Category Archives: plans

What to do, what to do…

So I'm looking at a month's long "vacation" this September. Most people in the working world would probably kill for one of those. ;)

I don't feel comfortable travelling because I have some paperwork that still needs to be done. If the Canadian government says that they need more information or an interview, I want to be in Toronto and ready to deal with it. So a month-long trip to the Philippines is probably out of the question. (It'd be my third trip this year, too, and someday I'll need to either earn bucketloads of money or wean myself off expensive travels...) Hmm. Maybe short trips.

I've also asked Jane Zhang about volunteer opportunities. I might be able to help with some workshops, and Software Freedom Day is coming up as well.

You know what I want to do? I want to write a book, or at least get significantly along one. Maybe about Emacs. Maybe about social computing. Maybe about my life so far. ;) BUT I want to write a book, and I want to see it printed and bound. Who knows? If it's a book about Emacs, someone might even buy it.

I'll sit down and make a list of the gazillion things I want to do, and see if something emerges...

Random Emacs symbol: remove-list-of-text-properties - Function: Remove some properties from text from START to END.

I am going to have it all

I have decided to do extraordinarily well, and to live the fullest life I can. That means a rich and fulfilling full-time career, great friendships, probably marriage and kids, and the time and energy and finances to develop my self the way I want to.

I am going to have it all. I believe that it's possible.

Random Emacs symbol: set-window-hscroll - Function: Set number of columns WINDOW is scrolled from left margin to NCOL.

Okay! I’ve got it!

  1. Find boxes.
  2. Pack one backpack of clothes to take to NY.
  3. Pack one suitcase of clothes that I need if treating GH as a hostel.
  4. Pack everything else into boxes.
  5. Move boxes into Graduate House temporary storage (ideal), the other room (2nd option), or someone's basement (may require huge favor)
  6. Shop around for condo rentals. Don't panic; we have good backup plans.
  7. Move. Will definitely require huge favor.
  8. Throw house-warming party. Get new plates.

Random Emacs symbol: gnus-topic-sort-topics - Command: Sort topics in TOPIC alphabetically by topic name.

Short-term plans: happy with research, thinking about internship?

Mark Chignell, Gordon Lee, Julie Waterhouse and I discussed my research plan this morning. I'm really lucky to have such wonderful, wonderful mentors!

I mentioned my interest in living in San Francisco for a short while to Mark, who suggested an internship after I finish my coursework, while I'm writing up my thesis. It'd be a good idea, I think. I'd like to get a feel of the tech scene there, and I'd also like an opportunity to plunge deeply into technical stuff.

I love the Philippines, and I'm looking forward to sharing a lot of ideas with the geeks back home. I'm a lot more effective at connecting with people when I can bump into them face-to-face, so I hope to find a way to bridge worlds by spending some time abroad and some time at home.

That would be just right...

Random Japanese sentence: 猫が好きな人もいれば、犬のほうが好きな人もいます。 Some people like cats, others prefer dogs.

What do I want to do with my life?

What it is that you do? What is your core expertise?

That made me stop and think.

Effective mission statements aren't born in a vacuum. Rather, they are recognized in what's already happening.

I needed to figure out what I stood for.

I started with a bunch of index cards. I wrote keywords and phrases that appealed to me. Random stuff I'd been thinking about.

Not in order: Passion. Ideas. Public speaking. Coding. Writing. Networking. News (cool tech, etc). Productivity.

One of the cards didn't quite fit in. Even as I wrote it down, I thought to myself, "I should write this down, but I'm not really that passionate about it."

Realization #1: Even if my background is in computer science and I've been programming for as long as I can remember, programming itself doesn't make me happy unless I'm making an actual person's life better. I can't work with an abstract idea of a user. I need people with quirks and idiosyncrasies who'll be addicted to my software. I don't care about coding itself. I care about what I can do with it, and that was already part of "Productivity". I put the "coding" card aside.

Now I had a set of cards, all related to each other. I needed to find out how they were related to each other.

One word jumped out at me: passion. Realization #2: Passion makes everything else make sense. Everything fell into place around that.

I reviewed my cards, trying to see if I could classify them. My first list was speaking with passion, helping people find passion, and helping people pursue their passions.

When I tried to fit my cards into those categories, I realized that everything I wrote down applied to all of them, and that speaking with passion was part of both helping people find their passions and helping people pursue them. Realization #3: Everything I wrote down is part of both aspects of passion.

I wrote the table and posted it on http://sacha.free.net.ph/rolemodels/ .

So here's my brief mission statement, what I _do_:

I help people find their passions and pursue those passions effectively.

This is not something I came up with, but something I just recognized. I need to reflect on the relationship between my skills and my mission statement so that I'll know what I need to focus on. I also need to show how what I'm currently doing is connected to my mission.

More thoughts about home

ka edong is right. we do what we can. but coming back to the philippines? i dunno. opportunities are not as plenty in the philippines as in, say, the us, canada, australia or japan. especially in my field (chemistry). how am i expected to do science if i have to think what i'll eat tomorrow? and what of instrument and equipment? i only want to do science, and where ever there is an opportunity, i'll go there. your desire to help the philippines by going back is great. i admire that. tell me that again after five years, and i'll admire you more. -

I've heard some people can do six months in one country and six months in the other. In fact, it works quite well: skip winter, skip really hot summers... If you're important enough to a lab or company that they'll let you do that, or you run your own business, then that's very doable.

Sometimes it's not about exploring the limits of what you can do for yourself, but rather finding out how you can improve as many people's lives as possible. In the process of finding out how to apply what you know to people's lives, you might find that you can go farther and faster than you imagined.

I like computer science, but I don't want only to do computer science. I want to help people learn life management and communication skills, and technology is just a way for me to do that.

Let's use a better example. You'd think biotechnology would be something needing millions of dollars in lab equipment, right? But technopreneur Maoi Arroyo's not in some comfy lab in MIT or Cambridge. She's out there, jumpstarting the Philippine biotech industry by helping people commercialize their discoveries—while remaining hooked into the global scene, jetsetting and making deals with people overseas. Not bad for someone in her twenties.

But technology and science are different, you might argue. Science is a pursuit of knowledge for knowledge's sake. Let's look at Kendra Castillo, taking up her master's in environmental management at UP. She may not have the supersensitive equipment or the finegrained meteorological data available in other countries, but there are _real_ questions still addressable by the lab she joined. The lack of resources forces her to be more resourceful and inventive. It's frustrating to deal with incomplete data and broken equipment, but that only opens up more questions to tackle through research.

The only limits are those we set ourselves. Sure, the Philippines may not have given us much. It may not give us opportunities to be highly paid for doing exactly what we do. But the secret to success is realizing that we _make_ our opportunities. We determine our future.

I want to make the Philippines better and I am willing to devote time and effort to doing this. Just words for now. I'm naive and idealistic, perhaps. But I know older, more accomplished people who are doing just that. They're bridging the divide through their efforts. They care about nationbuilding. Through their initiatives, they create jobs and wealth and _meaning_ for people who are just waiting for opportunities to come their way.

It's not too late to discover how you can make a difference. All you have to do is try.

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コンピュータは非常に複雑な仕事を瞬時にすることができる。 Computers are capable of doing very complicated work in a split second.