2009 was another great year for me. I came back to the states from my semester abroad in China just after the new year, went back to China for the summer, and had two amazing semesters at Harvey Mudd.
My spring was very busy mostly because of classes in Algorithms and Galois Theory, both of which were very rewarding. A tradition I started last year of having a beach party continued this year, and was a nice break in the spring.
I went back to China this summer to work at Microsoft Research Asia, which was a great experience. I got to interact with parallel and distributed computing problems that actually interested me, and it got me excited about more challenging problems in Computer Science. I also got to travel a lot this summer, and went to Datong (inland from Beijing), XiAn (Near the middle of the country), Qingdao (On the coast), and up to Mongolia.
The last of these trips, a weekend that I went up to mongolia is probably the most memorable part of the year for me, and will stay with me for a long time. I took a bus up to the border of China and Mongolia, and hitchhiked both ways across the border. (Since you aren’t allowed to walk across and there aren’t any regular busses, hitchhiking is the only reasonable option.) I ended up meeting the family of the mongolian guy that took me across the border, and got to try to communicate with them in very broken chinese (which they spoke less of than I did) while he unloaded his jeep.
In the fall I buckled down and applied to several graduate programs in addition to school. The most interesting classes in the fall were Computer networks and Parallel programming, both of which got through important material, while also being very fun.
I recently got a job offer from Google that I am leaning towards accepting, although I still need to make peace with delaying graduate school.