This year in retrospect

Caution: [abnormally] high levels of egocentricity are present in this blog post and it’s therefore probably not of interest to anyone but myself :P

My last set of secondary school exams

Academics

In approximate descending order of success:

Computing

Despite doing this outside the timetable, I feel computing has been my greatest success this year. I learnt the entire syllabus over the course of a day from a book and managed to do every question on the paper (the proportion of my answers that were correct is a whole different matter), became the lead developer of Firefly’s secondary product and used that work for the A2 computing project, did some really cool (theory-based) personal projects (1, 2), was invited to the next round of the British Informatics Olympiad (which I unwillingly turned down for Chemistry) and got a Google internship offer (which I was also forced unwillingly to reject by time constraints).

Physics

The olympiad was a complete disaster, but I had the best physics teacher in the world teaching me (CAPS), and in terms of learning stuff and inspiration, this has by far been my best year for Physics. The sheer amount, level and depth of material we went through this year is incredible. And I now have a beautiful, high-quality set of notes which I will probably be using as reference material throughout my university course and beyond.

Chemistry

I’ve discovered I’m frankly hopeless at this subject – especially the organic side – but by some freak accident managed to get into the second round of the chemistry olympiad. So apart from one success, it’s not been a great year.

Maths

Maths has been an unmitigated disaster for me this year. I attained a ‘certificate of participation’ in the *first* round of the UKMT, needless to say not progressing to BMO. I seem to have got even worse at mental arithmetic and my inability to complete any of the STEP 3 questions from this year is a fitting end to my ‘career’ (as TCIM put it) in the subject.

Academics dash (mathmos will get this)

Work aside, it’s been a fantastic year. In the first term I revived my interest in sailing by taking the games half. I also started juggling again, made some youtube vids, shifted my bouldering red point from V0 to V4 and onsighted a couple of V3s, co-developed universityinterviews.com (and am collaborating on something else with the same developer), finally started on Bach’s Ciaconne (from the second partita for solo violin in Dmin), performed the 2nd mvt of the Franck Sonata, made a piano arrangement of Bohemian Rhapsody, picked up scottish dancing, ceroc and catapulting (with a Barnett Black Widow), and discovered the wonders of G&T and tweed. It’s a fitting end to my time at St Paul’s and hopefully a taste of years to come!

EDIT: Oh yeah, and I also met Jimmy Wales and Tim Hunt :P

Summer

I’ll be hiking in the Skye Mountains (the furthest north I’ll have ever been), driving to Spain with my parents, doing some more work for Firefly, going to Florida to watch a NASA rocket launch (hopefully), travelling even further north to Norway to launch a CanSat, then finally flying to Stanford to start a new life (kinda). I’m really looking forward to all that; it should be an amazing summer and I’ll probably wear out the shutter button on my camera :)

Pax

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