Reflection 2017

5 minute read

Lets do it! This time, on time, 31.12.2017 around 19:40.

Last years reflection here

Okay how is life going Utku? I am doing fine and honestly I am afraid to say no. Maybe you are asking the wrong question.

Do you feel strong Utku? I am afraid, no. And I hate this answer. Maybe I shouldn’t.

Can you summarize a whole year in one day objectively? No.

So what are we doing this time? A remembering exercise and maybe some thoughts that come up as a result during this process. Thats what we do today. Lets see what we did last year.


  • Travel: seattle2sanfransisco, summer2017 videos
    • Atlanta2Miami
    • 4 days in Marmaris/Datca.
    • Vancouver/Victorira: Sea plane
    • Roadtrip 2 San Fransisco: eclipse, McMenamins Hotel, Redwoods, Half Dome…
    • Toronto/upstateNY
    • LasVegas+Some Canyons
  • Events:
    • Burning Man+WA-Regional
    • Gorge Amphitheatre
    • Gogol Bordello in December
    • Caught football in CenturyLink Field
  • Personal
    • Amazon AWS internship.
    • Completed the Niagara Marathon.
    • Got my first paycheck.
    • Spent the summer in Washington
    • Did 5 road-trips with a car in US(2 of them alone) and 2 short trips.
    • Moved to Manhattan!
  • Learning
    • Learned pytorch, openMPI/MP, CUDA, SPARK
    • Learned how to write proper libraries with proper tests.
    • Learned crypto-currencies.
    • Learned sewing and some LED/EL-wire stuff.
    • Started learning tennis.
    • Improved at bouldering.
    • Improved in English.
  • Academic & Career
    • Submitted paper with Levent to the NIPS.
    • Got full time offer from Amazon.
    • Started earning money as a grader.
  • External
    • Broke-up with J.


  • Downtimes: I am not sure whether this was the case all the time. Maybe it wasn’t, maybe it was. Maybe I should write in Turkish, maybe not. But looking back to my diary I can see many times I complained about not having a goal and feeling lonely in my mind. I am not sure whether this is something that would get any better by thinking on it and reflecting. I am even not sure whether this is a waste of time. Is there a thing called waste of time when you don’t have a big goal? Do you have a big goal? What is that Utku? These are the questions keep coming to me.

  • Career in ML: Didn’t flourish in ML and spent a semester without research. Now I feel like I missed a train.

  • Friendships: I am not satisfied with friendships in US in general, I miss my friends back home. I think there is a trick here. Sometimes I feel like I don’t like people and I think this effects my relationships. I am happy by myself. Are you?

General Comments

  • I started this piece of text yesterday and I am trying to finish it today on the first day of the year. There are some things I want to point out. I need to assemble the parts. I have X amount of energy now and the amount can be changed in either direction. So what do you do? You can try to fix certain stuff or try to improve your capacity. Play your cards and what? What is the end that is the first thing you should ask.

I wrote the followings in my first trial, trying to reduce and reason

Creating Moments/Plan! -->Need to dream first! --> You need to look out for things to do and think of new things. Find new channels of information.
...constant happiness. --> Optimizing the way you live --> Be proactive and get excited about the change, be like a feather.-->Think of
...find inspiring people and things. --> Try-out new things and learn & Be sleepy. people. --> Find people to love & touch them. --> Increase your interest in others.
...know interesting people --> Try-out new things and learn and be happy about yourself stronger(mentally and physically). I want to be a fighter --> Attack things --> Find things to attack.
...minimize the stress in my life. --> Optimizing the way you live
...earn money-->aim goals in the career. more connected to the community --> find local gatherings&organizations.
...know yourself more. What makes you happy what think and remember
...not stuck into the old plans. I can forget it and re-discover.

I feel like there some main topics.

  • Career related Development
    • To back-log. Update goals.
    • Publish
    • Find new goals.
    • Meet with new people, enlarge the network
  • Personal Development
    • Find do interesting stuff
    • Find interesting people, love them
    • Learn new gathering
  • Every-Day Optimization
    • How to have fun
    • How to eat healty
    • How to exercise
    • How to generate time
  • Long/Mid-Term dreams
    • thinking about life and decide direction
    • Generate dreams and plan experiences

I feel like setting up a three month plan, but I don’t feel like it now. So I will postpone. For now. But this is the plan

  1. Setup a repo for various lists(like things you wanna do, dream list).
  2. Setup reminders for the following focuses. Focus is a session where you read the last focus report and backlog and generate a new one. Before starting go over the definition(what to focus, what to do) of each focus(first create them) a. Focus on your career related Development: every 1month b. Focus on your Personal Development: every 1month c. Focus on your Every-Day Optimization: every 2 weeks d. Focus on your Long/Mid-Term dreams: every 2 weeks
  3. After three months read your reports and evaluate and decide to stop or continue