project. I’ve found that I didn’t really steward my time too well last week due to studying a lot for exams, so finishing up the SWE project was pretty stressful.

As being part of the back-end team, though our job is just to create the API and sort/filter data, we are a pretty huge behind-the-scenes component for the project. We take all the data that the database team populates from the group of APIs we use and return it in a readable, usable format for the front-end team to populate and place onto our website. It was pretty stressful having to create an API in 4 days, especially with our bug in deploying our website and API to GCP. We kept on getting Import Errors for our Python dependencies over pycopg2, but it turns out that we didn’t follow the specific framework tutorial that GCP had hidden in their documentation, and left out one simple “authentication” variable in our .yaml file. Even though the week has ended, we’re still facing some problems with the website, but I’m sure we’ll be able to finish it. We’re facing some problems with React, but I’m sure we’ll fix it and finish it over this weekend.

Honestly though, this week has been a lot of thinking. I’ve had to consider a lot of things about myself and my life do to many events that’ve happened. One of the biggest questions I ask, in a general form, is “is it worth it?”. There are a lot of things that I do in my life, or try to do, and these past two weeks, I’ve found that I’ve definitely overloaded myself on my studies, extracurriculars, and responsibilities. I have this hope to be the best at everything I do, such as communicating with others, learning all the nitty gritty aspects of coding, and setting up meetings to talk to people and trying to take care and get to know other people in my life. Unfortunately, with this goal in mind, I’ve found that I’ve spread myself very thin on ice, and it’s really brought a lot of repercussions to my health and actual responsibilities. Because of bad stewarding of time for the past month, I’ve had to pull an all-nighter of not sleeping in order to work on a project and finish a short story. Additionally, I’ve had to take time sporadically in order to work on deadlines for my blog commitment, proctoring job, and church activities. I’ve canceled so many things I initially planned, and, regrettably, felt at ease when other people cancel an event, extend the start time of events, or give me leniency over meetings in order to take time to finish commitments that I technically should’ve worked on throughout the week.

I’ve really found a lot of grace by people, and I’m really glad for the friends and people I’ve been able to walk through these past few weeks in my life. I’ve been challenged in my faith, and I’ve grown a lot in learning a lot about myself and others, and it’s really helped me see more of the value of certain things in life, such as relationships, quality time, and issues/passions in this world, over other things, such as grades, the hard-life competitiveness of college, and filling in the mold that I feel others expect of me to grow into. I’ve found that there is a lot that I can believe in goal-wise, and try my best in order to attain these desires (which is great), but I’ve found that there’s a lot of learning over what I hold true for my values.

I’ve held deeply an idol over the grades I earn in my class, and they have definitely constricted me and made me consider and devalue who I am as a person. But after thinking about it, I don’t think I should let a letter/numerical grade define who I am. Sure, I think it’s a good way of telling me that I’m not doing something right or well in my life, and it’s a great opportunity for improvement, but to allow it to control my every move and snatch away my chance of learning and living out life in the true way I want would just be wrong. I’m hoping as day by day passes, I won’t be brought down by the grades that I receive, or the comparisons I encounter between other people, but I will find greater joy in the chances I get to grow more and understand who I am as a person, and take every chance I get to improve and develop so that I can be the best person I can be, not only for myself, but for others.

What’s in your way?

Creating test cases, and working with conflicts of interest.

For my proctor job, I have to make test cases for the last project. Though it is not hard, it takes a lot of time, so I’m definitely planning on allotting some time in order to finish that up.

Additionally, for the SWE project, no offense to my students who somehow read my blog, but I had a lot of OOP kids come to me in the lab to ask questions over their project. I don’t mind helping out students, but I was in a really stressed/tense moment in trying to finish up my own project, so it didn’t help that I had to make a lot of context switches in my brain to help others. Don’t get me wrong, I really love helping my students in their projects, and going through the thought process of how to do the project, but when my commitment as a proctor clashes with my commitment to my team members in a project where their grade depends on the work that I do, it’s really hard for me to be able to discern well how to traverse through that moment, since I love to help people, but at the same time, I have my own work to finish up. I’m probably going to just address it with my students and just ask that they don’t abuse the readily availability they have of me when it’s crunch time for both of us.

SWE Impressions?

I will admit, I’m struggling right now for the class. Not to say that learning is hard, but there is a lot of uncertainty that comes from working on a group project and developing on a platform with a variety of software products that may or may not work depending on how you mash them all up together. I believe a lot of this struggle comes down to bad communication, within a team. I feel that there was a lot of things that we did well, such as creating clean and nice static front-end pages, making really efficient programmatic calls to fill up the database, and providing an API with stellar documentation, but there are things we could’ve addressed more as a team in order to clean up obstacles that we would’ve faced in the future as a group.

I am not saying that I hate my group. I really love the team I work with, and I feel we have really good chemistry all together. But I do believe, after an analysis over the things that have happened these past few days, that we’ve all found fault at something, if not just a little, and hopefully we will take heart and learn from what we encountered and overcome.

What will you do next week?

I will try and not overload myself with work. Though there is no promises, I will definitely plan to manage my time more accordingly so I can do more things as well as getting sleep. There will probably be a lot of preparation for UT’s Music Hacks, as well as assorted readings and Project 3 for SWE, which I’m sure our group will definitely tread careful and efficiently through.

I will also be doing a lot of prayer so I can meditate on God’s truths, read a lot of the short story assignments given, and finish up the tests that will be given to my students for their final project!

Tip of the Week

There are a lot of things going on in this world, man people to meet, and things to read. I hope to help you on at least one of those through this tip, through articles, tips, and things I’ve found good/fun. Here are a couple:

Written on April 8, 2017