First Week in Germany and Some Reflection

Being in Munich

Munich is a really incredible city! The trains here are reliable, go everywhere in the city and the suburbs, and are actually fast. In addition to the trains, there are tons of bikers and very few cars in the center of the city, making it a great city to walk in. There also bike lanes everywhere, that are pretty clearly marked. One of my favorite things is seeing many bikers lined up waiting for the lights to change, something I’ve never seen anywhere in the states.

We’ve done some hikes around the city too, yesterday we went to Chiemsee which is a lake in the south of Germany. Chiemsee has an island that has an unfinished replica of Versaille. As soon as the king who began the creation of the replica died, they just stopped making at abandoned it completely for many years and then they turned it into a museum. This palace was only used as a home for a total of 10 days! In addition to Chiemsee, we went to Kloster Andechs, a great hike to the west of Munich. At the end of the hike, we went to a beautiful monastary overlooking the alps.

Something I’ve noticed here is that the average person seems a lot happier here, probably because living is just generally easier. Things are relatively cheaper, social services are everywhere, and you don’t have to own a car to get around. My favorite part is probably the cafés everywhere, so many people just relaxing outside, “watching the world go by” (as my professor would say.)

Thoughts

Going into my final year at school has made me think a lot about what I wish I had known going into college. One of my favorite talks that I’ve heard in the past four years was on the same subject from Prof. Shivers. His talk was really incredible and his lesson that “90% of life is showing up” has proven so true to me. I think the other 10% is just doing. A few people have reached out to me about the best way to learn programming, and to me it’s just doing. It’s not just reading, it’s not just going to class, it’s just sitting down and spending the time to do it. More likely than not, there’s going to be a lot of roadblocks along the way. Maybe the code won’t build, maybe a deploy is failing to AWS, maybe you don’t know how to add some functionality; either way, the best way to learn it is by doing it. Reading up online or in a book will undoubtedly help, but for the learning to stick, it’s really best to use that knowledge.

One of the reasons that co-op is such a great program is because you get to be on the job, doing. When I was at Datadog, I got to learn about so many new technologies like Kafka, elasticsearch, and AWS. Being in an environment where I was free to work on these things where failure is okay (and won’t cause any external issues) is what made me love the work I was doing at Drift as a reliability engineer. Each step in co-op allowed me to figure out what I enjoyed and what I didn’t, solely because I got to do it. That in itself was an important lesson for me; I shouldn’t discount something I haven’t done yet. It’s so easy for me to say no to something that I think I won’t enjoy. Taking that learning from my job to my life has been so valuable to me.

As president of NU Hacks this year, I’m going to try and run some events that I wish I had as a freshman. Something that NEU struggles with is getting the CS community together. I’ve met some of my best friends two/three years later than I wish I did. In thinking of what may be useful, I go back to that talk from Shivers. Both in terms of its content, and the talk itself. Running an event where people could mingle easily and meet other people, how to do that though, I have no idea. I would also love to have a professor, maybe Shivers, maybe someone else, come in and give a similar talk. It could be so helpful to a lot of people.

That’s all for now!