April 2024

Public speaking, hackathons, and more!

Hello, world!

I can’t believe it’s already May… oh man, time flies so fast. But the weather is finally looking beautiful! Lots happened in April, so enjoy the read. Coming up:

  • Public Speaking: Sharing My Journey Through Education

  • Winning the Toronto Raptors Hackathon

  • Wrapping up a Data Analytics Certification

Public Speaking: Sharing My Journey Through Education

Every year, my school board (PDSB) hosts a Principal and Vice-Principal Promotion Celebration at the HJA Brown Education Centre, the central board office. On April 27, I spoke to the newly promoted leaders at this year’s event about my experiences as a student and what has helped me thrive in my academic education and personal development.

It was an absolute blast! I learned so much across the domains of public speaking and coaching (thanks Mr. Krstovic and Ms. Kim for all your incredible support!) and met some amazing new people. Perhaps most importantly of all, every time I do something intimidating like this, I become so much more comfortable with taking risks and stepping out of my comfort zone, which opens so many doors to meeting lots of awesome new people and more fun opportunities to learn and grow. It’s quite the snowball effect.

Winning the Toronto Raptors Hackathon

On April 13, I attended the BridgeTO Youth’s Toronto Raptors Hackathon at the OVO Athletic Centre! For the first half of the day, we went behind the scenes to see a bunch of awesome sports technology. Something that really stuck out to me was getting to experience AR and VR for the first time in my life! It was absolutely crazy, I have no doubt that I'll get my own Meta Quest soon.

Raptors championship trophy with some friends.

Lunch break.

The second half of the day was a design-athon. It was a hectic, fast-paced few hours of ideation with a team of ten, and we came up with a holographic system to bring the atmosphere and energy of watching a game live and in-person to local community centres and parks around the world. When it came time for the two-minute elevator pitch to a panel of judges in a conference room packed to the brim with people, me and two other amazing teammates aced the execution! We came first place, winning tickets to a Raptors game in next year’s season, alongside loads of swag. Honestly, my favourite part was probably all the amazing friends I made throughout the day.

The conference/presentation room.

Wrapping up a Data Analytics Certification

On April 24, after two months of consistent effort, I finally completed my Google Data Analytics Professional Certification. I'm just one of 200 students sponsored by my school board to enroll in this certification program for free! The eight courses have given me a new way of thinking about data and confidence in solving real problems with data-driven decisions. Thanks PDSB for this awesome opportunity!

Some other smaller things

  • I've been doing a lot of exploration on how machine learning works under the hood, namely through Andrej Karpathy’s “from scratch” series and Jeremy Howard’s “practical deep learning for coders” course

  • I’ve been playing around with running local LLMs on my computer with llama.cpp

  • I've been watching a lot of content from YCombinator and I'm even more intrigued by the idea of startups. Before, I always thought of it as sort of a “cool” thing that cool people did, and to be honest, I wanted the recognition that came from being able to say, “hey, I'm part of this entrepreneurial community too!!” But I think I’ve started to understand what startups really are at their essence. This authentic talk by Michael Seibel was quite eye opening.

  • I just finished the Grind75 leetcode list (check out my leetcode profile)

  • I’ve tinkered around with the MERN stack (see the “Book Inventory” in my portfolio)

  • I started this blog! After writing my first LinkedIn post, I realized I wanted to tell the world more about what's going on in my life. However, LinkedIn caters towards a resume-like platform with some networking functionality, and Twitter is for very short form content, so choosing to write on a blog just felt natural. By sharing what I’m doing, I hope that others with similar interests will be able to find me, since I really love meeting new people (feel free to reach out to me on any of my socials)! Also, it's an interesting practice and opportunity to reflect on what I've been up to, what’s worked really well and what hasn't, and figure out what direction I want to steer my future. I'm planning on hopefully turning this into a regular thing, perhaps once every few months.

What’s next?

Lots of hackathons are coming up in May! Midterms are over, meaning that high school is basically done since the midterm grades were the last round of grades that universities will consider when making offers. That means I’ll have a lot more free time in the upcoming months for exploration, reflection, and meeting new people (feel free to send a “hello” my way at any of my socials on my website!). I'm stepping into a new chapter of my life with the freedom and responsibilities that come with adulthood and university, so I'm hoping to use this intermittent free time to figure out what I love doing and how to do more of it!

This will hopefully be the first of many updates on my life. Click the button below if you'd like to tag along for my journey. See you around :)


or to participate.