Simulating remote worker trial out in the wilderness?

For three days last weekend, my family and I traveled east (just a tad 2 hours) to Angels Camp, Yosemite, and the Sierra Nevada region. In short, the wilderness and the majestic fertile lands that symbolizes California as a whole.

This may or may not be related to everything else presented here on The NINPOJineous, but I had the need to write this. This is more of a reflection entry than any web development tutorials or tech-related commentaries. However, it still relates to tech learning with a tie-in to the meaning of home. Sort of. When I was out there in the wilderness, I also imagined and simulated myself on how it would feel like to be a (freelance?) web developer (or a career that ties within that field) remotely. I brought my laptop with me 1 to my 3-day vacation as an experiment of imagining myself as a remote worker.

I have to admit, I was there as a tourist and not as a remote worker, so I spent less time on the laptop (except at nighttime) and more on exploring the areas I’m unfamiliar with. The good thing about this is that the Sierra Nevada region is only a short 2-hour drive from where I live. The Sierra Nevada region is also a haven of silence for many tech industry professionals in the Silicon Valley Bay Area, therefore lots of tech conferences hosted by big-name tech companies take place here. Enjoy conversations with your fellow peers, while enjoying and relax to the powerful nature and beauty of the Sierra.

When I was there, the cell phone signal was very weak. The complimentary wifi that my family and I received from the resort was only good for two devices. Otherwise, we have to pay some $30 for all 8 mobile devices including my laptop. I had to turn my very cheap, weak battery-powered smartphone into a hotspot because it can catch a bit of the cellphone signal while my Dad’s and brother’s iPhones can’t catch anything so that all of us would be able to use our mobile devices. The bad part though is that my phone is one of those cheap ones and the battery life for this only lasts half a day. I’m glad that I purchased a battery pack months ago because I knew this was going to happen, so I had it fully charged and support my phone with it. Not exaggerating. 😣

Anyway, I’m going off track here. What I want to write about is how we, regardless of the profession we may have, should take some time to get away from the bustling life that we live every single day. I’m not talking about an extra day for your weekend, but I’m talking about time in which you literally have to get away from the life you normally live, cutting off everything you were used to during your daily life. In general, that’s what vacations are supposed to be. It’s a way of relaxing and clearing yourself off of the “toxic” moments that have been troubling you. A vacation is an escape from it all. Exploring new and exciting places and things helps you clear up everything and start anew once you return back home. After some 3 years that I haven’t been traveling out of my hometown, I’m really glad that I did.

After 3 days of exploring the California wilderness, especially in a place that is one of California’s UNESCO heritage sites, 2 I come back with a new, clear, and refreshed mind. I don’t feel the stress that I have been feeling regarding my career goals and my life goals as much as I used to. I now know how to prioritize things in regards to my studying. And I can’t wait to go back over there again.

In regards to simulating my trial as a remote worker in technology, even though I haven’t spent my time on it, I still feel that my mind was a lot clearer and focused on the job at hand. I imagined myself being in a tech support role working remotely and I spent quite a lot of time in my Slack chats with my coding groups and my Skillcrush alumni groups and not going around wondering what I should be doing instead of me hanging around chatting with other people like me. I know it’s only three days, but I already have this good feeling that I really can see myself as a remote worker doing web development and programming. 3

In addition to just that, traveling to places you’re unfamiliar with, especially if you’re not that far from home (I get homesick a lot personally), really does help with your not-meditating meditation and reshifting your focus from your cluttered life you temporarily left behind. This especially helped with my ongoing online learning. I get distracted so much that I lose a lot of focus on my classes and then end up purchasing out on a whim on another class I may not even have time to take. Bad habits. Really bad habits.

To which also reminds me of one thing. As of Wednesday (the day I came back to work), it’s official that my family and I will be heading out for yet another vacation spot in November. I’ll talk more on that on my personal blog.

It is time to conquer my worst school subject (and in general) once and for all: Mathematics.

It was thanks to this 3-day getaway out in the Californian wilderness that I also have decided to challenge myself: conquering and owning my worst school subject since elementary school in the Philippines: Math.

Counting numbers is nothing. Taking out a simple (the keyword is simple) word problem into pieces is easy too. Proving something using given facts and theories laid out and adding some simple logic is wonderful. But dealing with complicated-looking formulas and equations with certain letters that are supposed to represent something is where it gets really bad. It only gets worse when we have to use these same complicated formulas and equations and methods when to solve a lot more complex word problems.

And because of this, I feel like a moron. Then again, every one of us is a moron of some things, but as for me, math is one of them. This also makes me the odd one out from the rest of my family because of math becoming my worst subject. I’m more of an arts and humanities kind of girl. My father was an accountant and ended up in various high-leveled management positions in accounting and treasury from private accounting firms to the state/county government. 4 My mom was also an accounting manager until we moved here from the Philippines, in which she made a career change to a pharmacy technician in both a hospital system and a private pharmacy. My brother is currently a systems engineer at some military weapons and armament company. My middle sister is a treasury analyst at a game engine company. 5 And finally, my sister is an architect down in L.A.

As a kid who went to a Catholic Montessori school for elementary level education, the only methods of math I can remember them teaching are the finger math method 6 and sensorial mathematics. 7

I chose two particular math classes on Udemy, because Khan Academy doesn’t have them:

  • Vedic Mathematics (so I can improve more on my jacked up mental math skills, plus I can refresh some arithmetic along with it too)
  • Discrete Mathematics (because it’s the closest study of mathematics that can be applicable computer science and engineering)
  • Calculus for Math Haters (because I went for Statistics, not Calculus, as my college-level mathematics class. Besides, Statistics was required for my major’s math class anyway)

A lot in the industry say that you don’t need to be good in math in order to enter the tech industry, even when your aim is computer science, programming, or development of any kind. But, regardless, it’s still a prerequisite, and when it comes to math, I’m very slow with it. The highest level of math I’ve taken during my college/university days was an intro course to probability and statistics and then I had to drop Inferential Statistics for a much more important GE 8 class required for my major. Statistics isn’t even considered a branch of mathematics, but there’s a lot of math involved in there, just like all the different sciences we are familiar with.

So far, so good. I don’t know why, I still loathe math to the end but I’m finding myself enjoying the first few lectures in Vedic Math and Discrete Math (with Discrete Math, it was all logic, and I love logic lol). I’ll still continue on with my Skillcrush all-access blueprint program and then take some time with more in-depth WordPress development learning.

I’ll get there, eventually. Now my next challenge is to combat my impostor syndrome and find the right words to market myself to many of these “homegrown” companies across the bridges or just a tad drive south of my hometown while I still remain in my hometown. 😁

I might write a bit about what I’ve learned in those math classes, which I know can be boring. We shall see.

On the sidenote…

  1. Primarily so I can upload my photos from my little camera so that the rest of my family can see them on a larger screen…
  2. UNESCO World Heritage Site #308
  3. Of course, I’d like to occasionally go to an office or a co-op space, whatever’s nearby and cheap.
  4. He worked as a fiscal director at the Alameda County Office of Education before he retired.
  5. Unity Technologies – she’s been getting me to search their job openings since she knows how much I love video games. She even tried me to enroll in some courses that would teach me how to create small video games using the Unity Engine so I can (possibly?) get a job from there… hmm… 😄
  6. Not the way that most people count using their fingers… this is something a little different… like playing the piano or typing on a typewriter…
  7. Though that is more for child development and doesn’t really apply to more advanced mathematical concepts. Bleh.
  8. general education