2019 Q1 Review: Happy again

Katherine Huang
Apr 5, 2019 · 6 min read

We’re already one fourth of the way through 2019! I’m reviewing how my year has been so far, guided by a list of dated milestones.

I’m aware that calling this a “Q1” review makes it sound like some fiscal report, but I don’t know how else to refer to the first quarter of the year.

January 4–6: Learned about civil rights in Montgomery, Alabama

I visited the capital of Alabama with my classmates in Seminar on American Diversity, our teacher Ms. Lander, and Charles from Facing History and Ourselves. We went to the Rosa Parks Museum, Freedom Riders Museum, Dexter-Parsonage Museum, Southern Poverty Law Center, Equal Justice Initiative, Legacy Museum, National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Chris’s Hot Dogs (where MLK and several presidents have eaten), Dreamland BBQ, the state capitol, the First White House of the Confederacy, and more.

We learned about the Civil Rights Movement in more context than classes typically contain, and reflected on social injustice and justice in the US in the past and today. The trip has made me more open to exploration, challenging my assumptions, and being in the moment.

Seminar in American Diversity students at a museum in Montgomery, Alabama

January 20: Turned 18

Me: I can finally legally make an account on [website]!
Me: *checks [website]*
Me: *already has an account on [wesbite]*

~January 27: Survived a breakup

Long story short: I didn’t think I could do it, but I did it minute by minute, and learned a lot about myself.

January 28: Started taking Mathematical Statistics through Harvard Extension School

MATH IS HARD.

January 29: Began a modified school schedule

Due to my mental and emotional health issues with school administrators, I now have a modified schedule with only 4 (as opposed to 7) classes to minimize the amount of time I spend on campus.

February 5: Published We Are America

In Seminar in American Diversity, we spent months preparing to write our stories, then finally editing and sharing them in this book, where they collectively show a glimpse into the voices of our nation’s future.

February 5: Held a robotics outreach event for English language learner students at school

This was the first time we held this event, and I came up with the idea because I noticed that the hundreds of ELL students have unique barriers in the way of pursuing STEM activities and classes: If their schooling in their home country was disrupted, they probably don’t have room in their schedule for taking electives. Adjusting to a new lifestyle and language is demanding. They might not have access to transportation that enables them to pursue weekly after-school activities, or might have to work after school. We led several ELL students in assembling and soldering Altoid tin flashlights!

February 8–10: Attended HackBeanpot

I built the a website for the Explain Campaign. We decided not to use it for Science & Us, but I had fun learning some Django!

February 12: Started participating in #BUILTBYGIRLS WAVE

I was and still am a bit skeptical about the community, since there’s an absurd amount of high school women all promoting their initiatives. It’s wonderful when people genuinely want to make positive change, but they blend together after a while when there’s nothing distinctive in their branding or mission, and I know that it takes a level of privilege to be able to, for example, start a nonprofit teaching coding to local underprivileged middle schoolers. Nonetheless, I’m often pleasantly surprised about the generosity of the mentors, and I’ve had valuable conversations with mine.

February 19: Survived FIRST Robotics Competition Build Season

Meet our robot, Antares!

February 23: Represented NCWIT at Blueprint Expo

February 23: Revived TEDxLowellHigh, passed it onto a younger team, and designed a website for them

The original organizing team was all seniors, including me, and fell apart in late fall. However, I still believed in its mission to amplify often unheard voices and unite the school community beyond a superficial level, so I reached out to our faculty advisor, who then had her Model UN/Political Debate Club students, mostly sophomores and freshmen, take over it.

February 27: Began a relationship with an amazing person 💕

something something it was actually February 28 in the Eastern time zone

March 3: Pushed a major update to the Science & Us website

March 5: Scored a 4 on AP English Literature & Composition mock exam

I was a few raw score points away from a 5, and my teacher said that the graders purposely deflate scores on these practice exams. So I essentially got a 5! Normally, my academic achievements don’t stand out to me, but I’ve come a long way in terms of confidence as well as writing and analysis skills since freshman year, so I’m proud of this.

March 7: Launched We Are America website

lhsweareamerica.com — check it out, listen to the stories, send us a message!

A screenshot of the We Are America website (lhsweareamerica.com)

~March 8: Posted first LinkedIn video and launched @kat.ship on Instagram

March 8–10: Visited Charlotte, North Carolina, for the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Award Weekend

The 40 national winners of the 2019 Award for Aspirations in Computing
Me wearing a Repl.it shirt and pointing to a Repl.it sticker on my laptop

March 13: Took my last National Latin Exam

I remember awkwardly walking into the testing room of Lowell High School as an 8th grader to take it to show that I could test out of Latin 1. :,)

March 14: Signed Repl.it internship offer!

March 15–17: Earned the Chairman’s Award at the North Shore District Event and got picked by the 3rd alliance

March 18: Reasonably dealt with someone plagiarizing my writing

March 23: Accepted to Boston University College of Engineering and Kilachand Honors College

I don’t know why I went through a brief phase of putting engineering as my prospective major on college applications?

March 21–25: Visited the San Francisco Bay Area for the first time

I visited the Hack Club and Repl.it HQs! I learned how to ride a bike! I had hotpot for the first time! I met some of my online friends in real life, and met other awesome people!

Lunch in SF with Lachlan Campbell, Theo Bleier, and Linus Lee

March 23–24: Los Altos Hacks!

I started building Formable: Google Forms are great because you don’t have to worry about setting up a backend, but embedding Google Forms is unprofessional because they don’t match your brand and aren’t responsive. Formable allows you to make a Google Form like you normally do, then plug in the link, customize the colors and fonts, and copy and paste the code for it into your website. Currently, it’s not fully functional, but this is something I want, so I’ll probably finish it up at some point!

Thanks so much to Jamsheed M for making this possible uwuwuwu

March 26: Had my first vocal lesson

March 27: Created Finish That Post

A casual support group to help my peers brainstorm, write, finish, and share articles. There currently is almost nothing in the support group lol.

March 28: Got rejected from Harvard and committed to MIT :)

“What even is MIT’s mascot? Allen the Wrench or something?”
“Tim the Beaver!”

Me in my MIT 2023 shirt inside The Alchemist statue on campus

March 29–31: Lowkey became legends in the FRC world?

That’s my team’s robot on top!

Also:

  • Confirmed 3 workshop leaders for Science & Us Makeathon happening on August 17 at MIT!
  • Selected as a National Merit Scholarship Finalist, and invited to a local superintendents’ luncheon for being ranked 2nd in my class

Overall

For the first time in over a year, I’ve been feeling consistently happy, or at least, not plagued by anxiety and a feeling of dread.

Vague Goals™ for Q2

  • Explore data science and interactive, digital journalism/storytelling
  • Read more books
  • Code, design, and share (on @kat.ship) more side projects and writing
  • SLEEP and EXERCISE somewhat regularly
  • Live in the moment, explore, love people and life, have positive vibes and self-love uwu
  • Be consistent in working toward authentic goals!

Katherine Huang

Written by

Making science and tech engaging and accessible for young people @ scienceandus.org, mahacks.com | MIT ’23, intern @ Repl.it

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