Month++ - Autumn in Review: Fresh starts & finding balance 🍂

Nov 13, 2021 5 min read
Month++ - Autumn in Review: Fresh starts & finding balance 🍂

That’s right, I’m reflecting on a whole season again because the past couple months have been WILD. Lots of new things; let’s dig in.

Started my Masters degree in Computer Science

Fun fact: I took an AS Level in Computing back in my college days but dropped it because I didn’t do very well in it. This is my comeback!

My course is 100% online learning, which offers more flexibility with having a full-time job. Although even with the flexibility it’s been a little challenging getting used to studying academically again, but I’m starting to find my feet. I’ve completed my first module too, wahoo! In this module (Principles of Programming) we were looking at programming fundamentals with C and Java.

One thing that has helped me keep my student life organised is this awesome Notion template from The Notion Bar.

I use it to plan out when I’m going to cover certain lessons, and it’s where do my first pass note-taking. Keep an eye out for a future blog post where I’ll explain more about how I take my notes!

New beginnings in my career

My biggest milestone of this year is that I got a new job! Here’s the story.

Finishing my grad scheme seemed like a good time to reflect on my career goals. I gave my LinkedIn profile a refresh, and sat down to answer the question ‘What do I want?’. This isn’t always the easiest question to answer, but breaking things down into multiple, smaller statements helped to build a bigger picture and get more clarity on the general direction I want to go.

I am literally not even kidding, the next day I received a LinkedIn message from a recruiter with information about an opportunity that was pretty well aligned with what I’d written down, and although I wasn’t actively looking, I felt compelled to find out more.

I went through the interview process and was stoked each time I was moved onto the next stage. I did find it pretty out of my comfort zone to be interviewing after such a long time and I definitely wasn't unscathed by imposter syndrome, but I did have a really good experience with support from the recruiter at every stage, and also it helped that the company was super friendly, organised and helpful too. 🥰

It was also my first ever take-home coding project + technical interview - even if I didn’t make it through to the next stage here, it was such a good learning opportunity for me. It was a single-page application (SPA) using React + Typescript (something I haven’t used before) which I felt like I had fun with it whilst being positively challenged, and was super satisfying to complete by the end!

And so...I was really over the moon to receive an offer as a Software Engineer at HiPeople! (Currently hiring - check out open positions here - includes working student roles, tech roles + others 👩🏻‍💻)

“HiPeople enables you to make better hiring decisions, faster. Goodbye endless CV reviews and screening calls, hello data-driven and science-based applicant insights!”

HiPeople is a startup based in Berlin, and I’ll be working within the Engineering team, with 100% remote working but I get to go to Berlin on occasion too which is super cool. I am honestly really excited to be a part of the growth of the product alongside a fab team. 👊

“Much is written about the courage it takes to start – to start a new job, a new relationship, a new business or a new passion. Not enough is written about the equally important, equally courageous, equally confounding thing you usually have to do before you start something new – quitting the last thing.” - Steven Bartlett, 'Happy Sexy Millionaire'

Mhmmmm, this was hard. I’d been with Siemens for over 4 years, from intern to graduate to software engineer.  In a previous blog post I wrote about Things I Learned as an Intern and Graduate Engineer; my time there was a significant part of my life and I am super grateful for the experiences I had. I had a really lovely send off on my last day, and although I will miss my Siemens colleagues, I am feeling really positive about this next chapter. It will also be interesting to move from such a huge company to a significantly smaller-sized one! Let’s goooooo 🚀

Trying to keep balanced

I feel like in life we experience many cycles of chaos and order. This also brings me a bit of comfort in the fact that if my life feels a lil chaotic right now, it will eventually return to have some order eventually, and that this is just a temporary wave I gotta ride!

The last couple of months have been a bit overwhelming, and to try and make it more orderly for myself I started to cut down on some of my commitments to make things more manageable, and try to steer away from the path to burnout. As someone who wants to do and be involved in a million things, it wasn’t always the easiest to say no or quit, but ultimately were the best decisions for my health. This quote from Steven Barlett’s ‘Happy Sexy Millionaire’ resonates nicely:

“There is a fundamental limit to how many balls you’re able to juggle. So you have to choose which balls you want to juggle and which are the most meaningful to hold. The foolish endeavour to juggle them all will only result in failure.” - Steven Bartlett, 'Happy Sexy Millionaire'

I found it helpful to write out a mindmap of everything I had going on one page, highlighting my non-negotiable commitments that are most important to me and my goals, and eliminating or de-prioritising the rest.

Let’s go to the beach, beach, let’s go get away

Leaving my job meant using my remaining holiday days, and so we took the opportunity to have a 3-day getaway to chill out, reset and recharge before starting my new role. I found an amazing little Airbnb in Estepona (Spain) that was literally RIGHT next to the sea! A well-need, super refreshing break indeed.

Visit to the Orchidarium!
Sunrise Yoga!

Other notable things I found cool:

- Surpassed 300 Days of Code!

- Had a phone upgrade - switched from Android to Apple

- Discovered Obsidian

- Got curious about digital gardening+ loved the idea of things not being perfect but evolving (an amazing example from Maggie Appleton)

- Cosy Study Tools, curated by @codingwithki

- Youtuber Rowena Tsai

- Structured app for timeblocking (iOS)

- I lifted more than my bodyweight for the first time! (back squats, sumo deadlifts and deadlifts)


As the days get darker, the weather gets colder and we move into winter potato mode, take care of yourselves folks 💜 (+ it'll be Christmas before we know it 🎄)

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