Last term, around this time, I launched this blog. I cannot believe that another term has flown by. These three months have been even more challenging and fun than the previous term, and moreover, I have experienced many “firsts” and have learned a valuable lesson from one of them.

This term, I applied to my first job, attended my first interview, and received my first offer. I also performed below average on my first midterm. The latter will hopefully also be a “last.”

Two things stood out to me throughout the job search: the support and help from upper years, and the positive response from employers.

For me, the job search experience started unofficially last September, when I made my first “Alice_Zhou_Resume.pdf.” A previous SE student offered to edit my resume, and I hesitantly sent it over. I received it with red pen marks all over it, and had a list of ~40 things to change. I have to say, that was quite humbling, and possibly the experience that aided me the most throughout JobMine.

This term, an SE upper year also hosted a resume critique session, and several CS upper years helped with technical interviews. When thanking them, some demurred, saying that they didn’t do much. But it means a lot to me, and it certainly has made a big difference. Although I may not be able to repay the favour, I hope to be of help to future frosh.

On January 20, I submitted my first 50 job applications. It was only after 22 rejections that I received my first interview. But from then, I received interviews from 12 different companies, 8 in Canada, and 4 in the US. Interviewing styles and times varied greatly, but overall, I met lots of awesome people and learned a lot. It turns out that I received offers from 10 companies, was rejected by one Canadian company, and was ranked by one US company. I cannot fathom how this happened, but am extremely grateful to every one who has helped me along the way, whether it be in critiquing, advice, support, or recommending.

I’m happy to share that the company with whom I had my first code camp, first coding challenge, and first interview, is also become my first employer! I am so excited that I will have the opportunity to work with awesome people at Square, and am looking forward to exploring San Francisco.

Although the first job search experience was exciting and beyond imagination, the most important “first” this term was performing 4% below average on a midterm. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked,” and so, it is quite easy for me to make the bragging excuse that I spent too much time at the Tatham Centre. However, while that may be a factor in the below-par grade, it really doesn’t make a difference. I performed so poorly because I believed that I didn’t need to work hard, and that I could float by. Also, I was not as concentrated as last term, and did not do my utmost in this aspect.

Through this experience, I learned firsthand that pride goeth before destruction, and complacency before backsliding. Also, I realized that balance will only become more and more difficult to attain. Perhaps balance is not the primary issue, but rather to be able to decide what is important, set appropriate goals, and focus entirely on what is at hand. No matter what the circumstances may be, it is critical to remember what my chief goal is, and whom I am serving. In this way, I learned more through this 9% drop in my calculus grade than any education I could possibly buy, and I will surely make good use of it.

Some other things about this term. I’ve met so many awesome people, I can’t even count. I’ve also had to make some incredibly difficult decisions, and have grown tremendously from them.

Finals are coming up, and I’m ready to give my utmost to His Highest in all that I do.