This term has been more than I could have asked for or expected.

Returning to Redeemer Bible Fellowship was the greatest joy of this term. It felt, in a sense, like returning home. I was exceedingly encouraged by this church, and am refreshed to serve back at home. At our church retreat, Pastor Johnson led a workshop on productivity and time management. He proposed that productivity is not defined by efficiency or getting things done, but rather by effectiveness - doing things that matter. It reminds me of Seth Godin’s quotation, “decide what really matters, and do it.” Ofttimes we tend to measure productivity by tangible accomplishments, such as grades or performance evaluations. However, some things I value - such as family, relationships, serving - are tougher to measure. This workshop led me to rethink my roles and how I am called to serve in each one of them.

Coincidentally, halfway through the term, a friend disappeared off of Facebook. They say actions are more powerful than words; indeed, said friend’s action caused me to rethink my use of social media more than any article or statistic I’ve previously read. This rethinking led to rereading works by several authors from my studious high school days - from Cal Newport’s articles on deep work and deliberate practice to several blogs regarding exercise and health. Reincorporating routines and practices from such works was both nostalgic and refreshing. This time it was with a stronger sense of the fragility of human motivation, as well as the overwhelming importance of grit. It is all too easy to lose focus and go with the flow, and all too important to stay alert and aware.

And finally, relationships matter. Or “relationships always matter”, as the LinkedIn alumni reunion slogan ran. My host, mentor, manager, and team at Google were awesome. I’ve learned much from their way of thinking through problems, focus on impact, and genuine passion for the work they do. I’ve met so many brilliant people, and am spurred on by their drive and diligence. I also had the opportunity to reconnect with previous mentors, managers, and coworkers. Most of all, I’ve enjoyed getting to know each person I’ve met - whether it be their background, their story, the books they enjoyed / learned from, their perspective, their passions and sometimes their quirks. It’s interesting how I always enter an internship looking to find and solve a technical challenge, and leave not only with that, but a more precious asset of relationships cultivated and lessons learned.

Lastly but not least, I’m thankful for friends who:

  • 12580 with me
  • fly over and visit
  • tease, argue, joke
  • tango - it takes five
  • share foobar adventures
  • make me clean my room
  • discuss coastline lengths
  • let me crash countless times
  • embark on 4D wonder woman movies
  • try to smile even though guppies don’t
  • call me out on passive aggressiveness
  • make time out of busy schedules to reunion
  • play ensembles in the early hours of the morning and much more.

It’s been an unbelievable four months, and I’m rejuvenated to return to family, school, research, and church life. In all things, in Christ alone and soli Deo gloria.