Why I Am Taking a Semester Off to Travel

Coming into Berkeley my freshman year, I would have never thought I would be taking a break from school. I was ecstatic to immerse myself in the environment of one of the best university in the world. I was gung-ho to make it the best experience of my life.

And yet, it has only been a month since I decided I wanted to take a semester break. I took some time to think about my decision, and ultimately decided this was for the best.

For those of you who wondered why I’m making this jump, let me enumerate my reasons. Read More

How to Keep Your Friends

Table of Contents

How to Keep Your Friends

Summary

Part 1: Building a Great Network

Structural Analysis of One’s Social Network

The Environment Factor

How to Be a Good Friend

Starting with Generosity

Building Trust

Showing Gratitude

Establish Relevancy

Part 2: Planning Social Interactions

Planning a Date

On Spontaneity

Argument for 1-on-1 interaction

If you must go threesome or more

Post Date Procedures

Handing Out Rejection

Part 3: Increasing Your Collision Rate

Liking Their Facebook Posts

Offering Help

Asking for Help

Asking Them For Advice Read More

A Beginner’s Guide to Computer Science

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Intro
    1. Objectives
    2. Your Learning Curve
    Strategies
    1. The Most Important Strategy: Get Started
    2. Be Part of a Community
      1. The Mentor
      2. The Peer
      3. The Mentee
      How to Find Answers
      1. Using Your Problem Solving Toolkit
      2. Googling
      3. Ask a Peer
      4. Ask a Mentor
      Debugging Deliberate Practice and Application Tactics
      1. The Best Tool: Get Your Hands Dirty
      2. Simplification
        1. Simplification of the Problem
        2. Simplification of the Examples
        Casework Other Tactics Tools
        1. Visceralization
        2. Metaphor
        3. Exploration
        4. A Coherent Meta-Example
        The Roadmap
        1. Semester 1 – Practical Programming
        2. Semester 2 – Data Structures & Discrete Mathematics
        3. Onwards
        Conclusion References/Resources

        Intro

        Learning computer science is one of the most enjoyable experiences in human life, also one of the most frustrating. You came across this page because either you want to learn about computer science, want to learn computer science, or want a computer science job. Whatever your motivation, computer science may seem like witchery to you. Geeks use overly complicated jargon to explain concepts to you. A friend of mine, Michelle Bu (who has an amazing anecdote about being a novice programmer by the way), noted that “programmers have a perpetual competition to see who can claim the most things as ‘simple.’” Read More

Summer Hangout Proposal June 14 – June 20

Hello Friends!

Instead of posting multiple Facebook messages trying to cajole everyone to hang out with me, I’ve decided to write this post hoping people would want to hang out with me and possibly do some activities together. I have several activities listed that I will do participating, and you can hit me up if you want to join me :)

June 14

Frisbee (6:30pm -)

Come play frisbee with my high school friends and I. It’ll be fairly intense but we definitely allow newbies to join. I’ll intro you if you need one. Read More

Enough Brainwashing. Choose a College.

Note: I’m speaking from a personal standpoint. You can choose to interpret this material however you want. This is not intended to be one of those articles pitting schools against each other and comparing which one comes out on top. Everything is my opinion and my observations. Which also means that I will be speaking for UC Berkeley, and most of my generalizations is only under the assumption of UC Berkeley. Also, you don’t have to read my story, after 3 pages in, I realized it may not be as relevant or excited to you as it is to me. Jump to the reflections part if this is too long of a read. Read More

What Can You Buy With Your Meal Points?

I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I have way too many meal points than it is necessary for a first-year individual. Usually around this time of the semester I try to think of ways I could spend some of those extra points. UC Berkeley has this policy over meal points to try to promote spending in which if you don’t use all your meal points by the end of the semester, you lose the points. It’s the use it or lose it policy. Under these guiding principles, I bought a yoga mat, a coffee tumbler, several minor sports equipments and packs and packs of candy. But now that it’s the second semester and I already have every fulfillable want fulfilled (along with taking on a low-sugar diet), I’ve been finding it increasingly difficult to spend my meal points. There is a finite amount of space in my stomach. As my floormate Patrick Truong has said, “I’m just sad that the Golden Bear Cafe doesn’t sell XBox 360’s.” Read More

Rejection Therapy Day 1 – 5

Day 1: Ask someone to borrow $20

I asked with my friend, Jessica Cox. She clearly picked the right person, because I knew this woman was going to hold on to her money like a snapping turtle  (which ironically is what her face reminded me of). I don’t dislike her, I lash out when I’m rejected. I’m going to iron this fear and insecurity out as I go.

She rejected me.

SUCCESS!

Day 2: Birthday Freebies

I went to Baskin Robbins and asked the old Asian man there if I could have a free icecream cone because it was my birthday. He asked me if I had a certificate and I said no. He rejected me. Read More

Learning Log #1 — Week of 1/1

1. The Key to Being Good at a lot of Things is to be Humble

I realized this on New Years. I was reading Robert Greene’s book called “Mastery” and one of the kinds of people he cautions against are envious people. Then I thought about that thought for a bit. Then I realized I was an envious person. I tend to see my world in the form of have-not and tend to look upon higher beings with envy. I don’t think it’s healthy.

Every time someone is better than me at something, say math (from when I was back in 8th grade), I would actual make mental calculations of self-worth, and in order to protect my ego, I was weigh his have-nots as personal advantages. I would tell myself “even though he is better at math, I’m better at soccer or socializing.” Then I would look down at him while being envious of his seemly innate ability to do computations. Read More

James Maa’s Productivity Hacking Guide

Intro

So finals week is coming up, and everyone is looking for ways to be more productive in this time crunch. So I thought I could help people figure out how to make their lives more efficient and productive. People have seen my productivity hacks and they have told me I’m crazy, OCD, a workaholic, super asian, etc. I take those adjectives as a compliment and I become flattered because I never thought myself as quite that.

You see, I used to be a aimless and lazy chump. I got by day-by-day using my high school planner, writing due dates and just doing things the night before. I’m not quite sure how I spent my time or where it had gone, but it’s gone. I got by the bare-minimums. “Just do enough” was probably my life model. Read More