august 23, 2022.

Hello from a Tabitha who's finished her 2nd year!!! It's been an interesting ride for sure. In my opinion, this past term was filled with my highest highs and my lowest lows. I'm honestly still recovering from a brutal finals season but I feel nothing but gratitude for everything I've had the privilege of experiencing and surviving.

Allow me to elaborate on this: As I mentioned in my last update, at the beginning of the term I was struggling to adjust to fully in person classes and also dealing with something in my personal life. The first three weeks of the term were undoubtedly difficult. I used them to focus on setting up my school term routine and find a flow for managing my schoolwork while still making time for some self-care. I really fell in love with working out this term; I went to the gym pretty much every day and went on long solo hikes on the weekends. I found it was amazing for destressing and giving me dedicated thinking time to process things going on in my life.

I also finally got to experience in person university!!! There were some really fun moments, like studying in the library constantly with Mabel, actually learning and retaining information from lectures, and spontaneously hanging out with all of my friends. There were also some stressful moments, like writing midterms in STC with its insanely squeaky chairs and needing to go to the washroom in the middle of my CS251 PAC final. In person assessments were not as bad as I thought they'd be. It's kind of cool to have a shared experience like that with everyone else in a course, even though the studying did kill me. My finals schedule this term was a violation in my opinion. I had 3 finals in 48 hours and I genuinely felt like a zombie whose life-blood had been drained at the end of it all. I think I slept 13 hours when it was all over...

I'm really thankful for my family and friends for always being there for me during this term. I really appreciated their compassion and support when I was stressed and frustrated with everything I had to get done. I felt especially grateful to live at home and eat home-cooked meals and hear words of encouragement from my parents. The stories they told me of their university struggles were relatable and comforting.

Overall, it was a good term and I'm not dreading another school term too much. I'm a little anxious about the upcoming job search but I think this break has been refreshing and a good refuel for my motivation. I'm super excited for my trip to Vancouver in a week! I'll be sure to update soon.

may 22, 2022.

Hi! I am back after an embarrassingly long hiatus. Since I last wrote, I completed 2.5 terms, which is pretty insane. I'm now almost done my second year! So let's recap what's happened since:

Spring 2021 Term (1st Coop):

I spent my first coop term virtually at BDO's Oakville office, under the Technology Consulting team. I worked on a few projects throughout my time there. Some were client facing, like when I assisted in filling out a ton of forms for a project related to the Canadian Government, and some were internal tools, like a resource allocation planner custom-made to fit the company's needs. I think my biggest takeaways from this coop were not necessarily related to technical skills, but much more people focused. This was my first ever paid job, so I had to learn a lot about what the workforce is like! I got to see how the software development life cycle operates firsthand and I got to network and learn from coworkers with vastly different experiences than mine.

This was also my first "break" from school since the fall, so I took advantage of my free time and went out a lot more. I had plans every weekend and met a ton of new people. I will always look back at this happy summer with love!

Fall 2021 Term (2A):

This was an interesting term FOR SURE. Unfortunately, all my classes were still online, but I did have some tutorials that were in person. I went on campus 2-3 times a week and started to get a taste of what "normal" university life was like. In terms of academics, this term was difficult for me, but I felt refreshed after my break and I was able to handle things much better since I'd had more experience at this point. Being surrounded by my friends and changing my study environments up also really helped me.

During this term, I started rock climbing somewhat regularly and I visited the gym a few times as well. However, since it was a school term, I didn't as much time to enrich my personal life as I did during my coop term. I was also slightly stressed about job searching for my next coop, but I was super lucky to get some solid offers in the first round. Having a "choice" for the first time felt really affirming! I knew I'd worked hard for my interviews and done well in them, but having more than one offer really solidifed the feeling that I was doing something right.

Winter 2022 Term (2nd Coop):

Last term, I worked as an SRE/DevOps developer at RBC. This job really took me out of my comfort zone since I had basically no knowledge on what SRE and Devops was before I started. A definition on Google's website definitely didn't prepare me for the complicated pipelines and technologies that I'd have to quickly learn. It felt overwhelming for a the first half of my coop, but after some conversations with friends and my manager, I understood what was expected of me and focused more on learning, and less on how much I was delivering. I also made a really good friend through this coop, which made the remote work much less lonely. At the end of the term, we went in person to the office in downtown Toronto. It was right on Harbourfront and it was amazing meeting people on my team in person.

Since it was a work term, I made a point to develop some hobbies and work on incorporating healthy habits into my life. I'm really proud of the progress I made during this term. I read 35+ books (I blame this on how convenient ereaders are), worked out 4-5 times a week, played a lot of Pokemon GO, and I now have a really consistent morning and night routine. I managed to make some really effective diet changes that have left me feeling much more energized and a lot less bloated.

