The Top 10 of 2011

Every year I look back and I see how blessed I am, but I never write about it. Well, one word describes 2011: breakout. And so, this year above all others, I have taken the priority to write a year-end blog post. Highlights follow.

1) Physics. I don’t know why, but Professor Bloxham’s first lecture about electromagnetism struck a resonance within me. Maybe it was his rebelliousness, maybe his enthusiasm or the beauty of the triple integral he wrote on the board. Or maybe it was the way he twisted what I knew and reformulated it in an entirely different manner. My meeting with him at his house opened my eyes to the interface of math, physics, and philosophy ….and thus began my path to Engineering Physics.

2) Computer. Went through three the first few months of the year. Hard drives are fragile beings.

3) Failing. I was at the low point of my years at Berkeley. Having come off two broken laptops, I subsequently fail my first two Physics midterms and score 1 SD below avg on both my first chem and MCB midterms. As usual, weather came to my rescue with a massive tornado outbreak from April 14-16. That saved me from certain depression, and I came out with a renewed drive to do better. Which, I did.

4) Tornadoes. See this and this. Because of the recent tornadoes, a renewed passion for weather has sprouted within me.

And then, in mid-June, came the tipping point. I moved in with:

5) Berkeleyan/”6th floor”. There are still days I cannot properly grasp what a blessing these people have been. I came in with very few friends, having left Kairos and losing contact with everyone there. But these people welcomed me with open arms. These people gave me a reason to express myself and to find myself. And now I am fortunate to live with people who I know love me and care for me. In my first few months, I was able to express my scientific side with (dumb) YouTube and elevator projects, my photographic side to an extent very few in Kairos ever appreciated, my religious/philosophical side with Joyce, my adventurous side with Tracey/LZ/Andy/among others, my loving (LOL) side with Vicki, my engineering side with Sachin, and a host of other things I am forgetting. Because my inhibitions are gone, I am free to travel the mind… without keeping my itinerary secret.

6) 6th floor Part 2 – Kapil. Motivated, a bit judgmental. Eloquent in speech, inspirational. Intelligent, hard-working. Black. Words I can use to describe my roommate. Incredible guy who has incredible determination, and an incredible person to talk to. He, above all others in my life besides my parents and my girlfriend (whom he is tied with), has shaped my life the most. I can be weird around him, and he can be totally weird around me. We talk about the craziest stuff, from subspaces to Batman voices, from riffs to ‘falafels’ (i.e. waffles). Without him, I would have no confidence, and no…

7) Research. Once again, Vicki and Kapil are the stars of this highlight. I was nowhere, lost, but they helped me find my path. I didn’t know how to email, how to write a resume, network, or do anything.

In 2 weeks, they helped me go from 0 to 2, and I do not know how, really, I can repay them. And really, I don’t. But believe me when I say this. Whenever there’s any doubt in my mind whenever Vicki’s a good girlfriend, this miracle sets me straight.

8) Physics, the curriculum. I haven’t had this much fun learning about stuff since O-chem and E45. Yeah, it’s harder and my grades are struggling, but I know I picked the right major.

9) Football. The rate at which my football knowledge and interest is increasing rivals that of weather back in late middle school-early high school, and Interstate highways back in elem school. And to think that a few years ago, I told myself I’d never watch football again!

10) Photography. I gotta thank Tom, Thuy, 6th floor, and Yearbook for this. (And I’m sure I’m missing a few people.) Thanks for encouraging me. Even though I did not complete my 365 project, starting may have been the best decision of my life.

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