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My name is Stephen.

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Graduated, Heartfelt Appreciation

I cried a little thinking about all the great memory I had at Stanford. These would undoubtedbly be the best 4 years of my life. Thank you to all my friends, TAs, and professors who had made my experience at Stanford truly unforgettable.

Hello friends,

Happy 2018! Hope your year is off to a great start. I want to share with y'all that I have graduated.

It has been the best 3.5 years of my life. I've grown a lot, intellectually and emotionally. I had my fair share of The Imposter Syndrome. I challenged myself in areas I was too scared to try. I learned the world is much bigger than just me. I failed and picked myself up. I figured out what matters the most to me (happiness). And yes, my bike handling skill got really good 'cause my campus bike’s brakes barely worked.

It is an exceptional privilege to get a Stanford education. Every time I feel the stress of a seemingly impossible deadline, I remind myself how lucky I am to be taking classes in the most in-demand major from one of the best universities.

What I've come to appreciate even more is every friendship I've made and every experience we've had together. I’m thankful to have some of the most humble, witty, considerate, ambitious, and caring people as friends. There are so many good memories to relive. I want to highlight my favorites:

  1. First quarter at Stanford, when the urge for new connections and the unknowns of an unfamiliar environment really bonded people together. Thank you my freshmen dormmates for making my freshmen year one to be remembered.
  2. Getting involved with Stanford ASES where we miraculously put together a week-long conference for the world's top collegiate entrepreneurs. Everyone at ASES -- thank you for always being there and for creating a community where I feel truly belonged.
  3. Freshmen spring, when I started section leading for CS106 along with many other like-minded folks. It was awesome to see my students discovering the beauty of programming and applying CS in their fields.
  4. Junior spring, when the section leading coordinators trusted me enough to let me mentor new section leaders. Small group #4, you are the best! (Sorry I still suck at Karel and Graphics programs)
  5. Taking CS 224N when our project group spent late nights stitching together neural nets and scratching our heads against Tensorflow stacktrace. Yet when we got on the leaderboard we barely knew why our model worked. Friends who struggle together stay together.
  6. Junior year at Branner, bonding with three close friends over our mutual love of the Green Bay Packers, Adidas, and sleep.
  7. Selling egg tarts and BBQ pork buns to help folks get through midterms and not starve. Thanks everyone @ Stanford HKSA for all those hot pot nights, dim sum runs, and Cantonese jokes.
  8. Riding (a.k.a. suffering) up Old La Honda and bombing down the descents of Kings Rd with friends @ Stanford Cycling. Thanks for all the aero assistance, cycling friends.
  9. Hanging out with Splash Brothers where we are much better at talking about playing basketball than actually playing basketball. Now we just meme about Klay.
  10. In my last quarter, taking four of my favorite classes with some incredible people: PSYCH 1 made me think about how I think; TAPS 103 showed me the power of improvisation; CS 7 prepared me to invest wisely (did I hear crypto??); and CS 183E taught me how to lead without authority.

As for the future, I‘ll be working at WhatsApp (who would've thought?!) in Menlo Park. Don't worry, I’m still super close to Stanford, and will come visit very often!

I can't wait for the freedom and responsibilities that adult life brings. New stage in life means new priorities:

  1. Mentoring: A lot of people have helped me get to where I'm today, so I’m planning to give back as much as I can. I know a good mentor can be life-changing, so I want to use my experience to help people achieve their goals.
  2. Relationships: As an INTJ, I want to open myself up more, be more vulnerable, share more adventures, take more initiatives, and keep fostering those lifelong relationships.
  3. Cooking: Found my latest hobby! Until someone figures out how to represent taste in bits, if I can't share my creations with you in person, I will be posting photos and recipes here!
  4. Traveling: Whether it is a trip to Asia or a day in SF, I want to spend time and money on experiences, not possessions. I also realize seeing best friends can now mean a plane ride across the world rather than a lazy walk down the hall.
  5. Well-being: Sleep well, eat well, exercise well. Always a lifetime priority. :)

For those of us living in the [Stanford|tech|first world] bubble, I encourage you to take a step back regularly to consider and appreciate the position you are in. Spend time with people that you care about. Do things that make you happy. Live a good, fulfilling life that means the most to you. And don't forget to help those who are less fortunate. Sometimes a small gesture from you means the world to them.