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Reflections on my 4A School Term

August 04, 2018

What went well

  • I discovered a brand new interest in distributed systems! In 3 months, I

    • learned some cool topics such as RPCs, distributed processing tools, consistency models and protocols, the consensus problem, clocks, CAP
    • learned the fundamentals of Apache Thrift, Hadoop, Spark, Zookeeper, Kafka, and participated in small group projects surrounding each of these technologies
    • used Scala for the first time (which I’ve wanted to do for a very long time)
    • made sure to attend every class
  • I picked up a new hobby: running!

    • started at barely being able to run 1 km without stopping
    • after a month can run almost a full 2.5 km without stopping
    • signed up for a 5km race at the end of Sept to have a goal to attain to
  • I attended a concert (Taylor Swift’s Reputation Tour in Toronto)

    • it was smack-dab in the middle of exam season
    • still don’t know most of the names of the songs on the reputation album
  • I went fishing for the first time in a decade

    • during free fishing week in Canada (catch + release), and I only caught 2 extremely small fish
  • I secured my very last internship for my undergrad degree

    • will be working at Facebook in NYC for Fall 2018 on the Customer Insights org

What didn’t go so well

  • I was too busy with school and interviews this term that I had to drop out of acapella
  • I didn’t go bouldering a single time
  • I spent a lot of money on takeout and eating really unhealthy food because (excuses incoming) I was too lazy to cook and also because I wanted to save the time from cooking to do more productive things that never ended up happening
  • I drank a lot of bubble tea (boba) and pop instead of water because I wanted to drink something cold (and this summer was so hot in Waterloo)
  • I still don’t have a camera

I'm Robbin Xu and I'm a senior at the University of Waterloo. I worked in San Francisco, formerly eng @Square.