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A summary for 2017, and some Resolutions.


2017 was a year full of struggles. Internal struggles, to be precise. That makes it harder – I think – because it feels quite lonely being the only one who knows what the problems are. There was not much room for growth, for I’m still slowly recognizing my mistakes.

In some way, I’ve anticipated this year. Just like the business cycles of the economy, I’ve had ups and downs, and I’ve learned the patterns. Often I have downs because I’m not motivated enough or unsure of where I am heading to. It’s no difference this time.

Historically, this “period of uncertainty” would often occur two years before the transition year to a new level – like the 7th grade, the 10th grade, and my 2nd yr in college. Historically, also, I have been able to pull it off when it truly matters at the very end.

This time, though, I’m not that certain. The only thing I am sure is that 2018 will have to be the year of giving it (my PhD) the best shot I’ve got. It’s either sink, or swim. (Actually, more like “swim, or swim in a different river”…). If it does not work out, I’ll have to find some other things that would be a better fit for me (on that end, I keep a long list of potential careers).


Let’s get on the bright sides of 2017. It was a year full of adventures. I went to 4 new countries, and revisited Thailand and Japan. I took my grandparents abroad for the first time to Thailand. My grandma loved adventures, so I was glad she got to see the things outside Vietnam for once. Finally, on the last days of 2017, I was able to come back to Kanazawa (a city in Japan) and reunited with my host family. I stayed with them 2 years ago, and this reunion was a blessing for all of us.


My involvement in UWC Vietnam was also a bright spot for 2017. The 2018 Selection (done in 2017) has somewhat ended, and I’m very glad that we have selected a very good batch of people for the next generation of UWCers from Vietnam.

I cannot say enough to express how much I appreciate Cat, Hai, chi Phuc, chi Tu, Matt, and other UWC Vietnam National Committee members. It took sometimes to warm up to this group of people, since all we do is work. However, I’m happy I’ve got to know each of you a little bit more every day. (And thanks Cat for sending me chocolates when I stayed up all night to grade UWC applications).


That’s it for 2017. Here’s my New Year resolutions:

  • Lose 15 kgs. Specifically, 2 kg for the first 3 months, and 1 kg for the remaining 9 months.
  • Re-practiced classical guitar. It’s a hobby that I’ve lost since I entered grad schools, and I hope to regain it.
  • Finish a paper that I’m proud of.
    I finished a few papers – but I’m not sure I’m proud of them. I’m working on an exciting project (to me) – hopefully it works out.
  • Take care of myself better.
    I’ve made so many excuses last year to not go to the gym, to eat unhealthy food, to have terrible sleep schedule, etc. This has to stop.
  • Keep good relationship with my “allies.” 🙂



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