SHAD Day 1


Yay! Today is the first day of SHAD! Also, it’s the first time I go on a flight all by myself. Good thing it was a domestic flight, I really don’t want to experience the border control hassle. The flight was smooth, it’s probably one of the best times that my ears have experienced on each flight that I went on. The internal pressure was controlled very smoothly. Thanks! Once I arrive, I went straight to the luggage claim location. And that is where I met the SHAD people who are picking me and three other people up. To be honest, I still don’t understand why did the other 15 people choose the early flight that is like an hour early than mine. They were waiting for my flight for an hour anyways at the airport… They should’ve just went on my flight and sleep an extra hour!!! I don’t know if it is the people or the environment, but everyone was so friendly. They were all active in saying hello to me and shaking my hand. As a not-so-popular person, it really feels great when other people start to talk to you first. I One thing that I still kind of struggle is remembering people’s name!!! I am terrible at remembering people’s name. and I know that it is disrespectful sometimes if I forget their name always. For my future reference, I’m going to write down the names that I remember as of Day 1: Will, Shahan, Harry, Daniel, Jason, Victor, Anthony, Meisa, Michael, Thomas, Cindy, Linda (GOD), Annie, Jessica and, Grace. Sadly, believe it or not, I can only recall these names as of the morning of Day 2… Hopefully, I will remember more people’s name!!! We didn’t do much today other than a very sketchy scavenger’s hunt and painting our hand on a really big canvas. Honestly, people are so nice around here. I personally am not a popular kid in my high school, so I’m always the one who starts a conversation. It feels a lot different here at SHAD, people are just so outgoing and most importantly friendly. When I first saw them, Grace was the first person to call my name out “Are you Mark?” I first didn’t respond, because I wasn’t used to and expect people to call my name. Overall, it was just really such an experience that I haven’t really experienced before ever in my life, it surely feels great! I can’t wait to experience a month of SHAD!!! My computer actually died half way during when I write this blog so… uh a lot of words are gone! I learned my lesson, always save! Ok, so let’s move on to tomorrow’s blog!

SHAD Day 2


Today is the first full day of SHAD! It was all packed and I had no time to rest at all! Although we sat ON THE GROUND for like around 5 hours. OMG, my back still hurts!!! Honestly, I have mixed feelings for today. In my opinion, the morning “discussion” session was unnecessarily long and inefficient or even pointless to be critical. So basically, we had a discussion on either we are allowed to be in other people’s rooms. The majority said yes, but there is an unknown minority (because we had our heads down). It turns out we had to limit ourselves from going to each other’s rooms because of the minority since we need to endorse inclusiveness. I completely agree with the idea of inclusivity; however, I am critical about the amount of time we spent trying to figure out what “middle-point” we can take so that the majority can agree with the minority. We spent roughly an hour debating trying to figure out what would make the minority to be ok with the choice of most of us. The problem here is, we spent an excessive amount of time trying to GUESS what they want instead of just letting them have an anonymous “improvement message” written and submitted so that later we can be focusing on what they are concerned about. We literally finished breakfast at 9 am and went right into this debate and had lunch at 12 pm. During that 3 hours, we didn’t do anything but this. I really think this should be improved upon greatly, I observed that most people lost their attention around half way. I really hope I was the only one that is complaining, but the truth is, most people are too concerned about this excessively long “process”. Ok, enough ranting! After lunch we went outside did some really fun physical activities for like two hours or so, (I got burned by the sun ☹). It was really fun, I got to know a lot more people and got even closer to people I already knew. We got our “rekt” team, I hope that’s how we supposed to spell. I think is just the “fun” team, there were five teams, and made cheers. ALSO, MY TEAM Won!!! YAY! Satisfied. After that, we went back inside and took “lecture” on the ground about bridges. Linda, Harry and, I were on the same team for building bridges with spaghettis. I got to know Linda, she is a very roastive person -_- … Finally, it was also fun knowing that Cindy was best friend with Alyssa back in the elementary school days!!! The world is small!! I’m going to sleep now, I am really really tired! Good night! See you tomorrow!!!

