For me (and probably the rest of humanity), 2020 was a year of big things. A global pandemic, college applications which everyone’s telling me will determine a considerable portion of my future potential, racial injustice, wildfires, a presidential election… and the list goes on.
The purpose of this reflection is to list a set of small things. Small memories from 2020 that’ll give me nothing more than a smile when I look at them in the years ahead.
- A middle-schooler asked me why proteins look like spaghetti when I taught protein structure modeling to students.
- Going through the holiday lighting with my family
- Fighting with my sister while finishing a 2000 piece puzzle
- Jokingly making metaphors that could serve as the basis for new common app essays with a friend as we work on the same puzzle
- Finishing a 50-mile bike ride. I finished the ride with a bout of runner’s asthma, but the exercise really showed me that I can push my limits. I’m setting 100 miles as a goal for 2021.
- Seeing an email from Yoshua Bengio in my inbox at 6 AM in the morning
- Laughing boisterously at Mr. Noeth’s (my math teacher’s) jokes.
- The moment I truly understood why the earth doesn’t move under me at 36,500 mph when I jump straight up
- Realizing that there are actually names for the 5th-9th derivatives of position with respect to time
- The immense happiness I felt when I mentioned to people that I wrote a whole college supplemental essay centered around them
- Asking questions to Nobel laureate Ray Weiss and Harvard business school professor Linda Hill