The title rhymes. Cool. My shift to college was, admittedly, less cool.

I arrived at Terry Hall on Friday, September 20th, 2019 with starry eyes and a rapidly beating heart. I had finally made it to college, even if it was an in-state college 30 minutes away from the town where I had spent the last 11 years of my life.

​I realize now that getting here was half the battle.
CHEM 142, the first quarter of weed-out general chemistry classes required for most STEM majors
HCDE 210, a seminar/studio combo class exploring what the buzzword-loaded term "human-centered design" really means through experiential projects (got to draw and design a lot in this class and that's awesome)
HONORS 100, the required introductory class to the Interdisciplinary Honors curriculum at UW
GEN ST 199/ENGR 101, a 2-credit combo of a discussion section and a seminar required for UW College of Engineering freshmen 
MATH 124, the first quarter of weed-out calculus classes required for most STEM majors, this one being focused on derivative calculus
how the hell did i get here?
October 7, 2019 | subverted perspectives
I feel like I'm not the only one on campus who swore to themselves, back in high school, that they would never go to the UW. For me, going out of state for my engineering undergrad felt like an inevitability, given not only that I was a high-achieving full-IB student but also because moving around had become a norm for me in my life. I lived the first 7.5 years of my life in a different country, and in my time in America, I've gone to school in 4 different high school feeder patterns. However, I still ended up here, especially after circumstances both here and with my other college choices fully unfolded themselves. (Quick piece of tea: UCLA's financial aid department misgendered me in a clear copy-and-paste response to a question I had sent them. Nice.) The essay below was a sort of an organized brain-dump I wrote for the first assignment given in the HONORS 100 class I enrolled in for my first quarter of college, trying to sort through how I got here.
rapid(ly improving in) paper ui prototyping
October 8, 2019 | interdisciplinary design
Creativity is often thought of as an innate skill that cannot be improved upon, let alone fostered in the first place—one is either creative or they're not.  I thought the same way coming out of a two-year intensive design course I took in high school (IB Design Tech. HL) and seeing critiques not exactly improve my creativity. However, there is an idea that something called creative confidence exists and is a primary driving force in growth of creativity in someone. The Interaction Design project I did as part of my HCDE 210 class this quarter not only helped me explore something that I was interested in (I spent a lot of time in elementary school cutting out phone-shaped pieces of paper and drawing out user interfaces for apps on them), but also helped solidify my confidence in my creativity and my sketching skills, as I received "distinction" (special honors) from the instructional team on this assignment. The video below is a 90-second overview of the prototype I made as part of the assignment.
This prototype was made in an app called Marvel. I have posted the full prototype here; feel free to play around with it by clicking in the various hot areas on the phone screen displayed on the site.
an encounter with dwight—i mean, rainn
October 18, 2019 | subverted perspectives

I'm a proud The Office (the American version) hater. I've only seen three episodes out of the first season, and I could barely make it through those because of the frequent recurrence of practical jokes and cringe-humor that was too painful for me to sit through. However, hating Rainn Wilson, who plays Dwight Schrute on The Office, is not something I can get behind. Wilson not only spent some time at UW in his early years before his acting career took off, but he is also part of the Baha'i Faith, and outwardly so. The UW School of Drama and the Baha'i Club on campus collaborated to invite Wilson on campus, and he gave a talk on October 18 about on his media ventures and how being part of the Faith has influenced his life and his work. After a Baha'i friend of mine invited me to the talk, I happily obliged and stood in a line that snaked through the entirety of both floors of Kane Hall to get into the auditorium where the talk was being held.

Through the previous few days, I had a question burning in my head. Being someone who wants to work with making and pitching products that people can use in the future, which involves both engineering and entrepreneurship considerations, I've often wondered how one can keep ethics at the core of their work when profit is ultimately part of the equation of working in this world. I want to figure out how I can practice engineering and entrepreneurship for social good... but I also have to have enough money to raise a family, and sometimes, those two things don't overlap much. When Wilson touched on how he had to balance his drive to do social good through acting with the need to work to earn money, I decided to ask him how he balanced those two, but not before deliberating whether I should ask this seemingly simple question for a solid ten minutes, sweating buckets in my seat. After asking, I realized I wouldn't have had the confidence I have now that allowed me to ask this question standing up in an audience of over 700 to a famous actor. It boils down to me realizing how much doing DECA, FBLA, Model UN, and a bunch of other things that made me go out on a limb and speak a lot in high school contributed to my growth as someone confident in my ideas.

The answer he gave me wasn't as captivating as my feelings were in the moment. It essentially amounted to two sentences on "keep thinking about it that way" rather than his personal perspective on it. I might have scared him off or something. That's fine, though, because I'm happy I got the words out. Sometimes, that's all it takes.
Right: A photo taken by a friend of mine of me in the process of asking The Question. (excuse the low-res picture)
dealing with certain uncertainty
November 24, 2019 | academic excellence

Another month, another organized brain-dump. This time, as part of the final assignment for the HONORS 100 class, I took time to think about my first quarter at the UW and what I had managed to succeed in/had not managed to succeed in. Just like Seattle winters, this quarter contained a lot of dark and a little bit of light. The presence of this little bit of light gives me motivation for the future, however—I have not tapped out.
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