Julia Chou

Experiences From a 10 Day Silent Meditation Retreat

The latter half of 2018 saw me turn my attention towards focusing on personal development and self-improvement, and as part of these efforts, I began to explore ways to strengthen my emotional intelligence and self-awareness. I’ve paid a lot of attention to improving my physical fitness and nutrition for a while now, but I realized that one of my biggest shortcomings was failing to pay corresponding attention to my mental and emotional health. I wanted to be able to communicate better, understand others, and understand how to make more mindful, balanced, and deliberate decisions.

On Finding Solace From an Existential Crisis

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation

I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived

-- Henry David Thoreau

These two of Thoreau’s most famous quotes from Walden were the words that knocked me free from the clutches of an arrogant self-assuredness I hadn’t known possessed me in my sophomore year of college. In its place, I felt the creeping numbness of a slow existential dread. For most people, college is a time of self-exploration and self-discovery, a chance to test the limits of your own capacity and establish the foundations of your career. As for myself, I took to heart that very last goal to the exclusion of all others. I was going to graduate with a degree in Computer Science, snag a lucrative job in Silicon Valley, work for a few decades, save up money, and finally retire to an idyllic life squirreled away in a cabin in the woods where I would write the rest of my days away.

Sidekiq-ifying Emails at Reflektive

At Reflektive, we offer the option of sending reminder emails after kicking off performance review cycles in order to notify participants of that cycle that they should fill out their reviews. We used Delayed::Job, an asynchronous priority queue system pioneered by the Shopify engineering team, to handle the delivery of those emails.

Rot13 in Ruby

Just for fun, I decided to try my hand at implementing a Rot13 program, which is a simple problem which takes a string as its input and encodes it by moving each letter 13 characters forward or backward.