Stepback with people

“It’s Reading Week, not Spring Break”, said a professor regarding the due date of an assignment–which happens right after our one-week break (Feb 17-25). Regardless, I had enough fun meeting with and hanging out with people in the beginning of the break.

Part 1: uOttaHack

It all happened with the uOttaHacks that I had been waiting for, heart ached when I was placed into the waiting list but leaped sky high when I was accepted, eventually. Since then, I walked through the final week before the break, clearing two midterms while being eager of the event coming. And finally, it came–the wee hours that saw me boarding the bus to Ottawa.

Multiple coding projects kicked in: we started doing our chrome extension that records any articles an individual reads onto their Github-like profile, solved puzzles on Capture the Flag, and did an algorithmic challenge posted by the CSE. It was unclear on how to proceed on my part in the beginning, but after several attempt I finally got to check the skill of “building a simple chrome extension by manipulating on manifest.js” on my checklist. Once again, it’s also refreshing to witness the flair of my teammates in creating the idea of showing people that we are more than just coders when we read others’ article, and their ability in leveraging their skills to create products.

Blending into the hackathon was the pre-hacking skating on Rideau canal, which exposed my gross ineptitude compared to my peers (it’s my third time skating, oh well). Thanks to Jay (who’s currently interning at Shopify), we also got a chance to be awestruck by the employee-centered design and culture of Shopify during the visit.

Part 2: Getaway in Toronto

UWaterloo’s co-op system placed each of us in different work-study sequence, which caused a few close friends to be away from Waterloo for their internships currently. It’s second month into the term: the second month of longing for spending time with them. The combination of “Students’ Reading Week” and “Workers’ Family Day” thankfully provided the perfect combination for us to gather at the city where they work at: it’s not that far from Waterloo, after all.

It’s a short, yet well spent day. Between meals, we spent time being thrilled in escape room and creating immense laughter in board game cafe. The enjoyment came not just from the gaming itself, but also through the learning about the thoughts of others’ in doing non-schoolwork things.


School work deprived us from doing what we really feel like doing, and this term is no exception. Looking back, it’s worth thinking: how many days have I spent locking myself in my room to catch up with school and responsibilities, and not care about other things else? The break came in just handy for us to break ourselves from the monotonic routine of “class-assignment-midterm-sleep-repeat”. It’s also a great time to have a few moments doing activities, both constructive and leisure, with those people we really care in our undergrad journey, and consequently learn from them. These activities added color to my undergrad diary, and it’s therefore heartening to have these people to collectively paint this diary into a beautiful one.

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