December 27, 2020

Reflections: 2020 Recap

I originally wrote the content below for our family’s 2020 end-of-the-year newsletter, then decided to post it on my blog as well (rather than writing up something else).

This year has been full of growth and surprises for me!

Career Highlights

  • I started my second job in April, interning as a web developer at a digital marketing company. Hours are flexible and pay is good, which I am grateful for!
  • Besides web development, I also began working on my UI design skills. I’ve enjoyed crafting landing pages and other pieces for fun.

Education Updates

In the fall, I began filling out and submitting college applications. I am still praying about where G-d wants me next year, but the options I am currently considering for Fall 2021 are (in no particular order):

  • transferring to UC Irvine as a computer engineering major
  • attending Minerva Schools as a computational sciences major
  • transferring to USC as a computer science or engineering (or combined!) major
  • attending Make School as a computer science major (I’m still undecided about whether this option should be an option; I haven’t applied to Make School yet or anything — well, I haven’t applied to USC yet either)

Getting into Minerva was definitely one of the highlights of the fall semester for me! I hadn’t expected to be admitted, so it came as a surprise — I initially only applied because the application fee was $0. The downside to attending Minerva versus UCI or USC is that I will be starting over as a freshman, rather than transferring as a junior. However, I will get to travel to Seoul, Taipei, Berlin, Hyderabad, London, and Buenos Aires as part of my last three years at Minerva. (That’s assuming COVID-19 doesn’t get in the way, of course.)

Fun Stuff!

Near the end of the fall semester, I decided I was going to spend part of my three-week winter break picking up new hobbies: bookbinding and knotting. Now that winter break is almost over, I’ve decided to try jewelry-making and surprise-box-making as well. But we’ll have to see how much “hobby time” I can actually squeeze in once the spring semester begins.


  • This summer, we drove from California to New York for our family road trip! We stopped by many states along the way, including Ohio, Michigan, and Tennessee, just to name a few. It was fun visiting friends and attending the Ohio Scriptorium, one of my favorite parts of the road trip, except I worked or studied most of the time.
  • In the fall, we drove to Texas for the National Bible Bee Competition. This year, due to the coronavirus, only semifinalists were allowed to go to San Antonio to compete. Anabel represented the Chen family in Junior Semifinals this year!

Favorite Quotes This Year

  • You have to push yourself. No one else is going to do it for you.
  • The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.
  • The days that break you are the days that make you.
  • If you shoot for the moon, you might just land among the stars.

What About 2021?

Next spring, I plan to finish up my Associate’s degree at Santiago Canyon College. I have only two GE classes left, which I will complete by the end of January.

In the summer, I’m looking forward to attending the Ohio Scriptorium with my family again! I’ll probably also be working on learning how to drive (the process is much easier when you’re 18). I’m not planning on taking summer classes, so hopefully I’ll be at an internship somewhere.

As for fall . . . the “Education Updates” section above lists all the details.

There is something else I’m waiting on that could throw a curveball at my 2021 plans, but nothing is set yet. I’ll probably know within a month.