Issue 25: Wellness

Hi all,
So there’s been a few goals I’ve been working on this past week. The first is, I’ve been studying up data structures and algorithms for coding interviews. I’ve been reviewing the PowerPoints from my data structures class sophomore year and doing problems from “Cracking the Coding Interview.” Sometimes it feels great when I’m able to solve a problem, but oftentimes it feels overwhelming and I feel like I have not been productive when I spend a long time on a problem. I’ve been making this my main goal by working on a few problems everyday. Right now, I’m still exploring if after graduation, I want to jump into the journalism industry, or the tech industry, or a combination of both. Sometimes I’m scared of getting trapped in one field, even though when I look at the people (especially journalists) whose careers I admire, their paths often take many turns. But anyway, if you’re in the tech industry and have tips and insight about coding interviews and tech jobs, let me know!
The second goal is fitness. I realized that I have very little arm strength. When I was in high school, being from Illinois and having attended public high school, we had P.E. every day for all four years. Well, actually there was one semester where we had to take health. We were forced to lift weights, swim, run 12-minute runs, play team sports, etc. I was also on the badminton team, where we would do some boxing workouts because our coach was also a boxing coach. But anyway, having to work out was never something I really thought about until after high school.
Once I got to college, I got into running. I attend university next to Lake Michigan, and I enjoy running along the lake towards the Chicago skyline, especially in the evening when all the lights are on. It felt liberating, and nothing makes me happier than running on the lakeshore path.
That being said, while I love running, I can’t say it’s a routine part of my life. During fall and spring, I tend to run more, but once it’s winter, I stop. Occasionally, I will go to the gym and run on the treadmill, or occasionally, I’ll make plans to work out with a friend, in general, I can’t say working out is a routine part of my life. When I’m stressed about midterms, I will put that first, even though studies have proven that working out enhances your brain.
Also, while I run, that’s pretty much the only workout I do. So while I might have decent cardio, I’m pretty much lacking in everything else. When I studied abroad in Beijing, I had a friend who I would run with on days when the sky wasn’t that polluted (i.e. pollution levels were not over 200, which is already pretty bad). We would run on the campus’ track, and I actually found it pretty challenging to keep up with her. Part of it was because I got a really bad cough during the first month due to the pollution. But after I recovered, I realized it was because when I work out, I don’t really challenge myself. I jog at a slow pace, rather than challenging myself to run faster. After running, I just stretch and finish, but my friend would also do sprints and ab workouts.
Going back to having very little arm strength, when I started college my arms were actually pretty muscular because I worked at a dine-in theater, where I often had to carry heavy trays of food and drinks while climbing up the stairs in the movie theater and crouching over so I don’t block the customers’ view of the movie. But since I never lift or do pushups or anything like that, I’ve lost much of that strength.
So to challenge myself, in addition to running, I’m trying to do more exercises that would help me gain strength. My friend suggested doing Cassey Ho’s Blogilates videos to me, so I tried this video today. It made my legs hurt. I might try another video tomorrow, we’ll see. Something that I’ve made routine in this past week, though, was running. I’ll run two miles around the lake near my house, then stretch, which I normally do. But I’ve also started doing crunches, planks and pushups, as well as one additional core workout each day.
Anyway, hopefully I can keep up some kind of routine once school starts. It’s not too hard now because I have tons of time and it’s nice to take a break from practice code problems. My friend and I are going to do a quarter marathon, so we’ll practice for that when school starts. And I can try other videos when the weather gets cold.
The final goal I’ve been working on is connection! So Aditi and I launched some social media accounts for this newsletter awhile ago, but we finally got around to updating them. So, 
Like True Colors on Facebook:
and follow True Colors on Twitter:
and on Medium:
and on Tumblr: (I have yet to post anything, as I have yet to use Tumblr since high school!)

Anyway enough promotion (I’ve already done enough for today). Here are the three stories of the week:

  • A mythical Olympics for women shows the ancient roots of inequality at the games by Neha Thirani Bagri. “Callipateira, a widow, is notorious in the myths of ancient Greece. According to the story, she disguised herself to look like a gymnastic trainer, and brought her son to compete at the ancient Olympic Games. When her son won, she jumped out of the trainer’s enclosure and in doing so, relinquished her disguise, and chanced being sentenced to death.”
  • 8 Black Women On Body Image And Societal Expectations. A round table by Hannah Giorgis, Sylvia Obell, Chantal Follins, Essence Gant, Driadonna Roland, Alanna Bennett, Bim Adewunmi, Anna Dushime. “To be a black woman is to receive uniquely targeted messages about one’s body. The black female body is hypersexual or hypermasculine or both, but it is never our own. It is too obscene to be treated with respect but too alluring not to emulate. We are hip-hop vixens or mammies or (starving?) Africans. Black American women eat unhealthily, we are told, and so our happiness makes no sense. Our bodies do not deserve to celebrate, to move, to occupy space.”
  • Why Didn’t An Illinois Professor Have To Disclose GMO Funding? by Monica Eng. “A WBEZ investigation has found that a University of Illinois professor was given more than $57,000 over less than two years from GMO maker Monsanto to travel, write and speak about genetically modified organisms — including lobbying federal officials to halt further regulation on GMO products.”

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