Skip to content

Never-graduating Checkout: Reflections on my batch at RC

Posted on:February 12, 2024 at 12:00 AM

Never-graduating Checkout

Inspired by our end-of-batch reflections and @Julie Bodian (she) (W1’23)’s last batch checkin, I wanted to collect some thoughts before moving on to the “alumni channel”.

Here’s all the projects I worked on in order

This output seems to be quite small comparatively. I realized I went all-in on graphics stuff for my batch, and any explorations where I went outside of that brief were aggressively integrated into my graphics projects. I’ve done very little Brownian ping-ponging.

Post-RC Realizations

There are no gods

The key thing I’ve learned from RC, is that books are magic, but computers definitely aren’t. From hanging out programming in C with @Jacob Vosmaer (W1’23) , to learning about AI and Machine learning with @Régis Schiavi (he) (W2’24) and @Changlin Li (he) (F1’23) , everything that I thought was inaccessible could be completely demystified even with a 30 minute chat!

I gained confidence that I can get the results that I want from pretty much anything, which feels great if you’re a humanities major with imposter syndrome.

What I want is weird

The best thing about RC are the people. And the thing about everyone I’ve met here is that they’ve invested a lot in their crazy points. They create real, wild, art with the craft they’ve gathered.

I think that’s why Impossible Day resonates so much. It inspires me to want to work on IMPOSSIBLE WIERD stuff. Like, world-changing, probably unprofitable, hilariously wacky things. I’d love to hear from people what they think that could be. Here’s one example: Interspecies communication via ML or something (lets just talk to whales, okay?).

Post-RC Reflections

Did I work at the edge of my abilities?

This is tough to say, because the goalposts keep moving, which I suppose is kind of the point. In terms of “genre”, I think I did not work outside my comfort zone, keeping myself firmly in graphics land, with the exception of ML. However, I’m super proud of that foray into ML! In terms of ability, I feel like I progressed a lot in my understanding of shaders, and at the end of this I feel like I can express myself more-or-less. I feel like I could have gone wider, especially by learning new programming languages.

Did I build my volitional muscles?

I was “fearless in doing what interests me”, to the extent where I’m worried I missed out on a lot of cool groups and projects that I would have enjoyed, had I tried them out. I was very single-minded during my batch to work on my procgen projects. I’m skeptical I progressed enough on them to justify that, though.

Did I learn generously?

I think this is where I came up short the most. I didn’t do any presentations (although I might after the batch), and I found it difficult to keep up with what the community was up to on. That’s mostly because I was wildly disorganized. On the “B”-side of the batch, I increased the amount of pairings I’ve done, which I identified as being the most time-effective way of learning new things for me. I’m not sure if anyone got any value from me showing off or pairing on my projects, but I hope somehow my stuff could inspire others, in the same way that I feel like the entire topic of procgen is so dang cool and I always love to see that stuff.

If anyone wants to pair on stuff, let me know, especially leetcode, because I’ve never done that kind of thing before and I’m nervous to start!

What I didn’t do

I wanted to learn more about web assembly and webGPU during my batch. I also wanted to improve the procgen terrain GAN, by improving its output and allowing user input to the model. I also didn’t do any presentations, mainly because I’m a chicken 🙈.

Ahem, anyways…

I’m so honored and grateful that I was able to do this with all of you. You all inspired me and helped me grow as a programmer. It was also a pleasure to explore New York with ya’ll, and I had so many great convos that will stick with me forever.

Of course, I’m not going anywhere (nevergraduate!), so find me in the alumni checkins <3