Reflection 2016

9 minute read

Yes, I know this supposed to be published before the New Year. I was hopping to do so, however I was busy with my girl Julia and the news from Turkey are never good these days. So I am planning to do this in two sections. In the first sections I will write down the Highlights and Lowlights of my year. I hope this section gonna help me to set goals for 2017. Lets start with it, with my tea on hand.


  • Travel: fromsingapore, some new travel videos
    • Singapore + food: learned some asian cuisine and how to use chopsticks, a lot of tropical fruits: mango is the best.
    • Borneo: Mt. Kinabalu(first 4k+), interacting with orangutans in the wild, got one of the best soups *Laksa: Kuching
    • Thailand: crazy shows at the south islands, Mae Hong Son Loop at north, elephants, tigers and songkran
    • Cambodia: Angkor Wat, crazy cheap beers and Turkish inhabited island at south Koh Rong
    • Myanmar!: Best people, myanmar’s songkran: Thingyan, colonial Yangon and very intimate Bagan.
    • Dubai: very long building and crazy malls.
    • Portugal: all around with car, really nice days
    • Greek Islands: omg Crete and its beaches & food & my people. Other islands Santorini bathtubs, Mykonos parties, private beaches at Naxos
  • Events:
    • Songkran/Thingyan at Thailand/Myanmar
    • Radiohead at Lisboa
    • Tame Impala at Lisboa
    • Bon Iver at NY
    • Ibrahim Malaouf at NY
    • New-Year at NYC
  • Personal
    • NYU acceptance with a full scholarship.
    • Graduated with being 2nd in my both degrees.
    • Got on the Mt.Kinabalu with lowest possible cost.
    • Run first 15k
    • Published my new-page evcu
    • Lived in Amsterdam for 2 months
    • Moved to NYC
    • Run at Bagan, Singapore, Yangon, Phuket… O how humid it was.
  • Learning
    • Learned rugby.
    • Cooking more + doing salads
    • Indoor Climbing
    • A little bit dutch
  • Academic & Career
    • Submitted my first paper MIG, ACM: accepted as poster.
    • Learned Python and solve a lot of algorithm questions
    • Learned Torch, Lua
    • Passed Google internship interview.
  • External
    • My cousin got married
    • Attended my first friend-marriage: Pascal & Nurgul


  • Even though planned to do so, didn’t go Bali, Philippines, Vietnam.

I lost the excitement to travel after intensive traveling. I felt useless, which I can see clearly now, when I compare how much I accomplish in the first and last 4 months of the year. But now, I wanna travel. BALANCE!

  • Rejected by some other schools.

This was quite upsetting. Of course I am not the only one, but it still makes you sad. I was always saying their names, now I will keep them to myself.

  • Failed interview with some other companies and the call-back rate was pretty low.

This was expected but yet disappointing. I know I’ve just started coding, but obviously things are not that easy as it sometimes appear to us and I am not there yet.

  • Failed to live with my girl.

I am not sure what I could do about this. NYC is important for me so she is.

  • Failed to keep my energy high all the time

I can say some days through the last 4 months I had trouble concentrating and enjoying what I am doing. This is related to a lot of stuff that I am aware of or not. But I feel like I am not like the old Utku. I feel spoiled. But am I at the end?

  • I played one last game after coming back from Singapore and we lost the game while my team relegated to the lower division.

Such a bad end. However we had dreams of championship at the end. Can you change things? How much can you change? Should you make things/people better or find ready ones and become spoiled maybe? This might be tricky. But anyhow, It was also the game that I enjoyed less, so weird when I now compare it with how much I miss it.

  • Lost Gorkem and many others

You can’t really do much about these, but remembering everything is temporary. Maybe you shouldn’t to be happy.

So is this all about? Listing them what you did and feel bad/good/motivated/disappointed such that reflection would give the motivation to make next years list more. NO! I disagree.

So okay I did that not to show off anything to anyone or to myself. But I believe recording your life and memories are imported. It is like signs on the road, such that if you ever get lost you know how you came here. Of course you can’t record everything and it is not the main point of the life we are having here. But, I think it deserves and pays off to spend a day in a year.

OMG there is less then 400 hundred days in a year. And we don’t have many of those years. It is so weird how long the life seemed when we were young. And I know it doesn’t mean much when you just here that numbers, but they make sense once they appear automatically in your thoughts. Anyway the point of all this is to be able to say “ustu kalsin” at the end without faking or doubt. Of course it is not gonna be perfect. Maybe you even don’t have control at all. You born ambitious and this is all about, but I am not sure about that. Who can be sure about that anyway!

It was hard to move to NYC, even though I haven’t admitted to myself often. It is also hard to be away from the girl you are connected. But I miss my old challenge-lover proud-of-himself parts. You can imagine how hard it is to be special at NYC and that makes those things harder inherently that you don’t receive many external stimuli. Therefore it changes you, it affects you. So what you gonna do?

Yes I believe life is about challenging yourself, to work, to learn, to have fun etc. Not planning

Planning is boring. Challenges are like the stars maybe, you should be careful not to put too many. Because they are not the end: they are the means.

Friends are important, but scarce in NYC but you still have them I believe and you will remember them once you see them.

Now it is time for the list, I am not sure how much I am gonna accomplish. O I should also add prizes. But how? Money? Holiday? New devices? New boots? Lets think. Next year I will be hopefully at NYC and it is gonna be winter time. Okay here is the deal. The prizes are in dollars to spent in yourself whether it is travel/material stuff. Thats not motivating I am afraid…

Task-List for 2016

  • Travel:
    • Road trip to west-coast
    • Road trip to north loop
    • Cuba
    • Iceland?
    • Go somewhere you really want to go in Turkey.
  • Events:
    • Burning Man.
    • Another festival in US (Eux Clarie?)
  • Personal
    • Start mountain running
    • Swim 500 meters non-stop
    • Get your motor-vehicle licenses
    • 3 reps with 100k bench
    • Move to Manhattan
    • Read 10 English books with looking up the words
    • Do 365 days at NYC blog
    • Start taking pictures again / maybe with your new phone or old camera.
  • Learning
    • Learn databases and scalability
    • english better
    • roller blade
    • d3 visualization + web-paging
  • Academic & Career
    • Ace all courses in both terms.
    • Submit a paper.
    • Get 10 interviews for job.

Omg so many personal goals and so less to aim for academic & career. It is so clear that they are the things that I think they are good for my future, they are not the things that I want to do. So therefore it is hard to aim them, I don’t want them.

Vauv this is problematic. Do I really wanna be an artist?, a free guy? Now it is hard with all of those goals above. I will conclude this reflection here. An expected reflection and expected goals… Not really, yeay it is real. The things that I wrote down there was already in my mind, i didn’t created them and now I will do italic the ones that I thought before.

Interesting, I actually want to do the things that I thought earlier, so they are not random artificial goals. They are mine. Now it seems useless to do this reflection. If you only gonna do the things you’ve planned/felt before, then why are you writing them now?

The answer is : To remember