It's March 27, 2023, and 1,279 days have passed since my first day of undergrad at the UW. I'm staring down the barrel of graduation. 76 days remained until I walk across three stages in the weekend of June 10-11, each representing part of the last 4 years of academic experience. It felt like I had to cram in everything I didn't experience in the last 14 academic quarters.
Now was a great time to let go of any reservations I had about a variety of things and start saying "yes" more.
• HONORS 496, an exercise in cramming half of my portfolio work into one quarter
• ENGR 498, co-teaching the same Engineering Design Coach leadership development class I took in autumn 2021 (full circle moment!)
• M E 402, a survey of additive manufacturing technologies and their applications in product development
• M E 478, introducing the theory and computational practice of finite element analysis
• M E 495, the last 3 credits in the Engineering Innovation in Health capstone series
feeling like a new (ra)man
March 19, 2023 | eating disorder
I first said "yes" to new foods before the quarter even started. During spring break, I spent a night in Vancouver with three of my fraternity brothers. They are particular enjoyers of all kinds of Asian food, the exact group of cuisines I've struggled with the most over my entire life. While my eating disorder has ruined many past trips with my family and friends, I had new confidence in my ability to try new foods this time, and I was determined to not let my eating disorder ruin this trip too.
Calling food "life-changing" is way overdone, but the ramen I had at Maruhachi on Vancouver's West End was legitimately life-changing. I ate multiple foods that I had trouble stomaching in the past — broth, pork, noodles, green onions — and enjoyed the hell out of them.
Since this experience, I've spent the entire quarter trying new foods for the first time, including jelly and glass noodles, pho, bánh mì, salmon, salads, and steaks. Experiencing a renaissance of food in my life for the first time, I've felt my eating disorder transform into something more manageable: food preferences. I consider a huge roadblock to my enjoyment of life, and something that I've fought back for all of college, gone.
living in concert
May 2, 2023 | subverted perspectives
On the Monday of Week 6, one of my friends (who I'd met through working at The Daily but had been growing closer to over the course of the last two years) texted me, inviting me to a concert at a small venue in Fremont where a band that I'd heard of only once, Phony Ppl, was performing... the next day. Freshman year me would've balked at this, not only because I wasn't a huge fan of concerts and because I would've thrown excuses like "I have a WebAssign for MATH 124 due five days from now and I need to start working on it". Senior year me, however, is different, aided both by now being a concert enjoyer and by having the voice in the back of my head continue to remind me that I have 41 days left in my undergrad. "I'm down."
This ended up being easily my most favorite concert I've ever been to. That's saying a lot, as I saw Travis Scott on his Astroworld tour in 2019 and saw Kendrick Lamar and Baby Keem on their Big Steppers tour last year. Instead of being pushed around in mosh pit, I got to vibe to great music with energetic people, and we got close enough to the stage to dap up the lead guitarist at the end of the show. I became a fan of Phony Ppl after this concert, and it brought me closer to someone who I only got to know well this year.
May 25, 2023 | career track
My capstone team competed in the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge last quarter, and although we had a lot of fun and made lots of good connections, we were discouraged by the fact that we didn't come away with any cash prizes. Ultimately, what swayed us to apply into the Dempsey Startup Competition was that our Entrepreneurship graduate student was required to do it as her capstone project.
What we didn't expect was this single "yes, ok, fine" to turn into making it into the 36-team Investment Round... and then making it into the Sweet 16, write a 15-page business plan, and pitch in front of seven distinguished UW-affiliated professors, inventors, and entrepreneurs... and then to making it into the Final 4, pitching again in front of founders of PitchBook, GoDaddy, Fran's Chocolates, and NanoString... and then winning 3rd place out of an initial field of 100+ applicants!
May 31, 2023 | subverted perspectives
3.5 years removed from HONORS 100, I still think saying "yes" to the University of Washington Engineering and Interdisciplinary Honors programs has been the biggest risk of my life. I got to invite many of my closest friends and colleagues to my HONORS 496 Portfolio Presentation, where I adapted my Learning Statement and Common Threads to present this portfolio through the lens of the iterative design process. I got to prove that this particular risk was more than worth being taken.