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Colaboratory and Straddling Midnight

December 8, 2017

Author: Bianca Yang
Email: ipacifics@gmail.com

I don’t normally code in Jupyter notebooks because I prefer the flow of coding directly in vim, in my terminal. But, if I’m going to share that code with other people for a school assignment, I tend to use Jupyter for compatibility and ease of reading. I used Jupyter this term a lot for collaborative assignments and eventually wanted a Google Docs like coding environment for Jupyter. A quick search revealed that Google had created exactly that tool. This tool functions just like Jupyter with Python 2, and you can integrate with Google Drive to load in datasets for analysis. My only hope is that Python 3+ support gets released soon.

There have been several times over the lifetime of this blog where I’ve started a post on x day and then finished it on x + 1 day. This is more out of accident than out of my needing that extra time to gather my thoughts. What will typically happen is that I’ll find inspiration for a topic halfway through the day, start a doc so I won’t forget about it later, then work on other things for the rest of the day. By the time I get back to the unclosed Google Doc tab, midnight has already struck and the carriage has turned back into a pumpkin.

This problem is pervasive and you probably recognize it as bad time management and lack of discipline. Most of my friends who’ve seen my schedule know that I’m “busy”. I’ve got red boxes labeled with things like “CS 121”, “Pick up package”, “Go to work”, covering the working hours of most days. Because I seem so busy, they all think it near impossible that I have time to accomplish most of my weekly objectives and fulfill my responsibilities to various campus groups. The truth is, I don’t fulfill most of my objectives. I let lots of things slide, like going to class, and meeting deadlines, and checking in with speakers for events I’m leading and working on homework at certain times. I’ve got so little discipline that my schedule is almost more of a reminder sheet. Each event is just a reminder that I should be doing x at y time. Only a select few events are non-negotiable in my participation and commitment.

I’ve known about my discipline problem for a long time, and I know long-term commitment is a huge determinant of success. I’m determined to change, because I know just how much could get done if I actually stuck to a strict schedule. At the same time, I wonder about what I actually want to achieve in life. I don’t know which path I want to go down. I have things laid out while I’m in school, but once I start thinking about my career, my mind’s eye wants to capture my entire future in one grand plan. It’s too much to handle, so I tend to shy away from thinking about what I’ll do after college. Grad school is a possibility, but taking the GRE, aka college SAT, sounds exhausting and stupid, and grad school seems limiting. The entire point of grad school is to get really good at one very specific thing. You’d better be sure you like that thing. I also don’t want to become that technically minded PhD who gets dragged into finance because that’s the only thing that pays well. I also don’t want to become the PhD who works on optimizing Google Docs latency rather than on something that’s relevant to my thesis and interests, though maybe I’ll later come to love optimization problems.

Vaguely, I want to live a life that I’ll be proud of. But being proud of my life isn’t just a me problem. I also want the people around me to be proud of my life. I’m not very attached to a life of fame, but I think it would be nice to be acknowledged by a wider audience. Maybe I just want to actually be good at something. Then I would deserve wider recognition. And here I am again, back at the need to work hard and be disciplined, because without those ingredients, I will always be mediocre. Time to stand up and take responsibility for my life. I want to be great, so I have to make myself great. Here I go.

Contact me at: ipacifics@gmail.com