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3a term in review
school in the summer!
I’m back for another term in review! 🤠
This is something I usually write for myself to reflect back on my 4 month terms on what I’ve learned, and exciting things I’ve been up to and document these pivotal times in my university years for me to look back on the memories. If you’re reading along, welcome to my journey & my rambles!
This time, my 3A term of Systems Design Engineering at Waterloo. And yes, I had to do school in the summer. For those non-Waterloo friends reading this, 3A means this is the first semester of my third year of university.
Coming back to Waterloo, especially after a busy and thrilling term in San Francisco interning in startups and venture was definitely a huge contrast. But I was excited to see my close friends again and also experience a fully in-person semester at Waterloo (even though I was a little scared).
Some of the goals I had this semester:
Make new friends outside of my program and engage in communities outside of Waterloo
Travel & try to pack in some fun things (it is summer after all!)
Pass school and relax a little bit!
Wow, I did not think this term could get any worse than 2B… I was wrong. These were the courses I took this term:
SYDE 311: Advanced Engineering Math II
SYDE 381: Thermodynamics
SYDE 383: Fluid Mechanics
SYDE 351: Systems Modelling
SYDE 361: Design Prototyping
A lot of these courses aren’t subjects that come to me easily especially since I don’t get to apply the directly in my work. This is one of the semesters where it actually feels like real engineering.
The calculus course was actually my favourite course of the term! It was also the first time I had a professor who was a woman of colour at the university, which really meant a lot to me. It really does make a difference to see people that remind you of yourself pursuing higher education in mathematics and engineering.
Group studying definitely helped a lot for these subjects, and after midterm season I tried to get in as much practice as possible on sample problems.
This was also my first school term in the summer, and it was my favourite! Studying outside, day parties, and beach days.
My roommate and I organized a taylor-swift themed night for all of our baby sydes (the class two years younger than us) and it was so much fun!
I also helped out with Socratica, a club for curious minds at Waterloo! We had co-working sessions each Sunday, along with a few other events throughout the term from reading circles, poetry sharing, and also a bonfire near the end of the term. This was a really great opportunity to meet a ton of students outside of my program.
Some students were working on their own start-ups, capstone projects, and exploring topics such as urban planning or music. It was overall a very inspiring environment to be a part of. I learned that community building can be really hard! And especially nearing the end of the term, it gets hard to keep the momentum going especially when school starts to pile up.
A really big thank you to Jonathan who truly was the core of this, along with Ti, Tazik, Marko, Adriana, and others for all their support, and Adi & Aman for starting this special community in the first place! And of course, Morgan from Operand, James from Aide, and Contrary for helping fund these initiatives.
Super excited to see what the community will do next term!
Now… onto non-school things!
The month of May was jam-packed with starting school, going to Vancouver, and also organizing a rabbitholeathon.
⛰️ cansbridge fellowship CFC in Squamish!
The second week of school, there was a retreat in Squamish, BC, for the Cansbridge Fellowship, a community for Canadian Undergraduate students. They brought together all the fellows from 2020, 2021, and 2022 together for the bootcamp and the alumni for a conference on the weekend.
With this being my first semester of in-person school (and in-person exams + testing) I was worried about falling behind early on, so I ended up joining the retreat on Thursday and staying until Sunday instead of coming on Monday. I’m still glad I was able to make the most of it for the days I did come for instead of writing off going at all.
I took the flight to Vancouver from Kitchener airport, which was convenient because it was close, but there were a ton of delays on Flair airlines. I would do it again though! Much closer than commuting from Pearson, and a lot of local flights in Canada going from there.
Squamish was absolutely BEAUTIFUL!! I’ve been to Vancouver, but I’ve never been to Squamish before. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. We were surrounded by gorgeous mountains in the background.
