Summer In The City and A Summer-y of This Year
Jul 1, 2017 • Matthew Wang
~ 10 minute read • 1943 words
Summer is a great time for most kids. School is over, the weather is (somewhat) nice, and there are tons of fun things to do. And for me, it’s similar, but different. In this post, I’ll just talk about what I’m doing for the summer, as well as some thoughts on this academic year. For all 2 of my readers, you’re going to be in for a fun time.
Summer In The City
Man, that was an unoriginal subtitle. But it’s true. This summer, I’ll be in the city doing 2 different “organized” jobs, and working on little side projects. I’m working as a camp counsellor at Debate Camp Canada, which is super cool: I love working with kids and seeing them improve their public speaking and critical thinking skills, and I also love debate. Plus, I’m super excited to see if the next Dasha/Naomi is at this year’s debate camp. Who knows?
I’ve also already started an internship as a software developer at AudioNotch. They’re a SaaS company that creates custom notched music files to treat people with tinnitus. I’ll be helping them with making an entirely new mobile app, as well as redesigning their website and possibly their design style. I’m already super excited working with them: I’ve learned a lot about business, startups, SaaS, and even life. Sounds a bit cheesy, I know.
I also have a few side projects that I’ll have to work on: fixing up the WAC Documentation and Website (and apparently redesigning the registration system?), redesigning Paleta so it becomes more useful, OMUN Background Guide, Delegate Package, and website work, putting together a curriculum for DMCS, fixing Fair Chair so it works properly, and maybe learning a few things along the way. I’m not super confident that I’ll be able to do it all, but a man can hope.
Development Program 1
This summer marks the end of IB1/DP1, the first half of the IB’s Diploma Program. To be quite honest, this year hasn’t been great for me academically, or in extracurriculars. I ended up striking a bad balance between overbearing extracurriculars cough WAC cough and school work, and as such both took a hit. I didn’t do as well in debate as I wish I had, and going into next year I’m not super satisfied in my academic or extracurricular positions.
Academically, HL Math/Physics have been remarkably tough. I think with Math, I honestly didn’t put enough time into the course: it’s the first time in a long time that I’d have to try hard in Math class, and I never really learned that skill this year too. Combine that with debate tournaments and MUN conferences every weekend, and I was kinda boned. HL Physics was a similar story: an empire called WAC struck back between January and March, and in those three months I’d had the worst academic performance in every subject since I failed art in Japanese kindergarten. During those three months, I spent a grand total of 1 weekend at home, and that was the weekend right before WAC. 4 Debate tournaments, 2 MUN Conferences, an ill-advised hackathon, and an untimely illness screwed me over royally. Ultimately, it’s my fault: I overestimated my ability to juggle everything, and I underestimated my courseload. Next year, I’m softening my extracurricular involvement and delegating more. Hopefully that means I can concentrate more on academics.
I’ve talked about this before, but extracurriculars have also been shaky for me. Debate by no standard has been great: this year, we only broke once, and got handily eliminated in quarters with double 75s (brutal). I didn’t end up making Team Canada, and our debate club next year is missing some really, really good seniors (shoutout to Kimathi, Malcolm, and Brent). I did well in MUN, which is awkward, and other things like Convergence and DMCS have been falling short of expectations. Horizons Robotics went well, but it’s bleeding volunteers and will be even harder next year. The only shining light is that I’ll have the ability to make more change. Hopefully I can train our juniors in debate, hopefully I make Horizons Robotics more approachable, hopefully I make Convergence and DMCS clubs that more young kids want join. The conundrum here is that, while these eggs are in my basket, I need to manage my time with a knife’s edge. Sacrificing (essentially) my marks for my extracurriculars is not sustainable, but at the same time I don’t like seeing my clubs or projects fail (NorvalLabs?). It’s going to be tough next year, but hopefully I’ll manage.
I don’t want to make it seem like I hate WAC, but some days, I really do. I think this is the hallmark of my love/hate relationship with extracurriculars at our school. When I was in Grade 9, I really, really loved WAC. It seemed like an amazing idea: get super cool people like Edward Snowden to talk about super cool things to super cool students, and voila! The world becomes a better place! Unfortunately, this idea kinda shattered as I had to take on more and more responsibility. Upper Canada College is not an institution that is well known for its computer science prowess (which is a rather correct assumption), and as such I ended up taking any tech-related position that was part of WAC: Graphic Design, Web Design, A/V, Materials Procurement, Registration, you name it. This was exacerbated by the fact that other people lied on their resumes, or were not exactly qualified for the positions they were given. It’s not fully these people’s fault: in some scenarios, they were hard workers that were mis-managed and mis-allocated for the job. In other situations, it’s fully their fault: they lied on their resume, they were impossible to work with (this sounds like an exaggeration, but it really wasn’t), or they’d introduce intentional security vulnerabilities into our registration system. All of this just meant that I took on more and more roles: one of my co-workers estimated a good 8 people’s job descriptions.