I also took a course over coop for the first time. I took CO250 (Introduction to Optimization), which is a CS/BBA double degree requirement. This was a DIFFICULT course and I'm so glad I took it over coop. I was fighting for my life studying for the final, since it was my first in person university assessment ever! I'm proud to say that I passed the course and don't have to drop out of BBA, LOL.

NOW: Spring 2022 Term (2B):

I'm back in school now and so far, the term is going well. My course load is not too bad since I took CO250 last term. I also don't have to job search right now since my next term is also a study term. All my classes are now in person, which is so different. I'm travelling between the two campuses daily and meeting new people in my program. I'm so glad that things are really opening up and that I'm getting the traditional university experience, even if the experience is waking up super early to go to Starbucks and grind out an assignment due in 3 hours.

I have to be honest and say that my head hasn't totally been in the game. In my personal life, I'm going through a difficult time and I've been putting a lot of my energy into adjusting. I'm proud of myself for how I'm handling everything, I've focused on challenging myself daily and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I'm running after busses on my own, going to the weight floors at the gym alone (even though they are SO scary), and I booked a solo trip to Vancouver at the end of August! It's only up from here :)

So yes, that is my update on what's been going on in my life since I last wrote. I'm excited for the future and feeling more open than ever to all kinds of opportunities. I'll do my best to update more frequently, so I guess I'll see you soon!

july 14, 2021.

Hellooooo!!! I was reminded that this website exists (oops) and thought I'd drop by and add an update. I'm doing pretty well: getting lots of rest, going out more with friends, and spending time with family. Everyone in my family and all my close friends are now fully vaccinated which is so exciting. I'm pretty amazed at how quickly Canada turned things around since initially we were thinking we'd get our second doses sometime between late August and mid September. I'm really hoping everyone will do their part and get vaccinated so we can move on from this pandemic.

Work is also going well! I was moved on two different projects for a bit and while the other project wasn't as related to my role as I'd hoped, it was still a super valuable experience that taught me a lot about workplace communication. I'm happy to be back on a more traditional project now and I'm chugging along helping with writing requirements and testing. My work life is pretty solid :)

Overall, not much of a big update but I AM super excited for this Saturday since I'm heading to Elora with my best friends. We're gonna walk around the town, check out the farmers market, go canoeing, and then enjoy the quarry! I'm hoping the weather will be nice and we can take cute photos together. HAPPY SUMMER EVERYONE!!!

may 13, 2021.

Hi all!!!! I'm now almost 2 weeks into my co-op job! It's been really nice. I'm loving the fact that I can clearly separate work from rest and put down my projects at the end of the day. My coworkers are all super nice and helpful, and I feel like I'm learning a lot about the business and technology world! Today was a really nice day: my coworker told me I was doing "excellent work", I got taco bell for dinner, my parents booked their vaccine appointments (YAY!!!), and I went for a walk to enjoy the beautiful weather. I'm really excited for the weather to continue to improve. The last academic year was really hard on my mental health, especially with COVID since it felt like I was constantly working and not resting. I felt like university was supposed to be work hard play hard, but it really felt like I didn't get to play at all. I feel the happiest I've felt in a while. I have an amazing support system (love you besties!) and I'm really grateful that I live so comfortably even amidst a global pandemic. I guess this entry is mostly an update on what I've been doing and how I've been doing. Thanks for reading hehe :)

february 13, 2021.

I write bearing AMAZING NEWS!!! I've been hired!!!! I'll be working at BDO on their Technology Consulting team. I'm so excited and so grateful and SO relieved. I was truly shocked when I opened up my rankings on the 11th and saw that they ranked me 1... Genuinely didn't see that coming since I didn't think my interview went THAT well... My BFF Mabel also got ranked 1 for a web dev position at Genesys Laboratories so we're both super stoked. Now we just have to get through the rest of this term...

january 31, 2021.

Hi!!! I write bearing good news:). I've gotten some interviews (not a crazy amount but definitely more than I expected?) and things are looking up. I find myself pretty anxious over technical questions but decently confident in answering behavioural questions; I think DECA has prepared me well (thanks Mrs. Campbell). I'm really hoping to end this job search soon since I don't love the idea of going into Cycle #2. Then again, these things aren't really under my control, but I'll try my best to kill my interviews.

I actually just completed a hackathon today and my project won the "Warm and Fuzzy" superlative! It's basically an award given to the project that radiates the most ~feel good~ vibes. You can check the project out here. I have another hackathon next weekend (UOtta Hacks) and I'm honestly really excited. Hackathons are so helpful for motivating me to learn and explore new skills without fear of failing. I'd like to learn some React, Node.js, or app development in the future! I'll write again soon!

january 21, 2021.

Hello friends. I'm eagerly awaiting news for interviews but I'm feeling kinda discouraged. I finished a bunch of assignments yesterday and I have more that I need to start today, but it's hard to find the motivation to keep pushing constantly. I definitely do find little moments where it feels worth it and I am proud of my accomplishments so far, it's just that the road ahead looks really, really, really long. I've actually changed a lot of my habits this term and it's amazing how much it's helped.