SHAD Day 3


Three days into SHAD, how will I define it using three words? SHAD is: LIT, Vague (for a good reason), and just packed! Whenever I start writing this blog I browse my brain for what happened today. I just feel like we did so much stuff! I feel like a day at SHAD is a lot longer than at home. (The better long not the boring long). Today was quite interesting, we got our SHAD House Project where we are divided into groups of 10 and then make a comprehensive solution to solving a prompt question. This question is common to all SHADs through Canada. This year’s topic revolves around how we can reduce the energy footprint of Earth. We also went to a very cool workshop on how to make prototypes. I personally got a chance to work with Arduino, it is my first time playing with this type of computer. I got to learn how to control the intensity of a motor. I really did learn a lot. Today we had our first guest speaker for SHAD! This dude is Johnathon Bixby, a very ambitious entrepreneur explaining the “DNA of entrepreneur” to us. I really did find his speech very interesting, because his speech is three hours long yet I didn’t fell asleep. His philosophy in life is “Be a good husband and a good father”, he revolves his life based on this simple yet very powerful philosophy. As a business person, he taught us how to deal with people and how to get things done. Although he is a very funny and intelligent person, some of the SHADs including a little bit of myself is somewhat critical of his advice. This is because he was born to a very lucky family (Very very very rich family), he did not have to worry about his university tuitions and he had many connections due to the large family that his family owns. In fact, his first job was a team manager, and the reason why he got it was because his brother recommended him to the company. I really did enjoy his speech regardless of this criticism that have aroused because although they might be biased, it enabled us to see the world through the lens of a very ambitious entrepreneur. After this three hours long lecture, we went back to our residence. Ok, so all these things aside, what I enjoyed the most today was my conversation with some fellow SHAD members. We had a very deep discussion on some metaphysical philosophy as well as some astronomy. Being a not-so-social and nerdy person, it is not so often that I can get people to listen to the stuff that I talk about. Many people when they hear the term, philosophy, they just immediately turns away and leaves the conversation. And I do understand this, many people don’t find questions like “Is anything random in the world?”, “is the world deterministic?” interesting. However, I was very surprised about a number of people at SHAD that was interested in those topics and are willing to spend their rest time talking about these topics. We talked from 11 pm all the way to 1:30 am, 2.5 hours straight. I very much enjoyed talking to people about these ideas that I have, it allows me to understand these intriguing topics from the perspective of others. I really wants to write more, but I really gotta go for breakfast. In case you didn’t know, being on time is a very important thing to do at SHAD.

SHAD Day 4


Another day of SHAD! Hoorrrayyy. Just like the past few days, we had no idea what the schedule will be (#TTP Trust The Process). Today started off continuing the prototyping project that we started yesterday with the Arduinos, our team made some significant progress. It was a very good learning experience for me to get my hands dirty with some hardware. I’m like a hardcore software guy, so having this experience in hardware have widened my ability in robotics. After this prototyping project, we had our first math lecture on number theory. We learned what prime numbers are, and some special properties of it. Although I knew like 90% of the materials taught, the way that it was taught to me felt different than in a high school or an elementary school. It was taught by a university professor. Math is one of my favorite subjects, caused me to really enjoy this lecture. After that, we went to UBC’s business building to meet with two guest speakers who owns “Blow” and “Watson”. They taught me how to communicate with people effectively and efficiently while decreasing the conflict level. It was really fascinating to me learning how to communicate professionally. After listening to the guest speakers, we got into our committees and had our first meeting. I’m personally in the coffee house and variety show committee, people in my group will be responsible for organizing these two events. Our responsibility includes scheduling the performances, renting instruments that people might need for their performance and purchase snacks for these two events. Soon after this, we started to present our SHAD biography tile. In my opinion, it took way too long for us to present, it took us 2.5 hours straight, we did nothing but the presentations of the bio-tile. Especially when we had to sit on the ground for such long periods of time, people’s attention span has been decreasing very quickly. I was exhausted. The best time of every day is after 10 PM when we have free time to hang out in the common room. Yesterday we had a very interesting philosophical discussion on the concept of randomness and determinism. Today, however, me and two other friends of mine had a discussion on the idea of passion and why some people have a strong passion and some don’t. After this, I got a chance to play the piano for a while. I practiced “Winter Wind” from Chopin and improvised jazz piano for a while. I’m going to end blog for today now, come back tomorrow!