Now, I’ve lost that romantic touch of WAC. I still do it though, for two reasons: for the people that attend it, and for the people that run it. I think running WAC is probably the largest contribution I’ve made to this world so far, since so many people attend it. It seems rather unimpressive (I am a teenager, keep that in mind), but I think that I’ve helped hundreds if not thousands of students learn more about the world and current affairs. This is compounded by the fact that a lot of the kids who attend WAC aren’t able to without Horizons’ financial aid programs, or lack of similar events that are equally affordable. Kids tell me that WAC is their only chance to meet university professors that specialize in Asian studies, or CEOs of companies; their socio-economic status means that they can’t otherwise. Ultimately, that kinda drives me to do WAC, even if it does slightly cannibalize everything else that I do.
I also do WAC because I think it’d be unfair for me to quit now. I’m scared for the tech future of the school once I graduate (even if that previous sentence is a bit cocky). The “runner-ups” that exist once I graduate are a sexist kid who has to work with girls schools to make WAC happen, and, well, that’s about it. There aren’t many other students at UCC who have both the ability and the time to do these kinds of jobs, and I’m worried about the future of some of my favourite clubs once my class graduates. The grade below us kinda depresses me in this way. Over this summer and next year, I’m trying to preserve my legacy of technological improvement at the school: documenting code and processes for all the clubs that I’m in, and trying to trick Grade 8/9 kids that this might be a worthy use of their time. I’m not optimistic, but I’m hopeful. If WAC ends up being better next year because I was able to do that, then I’ll be happy.
A lot of my really good friends are going to SHAD this year, which makes me both super happy and also kinda sad at the same time. I’m super happy because I thought that SHAD was a valuable and transformative experience, and I’m excited to see some of my closest friends experience what I hope to be one of the best summers of their lives. In addition, I’ll be hearing about my friend groups crossing over: best friends from elementary school meeting best friends from today. Plus, the SHAD DE Cup has me excited: what are they going to do?
I’m a little sad because it’s awkward timing for me. I don’t regret going to SHAD at all last year: I met amazing people, changed my life, and did some awesome things. But it’s weird to see a lot of my friends out for the summer, and me working for most of it. Summer is the only “real” break I have (and even then, I’m still pretty busy), so it kinda sucks that my friends aren’t accessible for July. In the grand scheme of things though, I’m super happy for all of them and I’m waiting on every detail.
Now that I got a lot of serious stuff out of the way, let’s talk about some cool things! Over the past half-year or so, I’ve listened to a lot of cool music, especially stuff that I didn’t expect liking. I’ll probably go much more in-depth with some blog posts on them, but here’s a quick list of stuff that I’ve loved in this past year:
- Pure Heroine, by Lorde
- Everybody, by Logic
- Connect The Dots, by Misterwives
- hopeless fountain kingdom, by Halsey
- The Grind Date, by De La Soul
- After Laughter, by Paramore
- Worlds, by Porter Robinson
- DAMN, by Kendrick Lamar
- Melodrama, by Lorde
- Pretty Girls Like Trap Music, by 2 Chainz
- Culture, by Migos
- Dangerous Woman, by Ariana Grande
I also watched (or re-watched) quite a few cool movies and TV shows, namely How I Met Your Mother, Community, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Master of None, and Bojack Horseman for TV, and Zootopia, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Edge of Seventeen, Finding Nemo and Finding Dory, Deadpool, Inside Out, and The Big Short. I might write more in-depth about this too, but I’m most certainly not as well-versed in movie/TV review as I am music, and I’m also terrible at music reviews too.
I’m planning on doing more summer writing: another music series (like 15at15), something that chronicles debate and WAC more in-detail, and maybe a few other ideas that I have spinning in my head.
Anyways, thanks for reading this huge block of text. I’m super excited for the summer, and hopefully I’m albe to do some awesome things.
Until next time!
Jul 1, 2017 • Matthew Wang
~ 10 minute read • 1943 words