Going to the fellowship retreat opened up my perspective a LOT. I got to meet students from universities across Canada who all came from such diverse backgrounds, and all had different passion projects from putting out wildfires with drones, teaching girls self-defense, and more. It was also so crazy to me to be in such casual settings with all the senior fellows, who were all established in their careers or had their own ventures just hanging out and having fun :)
the *aesthetics of studying calculus on the plane ride back. And I actually did pretty well on this quiz :) I kind of did enjoy being on the move, felt like romanticizing my life a little!
just this sentence: “spend the weekend reading with frens”. From a small idea a friend of mine had on Twitter, turned into a mini-retreat we organized in Oshawa bringing together ~18 curious minds from all over during the end of May!
we actually did not have internet for most of the weekend (but turned out to be a feature, not a bug!)
we all collectively agreed we’re in love with ava’s writing
the vibes were immaculate
This was honestly one of the most gratifying events I helped put together! This was the first time I ever really threw something together on a more grassroots level - no huge organizing team, year-long timeline, or anything, we just made it happen. My past internship, CommandBar, was so kind enough to back me up on the idea and funded our entire venue for the weekend! Along with Human Capital, Neo, Gitcoin, and 1517, we were able to make this happen.
One thing I learned was a lot of things don’t entirely go to plan. We didn’t have stable internet because there was a storm in the woods a few days ago, but this actually ended up working for the better because people were able to learn from the people around them and also disconnect!
Big <33 goes to Amir, Nazra, and Jaclyn for being the best peoples to work with to bring this all to life.
visiting San Francisco for the Paradigm Fellowship
At the beginning of August, I got the opportunity to travel to San Francisco for 4 days for the Paradigm fellowship, a program for young minds in crypto.
There was one caveat - the conference took place during peak exam season for me!
I still can’t believe I was able to make it work - one of my profs was kind enough to move the exam that took place during the fellowship. I had my fluids exam the day after I came back, and thermodynamics and systems modeling that same week.
In hindsight, not many people would’ve probably opted to go to something like this around exams, or even apply to the opportunity in the first place due to the timelines. But I was determined to make it work, and I did! I knew about the conference about a month earlier, so I jammed in as much studying as possible right after midterms and tried my best to ensure I was caught up with most of the homework with fluids before I left.
I woke up at around 6 every day during the conference to get an hour of practice before the day’s events. The main trade-off was that my month of July was much busier and not as fun as the other months since I packed in so much studying, but it was well worth it because I was at least able to enjoy most of the days at the conference.
These are one of those moments where I realized… hey I actually can do it. Even the things that don’t feel possible. And I passed the term!
Now… to the actual conference itself, it was a really exciting experience. It’s cool to see my experiences in crypto come to full circle, from accidentally stumbling upon it in high school with cryptochicks to attending the web3 hack lodge, and other explorations here and there. I think I’m still trying to find my footing in the space whether I want to focus on identity, community, gaming, or dive into some of the more technical niches of crypto. But attending the Paradigm fellowship helped me see that there’s so much more that’s out there, and so much I don’t know.
This fall, I’ll be a part of Kernel’s 7th cohort, so looking forward to diving deeper into the web3 space here.
Spent a week doing Hack Lodge in nyc! This was my first time in new york after a really long time, and the energy was great. I didn’t get to do a ton of exploring, but hopefully, I’ll be back soon! I worked on 2ish projects, worked on a music visualization app for the first half of the week (https://runicrecords.app), and created a collaborative storytelling website (almost like broken telephone for a story where one person starts the story and multiple people can add on): https://story-telephone.vercel.app/.
The story-telling app still has a bit more polish to go, but I’m looking forward to continuing working on this and connecting my passions of writing and development together.
Going forward - starting my internship at Replit in San Francisco
A lot to look forward to in the next few months! And a ton of decisions I had to make to prioritize to see how I could make the most of everything.
I’ll be starting my internship at Replit as a product engineering intern next week. So crazy how it was manifested on Twitter, and now it’ll actually be happening!
I spent a long time debating whether I wanted to live in New York for the internship, but I honestly really loved the people I met in San Francisco and want to double down on what I have here and also get some deep focus on all the things I want to learn and build.
I’ll be moving back to San Francisco for the term and living with some of my old teammates from Envision. If you’re in the bay area, I’d love to meetup :)
I’m also helping host a summit for our women and non-binary operator angels group, Modern Angels this November in SF! I’m working with Robby from Cowboy along with Sarah Robson to bring this to life, and I’m really looking forward to bringing this community together later in November. If you’d like to join, please feel free to shoot me a DM on twitter :)
if you’ve read all the way until the very end, thanks for sticking around! This was a really pivotal 4 months full of a bit of travel, being a part of and facilitating different communities, and a ton of learning.
Always open to chatting about anything - feel free to shoot me a message on twitter: @mathurahravi if anything resonates with you!
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