I know it sounds crazy to say considering the ongoing pandemic situation and so many unfortunate incidents, but this is true at least for me. This year was one of the most remarkable years of my life where I learned a lot of things not only career-related but also about people and life in general. I actually grew as a person.
Today, the last day of 2020, I was looking back and thinking what/how/who changed, how I grew, and most importantly what I learned. A lot of good and some not so good things happened this year. I couldn't resist myself from writing this blog post and sharing it with you people. A lot of things started popping into my mind but I have tried summarising the important ones into bullet points so that I can compare them with my learnings at the end of next year.
Found my true passion: During my internship period at Scoar, I found myself working days-and nights continuously for around 1 month with just 4-5 hrs of sleep on an amazing project. At this time I realized that I don't just like doing FrontEnd but I have a passion for building beautiful User Interfaces that people love to use and play with. I figured out that I can do it all day and night without feeling bored or tired. React.js continued to be my favorite tool for converting the ideas into reality.
Learned not to run on the ground if you can fly: This is a long story. I will write another post about it someday when the right time will come..when I'll feel that I have achieved something big. Long story short, I learned how to ignore everything that others are telling/doing and just focus on what you love to do.
This simple rule was easy to follow when I was in 1st and 2nd year but it became really difficult at the end of 3rd year of my college when our placement season started. Things were a bit different for me as compared to others. I was a core member of an early-stage startup and I had the responsibility of handling the Frontend of the whole platform (app), managing other team members, taking care of their code (collaborating on Github, merging their code, fixing merge conflicts, etc). This was a huge responsibility and I was not able to take out time to prepare for placements. Everybody but me was preparing for the job, doing DSA, apti, and all.. but what I was doing? wakeup-eat-ReactJs-sleep.
I remember myself panicking a lot sometimes thinking about what should I do. Should I also start doing what others are doing or continue to experiment with this startup? My friends often used to tell me "Tumko kya jarurat hai job ki. tumhara to fix hai.." but internally I was also very scared. In my whole college life, I was always involved in some work/internships and that too in the FrontEnd domain so I could not study course subjects (I know most of us don't do), do much of DSA or practice what is generally asked in placement tests/interviews.
Placement season started.. I gave some exams, cleared some but could not perform well in most. Especially the aptitude rounds were simply not doable for me. I somehow reached the interview round for the TCS (yeah, I am from a 3rd tier college and only these company visits our campus). The interview went very nicely.. I answered all the questions and was happy with my performance. But I don't know what they were looking for in a candidate that they rejected me (I even wore formals and tie in the online interview 😅). They didn't even care to give any feedback about why they rejected me 😑. Now I am thinking about why I even sat for such a company that was going to pay me even less than what I already was earning sitting in my room and that too along with attending college. After this incident, I took it as a sign of GOD and did not sit for any other companies. I knew about my expertise and decided that I should not participate in a race where I do not belong.
One important incident I will always remember. During this period there was a shift in my psychological state i.e the way of thinking. Since all of my friends were doing their own thing and sometimes in their own group, I started feeling left out. My thought process became so negative that I started to think that they are selfish and only care about themselves. I even cried (not really.. just a deep voice with some tears in my eyes) one day questioning them why they were doing this. But now I can see that it was a hard time and everyone was going through the same anxiety and pressure. I was too negative to think things like these. They are the best people in my life and I am proud of them. If you are reading this my friends, you guys really are the best. I am so fortunate to have a friend circle like yours. Love you all.
One more important thing, I am so thankful to all the people who supported me emotionally during this period. There were also some people in my LinkedIn connection (yeah, I don't have a girlfriend like others to talk to.. so in such an emotionally difficult situation, I try talking to people at LinkedIn 😅) who spoke to me on call to help me clear my doubts and guide me in the right direction. Thanks to everybody.
Accepted my first Full-time job offer: Although I started working from my 2nd year (more seriously from 3rd year) of my college, and have been a part of an amazing company Udacity I recently got an opportunity to become a part of another amazing company (DabbleLab, based in USA, full-time) as a Software Engineer. The best thing, they allowed me to start working right from the day I accepted the offer. I am loving working on different projects and learning new technologies every week. I am so much loving the people and what I am doing here at this company that I can repeat this... I am loving it (recursion 😉)
Became financially independent: This is what I am proud of. Being from a lower-middle-class family I know the importance of money and how hard it is to earn. I was fortunate to be able to start earning as early as from 2nd year of my college but 2020 was really at another level. From my self-earned money, I paid my college fees, cleared my education loan, bought myself all the fancy stuff I dreamt of having like an iPhone, a Macbook Pro (M1), a big fat 4k monitor, a personal home office/work desk setup, etc. It might not be a big deal for others but for me being able to do all these while still being in my college (I still have 6 months of college to complete) is just amazing and definitely a thing to be proud of.
Helped in building the careers of 1000+ people: I love helping people by sharing my knowledge. That's why I joined Udacity as a Mentor. At the end of 2020, I have mentored so many students, reviewed 1000+ projects, answered around 400 technical questions, etc. Most of the students at Udacity are working professionals who are learning new technologies to switch their careers or just to add more skills under their belt. I was fortunate enough to help them and be a part of their journey. It was so amazing to talk to people from all over the world and interact with so many talented people. Helping other and reading their feedbacks keeps me motivated and hungry to push myself and learn more.
Recently I was being appreciated for being one of the best mentors at Udacity. I was also chosen among a handful of top mentors to become an Auditor to audit peer performance and keep in check the quality of project reviews done by other mentors.
- Learned about people.. the good and not so good people in my life: I obviously can't discuss much about this in public but I can say that I learned who are the people in my life who truly care about me.. and who don't. One take away is that both types of people have a significant contribution to my personal growth and I am thankful for them. The people who love me-- I love you too.. other people-- I love you more ;) I think this much is enough to write...It's been 6 hrs since I started 😅.. I'll now stop writing more...
One fun fact, at this moment (as I complete writing this post) I am wondering if this story is worth sharing? What some of you guys will be thinking after reading this story of mine.. "Why this guy is sharing his story.. has he achieved anything big? He has not even been placed in a big company like FAANG.." but then I remember my 2nd point above. I don't care what others think. Your definition of big achievements/being successful/happy etc is different from mine. I know where I started from, where I am going and I am loving what I'm doing. I am very happy and this is what really matters at the end of the day... Man, I am following my passion... I know even bigger things are coming my way... I just have to keep working hard 🤩
Looking forward to experiencing even more amazing next year.. Welcome 2021 🎉
(Originally posted here)