Year 2018

Anxiety’s like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you very far.
-- Jodi Picoult

The new year brings a time for reflection though its hard to say which year (2017 or 2018) was harder for me. In 2017, I lost my grandfather who was a strong figure in my inspiration for engineering and learning in general; and failing Team Canada U24 tryouts. In 2018, I feel like I lost myself. Although it started with the last ever semster of Mechatronics Engineering at University of Waterloo it definitely was not a strong finish.

The plan for 2018 was very different from execution. The plan was to play professional ultimate and start my master's at University of Toronto with focus on autonomous technologies. Right after my first exam I recieved a rejection from GOAT | RUSH (Elite Ultimate Frisbee Team) and had to continue tryouts for the 2018 ultimate season. I received my first major concussion during Maverick Tryouts due to an amatuer player. I was so frustrated with that because I had 5 more exams to go with one involving pure memorization. I ended up under performing in the finals which was really upsetting as I went into multivariable controls with near 100% with the potential to finish with the same grade. The concusion also drastically hindered my performance during tryouts for GT (GOAT's developement team). I was also rejected from University of Toronto since the professor never found the time to interview me.

This brings me to the start of May. I moved to Toronto and starting to work for Nymi (plan B I thought of in February) I failed the tryouts for GT, and commited myself to stay within the system playing for Toronto Roy. This wasn't an easy decision but it provided the opportunity to gain 28 brothers that gave me uncoditional support and allowed me to start collecting myself piece by piece over the course of the next 8 months. I was also ready to move in with my significant other, however, the relationship ended from the other side.

This ended a three year old long distance relationship with the person that literally now lived 10 minutes walking distance away. It brought a lot of anxiety, confusion and oblivion instead of the planned year. The breakup brought more than sadness; it brought anxiety attacks that eventually got me hospitalized. It may seem excessive, but living a lie for the past 8 months made me break myself and ignore my intuition which eventually broke reality when I found out the truth (the details of reasons are ommited for discretion).

At this time I felt stuck and unable to do anything but work, train and go to practice. I felt nothing but emptiness. Nothing felt worth it at the time, and even the simplest tasks felt impossible. This brought me to the all time low, and not being able to have social interactions with people which didn't make going to work an easy task. I became an insomniac, barely able to sleep, I started to live mostly at night and do all my work when others were asleep. Still managing to magically attend all my meetings and take on more responsibility at work. My supervisor was very understanding giving me freedom of independent tasks and projects as long as I met my deadlines. Adding to poor perfomance from Roy at No Surf and Jazz Fest, this brought the feeling of self destruction.

However, Roy created an atmosphere of family and opportunity for accomplishment as did Nymi. As time went forward, I zombied my way through days with very slow (but now realizing as incremental) improvement. Everyone on Roy put in work every practice, with scrims against GT and individual training, it created a support system for me to lean on. As well as being able to vent to my roommate I started interacting with the world again. I began rolling out projects and creating tools that are used by everyone on the firmware team, and Roy secured the last spot to go to Canadian Ultimate Nationals at Ontario Regionals.

At the end of the summer I had to make the choice to pursue my goal to secure a full time job that aligns with my vison to change the world. This brought another set of problems with my family, as I had to move back into my home north of Toronto. Getting along with parents wasn't easy, sometimes to the point of having to leave for weeks to study for interviews that can drastically change my life. At the end of 2018 I had the chance to fly out to Mountain View for a Google onsite interview, that in my opinion went well, however, my anxiety about the result grows exponentially with each day. Today I am trying to keep myself busy with the next onsite again in Mountain View with Loon (a GoogleX company) that I am equally excited for as I was for Google.

Looking back on 2018 now, I reconnected with many friends and new many new connections that I am very excited about. I have never felt more mentally resilient and tough at the end of this black path that seemed never ending. The past 8 months allowed me to focus on myself and exactly what I wanted. I hope that studying for the past 4 months will pay off as I enter the last rounds of interviews for my dream jobs.

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Pavel Shering | Author

Mechatronics Engineer