My 2016 Projects and Plans

What do I want to do in 2016? I thought I’d collect all my notes in one place and organize them, and then I thought: why not make it public? A little accountability always helps! I’ll be updating this page once a week.

Big scary goals and guiding principles

  • Make learning and teaching a regular part of my life.
  • Main area of study for the year: math and computer science!
  • By the end of the year, decide what career I’d like to pursue next. (Currently leaning towards software dev, as of 1/1/2016.)
  • Continue to grow the Learn to Code LA community and turn it into a real nonprofit organization.
  • Experiment with creative projects and documentation to share what I’m learning.
  • Make two or three close friends.
  • Reduce the frequency and severity of my anxiety.
  • Do everything I can to prevent a relapse of depression.
  • Decrease my reliance on my family for emotional support and take deliberate steps towards being more independent.

January projects and events

Updated as of January 10th, 2016. (See changelog below for a record of all changes.)

  • DONE: finished making 100 video blogs in 100 days, woohoo!
  • Gradually transition to less frequent video blogs to share my learning process. To decide: do I want to put more time into each video, or spend less time overall on the videos?
  • Start the NAND2Tetris course to learn how to build a computer from first principles.
  • January 4th and 18th: Teach two JavaScript workshops for Learn to Code LA and continue to find more volunteers and partners.
  • DONE: January 8th: Give a talk at a local high school for girls interested in computer science.
  • January 21st - 24th: Go to my very first tech conference, the Southern California Linux Expo (SCaLE)!

Personal changelog

Extending the software development metaphor for cognitive behavioral therapy, I thought it would be fun to create an actual changelog for my self-improvement project! I will update this every week, with changes in reverse-chronological order:

Version 0.0.2, 2016 Week 2, January 10th

  • New rule: instead of using words like “fix”, “bug”, “wrong”, “fail” or “broken” when discussing my self-improvement project, I will only use positive or neutral words like “experiment”, “observe”, “accept” and improve”. I don’t need to change anything about myself; I just want to improve because I enjoy the process. Self-acceptance means being able to say about any of my attributes, “That’s not a bug, it’s a feature!”
  • New rule: plan to arrive 30 minutes early to any event that makes me nervous so I can meditate before leaving my car.
  • New habit: morning routine now includes a walk to another location for my first work session.
  • Removed: volunteer math tutoring commitment. (Focusing on computer science related volunteer work instead.)
  • Postponed: side project idea to relearn sections of Rhapsody in Blue, documenting it and reviewing old video footage of my 2014 practice sessions.

Version 0.0.1, 2016 Week 1, January 3rd

  • Added: This CHANGELOG (inspired by Keep a Changelog), to track the project of reprogramming Liz’s brain and to serve as a fun example of the confluence between software development (especially open source) and cognitive behavioral therapy. (Not sure how well I can follow Semantic Versioning, though.)
  • New rule: schedule shared activities with my family prior to visiting them.
  • New rule: schedule something fun or social for the day after my planned family visit.
  • New habit: publish a daily blog post to share what I’m learning.
  • New habit: weekly check-in and self-therapy vlog.
  • New habit: morning routine: exercise, meditate, laugh, do a short personal check-in.
  • New guideline: 36 hours of focused work per week: 15 hours studying computer science, 15 hours for video production, 6 hours for meetup group organizing.

Version 0.0.0, pre-existing architecture

  • Practice piano 15 minutes a day. (As of 1/1/2014)
  • Practice math problems for 15 minutes a day. (As of December, 2015)
  • Evening routine: shower, stretches, read a book in bed.
  • Commitment to be a volunteer math tutor for 2 hours per week. (As of December, 2015)