Tabitha's General Routine:

08:30 - Wake up, make bed, get ready for the day
09:00 - Eat breakfast (usually oatmeal)
09:30 to 11:30 - Attend classes (synchronous or asynchronous)
11:30 to 13:00 - Lunch
13:00 to 16:00 - Attend classes (synchronous or asynchronous)
16:00 to 18:00 - Call friend and work
18:00 to 19:00 - Dinner
19:00 to 21:00 - Call friend and work (reprise)
21:00 to 22:00 - Parent mandated family time
22:00 to 00:00 - Do classwork
00:00 to 00:30 - Wind down time/sleepy time

This schedule has actually done so much for me. Obviously, I'll get distracted here and there and I'll make modifications when necessary, but the structure has helped me manage my time better and reverse any nocturnal habits. I feel a lot better about my own productivity and I've been much more proactive in starting assignments early. The program's rough but being organized makes it more manageable (along with an absolutely EPIC friendgroup).

Anyway, I guess I'll give an update if/when I get any interviews, but for now I could use your thoughts and prayers. Peace out for now!

january 14, 2021.

AHHHHHHH I'm currently in the midst of my very first co-op job search!!! I swear it's consumed my life to the point where it's the first thing I think of when I wake up and the last thing I think of before I fall asleep. I'm pretty sure that right before slipping out of consciousness last night I was muttering to myself that I need to "show them I have potential" on my resume. Every time I go on LinkedIn I'm just reminded that there are so many equally (if not WAY MORE) qualified people who are also searching for a job right now. I hope everything works out, but I guess all I can do right now is try my best. I've got to keep working on my resume (and my other school work too oops) but I'll check in again after applications are due (the 19th!!!). WISH ME LUCK!

january 7, 2021.

Happy New Year! Actually, I don't know if this year is deserving of an exclamation mark. Despite the initial hope that 2021 would be different from 2020, it's been the same, if not worse. Yesterday's news (the attack on the US Capitol) left me in shock and anger. To me, what was most jarring was the blatant hypocrisy in the response to the riots. I am certain that if it weren't for their skin colour, these rioters (actually, it is equally fitting to call them terrorists) would not have been able to go home without a scratch. I konw my feelings cannot compare, but I can't even begin to imagine the hurt that POC in the United States must have felt knowing that these people were destroying property, fighting against law enforcement, disrupting work, and GETTING AWAY WITH IT. It also angers me that taxpayers will have to pay to repair the damage created, money that could have gone to fund COVID-19 efforts. However, I still have hope that the upcoming transition of power will bring better things for the future.

I think that through this pandemic, my life has slowed and I've been paying much more attention to the world around me. I've spent much more time developing my own opinions by reading and learning about the experiences of others. I've also been allowing myself to feel all the rage, happiness, and shock that comes with our society and how it functions. In isolation, I think there is a lot of room for growth and self-discovery. It's easier to be introspective or retrospective when there's nothing to distract you, no excuses to keep you busy.

As I'm trying to make the most of my last few days of break, I've been clinging onto nostalgia. I don't want to sound pretentious, but I think listening to old Taylor Swift albums, mulling over moments in past relationships, and going through childhood photos have helped me see more of the big picture in my life. I'm filled with anxiety over my 1B term: I'm anxious that I won't be able to find work and pay tuition, anxious that this pandemic may affect my family and friends, anxious that the pandemic may never end, and of course, anxious that I'm not smart enough to do well in my overloaded term. But I find peace in the traces of my past self... like a small voice telling me I've gotten through everything before, and I will get through everything to come. I see so much in the past version of me who pored over the lyric booklet in the Speak Now album, the version of me who turned breakup drama into motivation, and the version of me who was elated to get into the program she thought was a stretch for herself. I guess looking at who I was in the past gives me hope for my future, because I am the same girl who did all of those things and who will go on to do more.

december 24, 2020.

Welcome to my blog! I initially thought about creating a Medium account, but perhaps I'll do both? Anyway, it's Christmas Eve and I just checked my marks for 4/5 of my classes in my 1A term. My marks were pretty much where I expected them to be (if not better), but I still can't help but feel a bit underwhelmed. Maybe it's the pandemic impacting my feelings, but I guess this whole first term just wasn't what I had hoped for. I feel a bit numb, a bit amazed that I'm in university in the first place, and so, so tired. Next term I anticipate that I'll have to do all my classes online, so I imagine the fatigue I feel from self-directed learning and Zoom/Teams calls will only be more intense. Do things feel a bit bleak? Yes. But will I survive? Also yes.

It's been a nice two days since my last final. I drove on the highway for the first time in over a year today. It felt like the tires on my car were on the verge of flying off, but other than that it went smoothly.