Year in Review: The Surrealness of 2014

Post-hike on Huangshan

In the high-pitched voice of Elle Woods, I DID IT!

Elle Woods:

And to add a slightly more authoritative aspect: This concludes my 365-day-photo project.

I am forever grateful to the readers (gasp, not just my mom and dad?!) who stuck with me for the year that was by far the best year that I have ever had. The fact that I was able to document every day of it (sometimes with clever headlines) makes me even happier. Happiness. Sure, I could feel sad that the end has come to a year in which I…

Met and shook hands (ahem, twice) with PayPal co-founder and billionaire investor Peter Thiel.

Peter Thiel with BUzz Lab interns and SHA students

Had casual encounters with internationally acclaimed singer StromaeNew York Times’ columnist and my professor(!) for my final semester David Carr; YouTuber Wesley Chan from Wong Fu Productions; and YouTuber Jason Lee from Jubilee Project.

Proved what a serious fatass I can be (I could hyperlink hundreds of posts as examples), yet how I casually can run seven miles while being all photographer-like.

Went to a casino. Because 21.

Practiced yoga and finally decided to stop trying it when I know I leave questioning the entire concept of yoga each and every time.

Witnessed how cool of a cousin I think I am.

…and so much more. But I choose happiness.

After all, I lived in Shanghai for a quarter of the year, falling so much in love that I not only constantly feel so much nostalgia, but also have decided that I will do everything I can to ensure that I work and live in Asia after graduating. I discovered that, yes, I do see myself living (and, more importantly, eating) in a bustling Asian city.

But it wasn’t just Asia that captivated me. I traveled more in 2014 than I have in any other year…

Enjoying an all-expenses paid vacation with my mom in Panama before leaving for Shanghai.

Returning from Shanghai to travel even more, because the then-unfortunate fact was that, for the first time in my college years, I didn’t get an internship or job for the summer. But man, what a blessing in disguise. This summer’s adventures included…

Going on a spontaneous weekend trip to NYC with my parents.

Accompanying my mom on a work-related trip to Philadelphia and then enjoying ourselves in Chinatown—in July and exactly one month later in August.

It may come as a surprise, but not all of my adventures centered on food.

I camped in a tent for four days at Firefly Music Festival. And trust me, the food was nothing to rave about. But hey, music! And dirt. A lot of dirt.

2014 was the perfect year for this project. It’s not that I would not have taken photos (I mean, c’mon), especially when traveling, but the writing I did about these photos and my experiences is invaluable. I can’t wait to look back on these in two, five, and even 10 years time, reliving some of the best moments. I’ve been doing that throughout this year, even.

In Italy, for example.

What’s amazing is how much of these experiences involved my mom, dad, and/or sister—which is exactly what I need before graduating and leaving Maryland for longer than just a few months. #familybonding ❤

In Vegas.

In L.A., where my mom actually tried smoking hookah and nearly coughed up a lung—which we captured brilliantly on camera. Until she inevitably deleted the hilariously incriminating photo.

When the whirlwind of summer came to an end, I returned to Boston for my last fall semester of college, expecting to focus on my overload of courses rather than work. But then one day, I got an email from the events and operations coordinator at BU’s rebranded entrepreneurship center, the BUzz Lab, about a job opportunity, thanks to an unexpected recommendation by the director with whom I had worked last fall.

Soon enough, I found myself diving into the exciting ecosystem of startups and young entrepreneurship at BU and throughout Boston, volunteering at (and live tweeting from) Greenhorn Summit, designing flyers that made me freak out whenever I saw them around campus, covering the Beantown Throwdown at the beautiful District Hall, and—oh, right—meeting a billionaire.

And for some reason (okay, many good reasons at the time), I had switched to Team Samsung and quickly and easily found frustrations with camera speed and quality, which contributed to some less-than-ideal photos early on in the semester. It was only natural that I found myself back to Team iPhone a few months into this failed conversion.

Despite having a crazy busy semester, I did manage to experiment with cooking…

But I also ate out quite a bit. Because senior year. (LOL at the comparison of the number between photos of cooking and eating out—I had to stop myself from adding more to the gallery below. This is embarrassing. How am I not obese by now?)

I’ve also become scarily skilled at live tweeting—so much so that I dominated #MITCHIEF and the managing director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship called me out (“Sonia Su!”) at the end of his keynote. #proudmoments

Interestingly enough, I didn’t do much professional journalism this year, but I like to think I made up for it by blogging and spending my time to develop my knowledge of my coverage interests of tech and entrepreneurship. I attended my first AAJA conference in D.C. over the summer, where I got to participate in a Skype convo with award-winning AP photojournalist David Guttenfelder. In addition to the exposure I gained from working at the BUzz Lab, I enjoyed confirmation of the incredible growth of young entrepreneurship at Xconomy’s tech forum, thanks to a Stay in MA scholarship.

It seemed only fitting that my last weekend of 2014 was spent in—surprise, surprise—NYC, where I stayed in an Airbnb for the first time and spent the weekend eating, exploring, and…eating. I LOVED the exploration. Despite having visited the city so often this year, this last trip of the year seemed like one to a new yet familiar place—new because of where we stayed (the industrial part of Brooklyn [insert wide-eyed emoji here]) and where we went (Chelsea Market and High Line).

WHAT A YEAR. Are you sick of me yet? Given that all this and more happened in 2014, I can’t even begin to fathom what 2015 might look like. But here’s what I know I can look forward to:

  • Covering CES in Vegas,
  • Going straight from Vegas to the Bahamas and the U.S. Virgin Islands to enjoy the remainder of my last monthlong winter break,
  • Starting my final semester of college,
  • Taking a class with NYT‘s David Carr,
  • Interviewing with Princeton in Asia and hopefully getting the fellowship to work in Asia, if not WSJ Asia in Hong Kong,
  • Organizing and being a part of more exciting events with the BUzz Lab,
  • Traveling around Europe and Asia after graduation,
  • And, most importantly, continuing to blog every day, building my readership, experiences, and quality of life.

Phew. Thank you so much for going on this reflective journey with me. I seriously recommend trying this challenge yourself, whether it’s taking photos, blogging, or both! Please let me know if you do. I’d love to follow other people’s lives—in the least creepy way possible.

What will your day one be?