Four Years

“Wait, it has been four years?”

The day when I waved goodbye to my parents to study in Canada on September 1, 2016 still seemed to be fresh — as if it was only last year, or even yesterday. I was in my first CS class as the professor talked about the 2016 US Presidential Election prediction; now the world is heading for another one.

It’s inconceivable to think of how much things have been embedded in these 4 years: the changing seasons that saw me dreading the winter and can’t wait for the next summer (unfortunately I still can’t stay comfortable with the Canadian winter); missing my family so badly that I couldn’t hide my excitement when I finally booked a ticket back home last summer; moving around different places every 4-8 months that I officially lost count on the money I paid for storage and moving; picking up the Canadian hobbies like skiing and skating; immersing myself in the academic rat race of assignments and exams for 7 study terms (1 more left and I’m gonna graduate!); interning in fields that span graph theory, cryptography, machine learning, finance, databases; experiencing the once-in-a-century pandemic (oh well…). All these happened in a blink of an eye.

It wasn’t like that before. When I was 8, 4 years later means I would have “levelled-up” into a teenager who could basically do many things himself and don’t have to listen to his parents (jk that’s so delusional LOL). As a kid, this turned out to be hard for me to wait for. Later in 2010, I involved in mathematical Olympiad for 4 years that culminated in my gold medal win in IMO 2014. An arduous uphill journey with unknowns on how things turn out, but the joy derived from mathematical problem solving made the time flew by without me noticing.

Perhaps it’s a wake up call for yet another reminder on how transient our lives are, that we can’t be afford to be careless and let 4 years slip away.

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