SHAD Day 5


Today started off with a session of our month-long SHAD house project that focuses on reducing the energy footprint of Canadians. We got a mentor that is an entrepreneur to assist us on the entirety of the project. He started us off with asking us the question that asks what we feel like can be improved in terms of energy footprint on an individual level. We organized two full pages of project ideas. However, I am not very satisfied with the outcome of this meeting. Although we brainstormed many ideas, we failed to make an efficient and inclusive conclusion on what we should do for the project. We then moved on to a lecture that relates to energy by Neurio. This is honestly the worst guest speaker so far, for the hour long “lecture” she spoke nothing else than her company’s product, it was basically like an hour long advertisement. Right after lunch, we continued to work on our prototyping machine with Arduinos. I think we were successful, our project worked as intended and I learned a lot about how to use and code in Arduinos. What made me really happy was my SHAD Speak on Artificial Intelligence and some associated moral philosophy. I got 7 minutes to introduce A.I.s to my fellow SHADs, they were all very interested. This is exactly what made me feel like SHAD is an experience like no other. This is because, if I were to talk about this in my high school, it is impossible for the majority of the people to be genuinely interested in this topic. However at SHAD, people are so interested that they even ask me questions after my presentation. I’ll get back to this. After going through some SHAD Speaks, a guy that works for an environment company gave us a lecture identifying some factors that have impacts on energy footprints. After this activity, 60 of us divided into different groups made a time line that goes all the way till year 100,000 with the predictions of some significant events that might occur. Favorite time of the day incoming… Although there was a curfew time because we will be going camping for the next three days, many people wanted to ask me more questions about A.I. and simulation theory. We had a comprehensive discussion on how we as in humans might be living in a simulation, and how we can find out either we are living in a simulation or not. We concluded that in order for humanity to determine either we are living in a simulation or not, we must try to create a simulation ourselves that is as real as reality. This also lead us to think that the “real” reality might have reached a peak intelligence era, and concluded that in order for humanity to survive forever, we must create nested simulations. Nested simulations can be created if the creator give the simulated worlds the goal that to find out either if they are living in a simulation or not, in which will cause that simulated reality to create simulated reality to prove that they are living in a simulated reality. This loop will continue to perpetuity. To be honest, it was one of my best conversations with people ever. The thing is, there were 5 people that are listening to me attentively and sacrificing their sleeping time just to listen to me. I felt very special and very glad that I came to SHAD for this experience. I realized that the stuff that I do at SHAD is far less important and influential than the people that I met at SHAD.

SHAD Camping Day 6 to 8


For the past three days, we went camping on an island that takes roughly an hour boat ride to get to. We were there for two nights and three days, and I really enjoyed it. Originally, I thought I wouldn’t like it because I am super super super afraid of insects or just anything that isn’t human, but it turns out I really enjoyed it. Although I didn’t get to shower for two nights ☹, the activities that we did together really bonded us together in a very special manner that aren’t likely to happen in any other events. We did many physical and intellectual activities together, some of the ones that I remember vividly are: High ropes, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, appreciation activity, and hanging out around the camp fire. We did more than what I just said, but those are the ones that really appealed to me. High rope was memorable to me because I really didn’t expect myself to be able to reach the top. I’m not a physically fit person, and the rope seemed to be very difficult. I think sometimes I really need to believe in the impossible. I never thought it would be possible for me to get there, but with all my teammates cheering for me, it really gave me the courage and the perseverance to continue my journey upwards. Without the strong support from my friends, I would never have reached the top of the high ropes. Since we are on an island, we also got a chance to experience many water activities. For a fact, I’ve never tried canoeing, kayaking, or paddle boarding before. Words can’t describe how excited I was to try something that I always wanted to try but never got the chance to. Although I did fall in the water when I attempt to stand up on the paddle board, I ultimately learned how to balance on the board. Shout out to Grace Geng for encouraging me (and providing me with peer pressure) to convince me to attempt to stand up. It really brings back to my original point, SHAD isn’t good because of what we do here, its about who we do what we do with. Simply put, it’s about the people. Everyone are just so encouraging and so easy to talk to. The positive encouragement really brought warmth to my heart. Really made me believe, communication and having health relationships with people is the single most important skill to have in order to be a successful individual. Speaking of the people around me, the other activity that almost made me cry was truly unique. We were told to make a 60-person circle, and close our eyes. Then the staff will tap on some people’s back to let them step out of the circle and open their eyes. The staff member then said 8 statements on like “Tap on a person’s back if she/he made you laugh”. So people that were outside of the circle was going around the circle and taping on every person that he/she feels like fits the statement that the staff member made. This really made me realize how much of an impact that I had on this community and what this community thinks that I should improve on. I counted the number of taps on my back, I realized that I got the least tap in “if this person is a leader” and the most tap on “if this person changed your view on something”. I am very grateful on those people who appreciated me being a part of this community. I am also very grateful of the ones that did not tap on my back, this proves that this person is being very honest and not taping everyone on the back. This allowed me to feel even more special. Right after this, we went to a camp fire place and continued our appreciation by giving everyone a chance to say thank you to others. Overall, I realized the camping trip isn’t about what landscape or what new activities that I did, it is more about the people that I experience the experience with. It really enabled a deeper bond with everyone that was here.

SHAD Day 9


Today kicked off with a very inspiring lecture on meditation, how that can improve our everyday life. How it improves our productivity and social life. We learned how to “SLOW DOWN”. How some times slowing down can actually make progress goes faster. Then we moved on a math lecture taught by Kyle on the concept of infinity and probability. Then we had some committee time for working on coffee house budgets. Then we had a python programming workshop which I really didn’t learn much. But it was really nice to see how easily people gets interested in programming. As the evening activity we had a talk on mental health and just discussions.

SHAD Day 10


Today is also one of those days that I kind of procrastinated on writing blogs, so that means I’m writing this blog, not on the day of or the immediate morning that follows. The consequence is that I might not be able to go into details with high accuracy. Today began with a lecture on the types of business plan models, introducing us to some business management approach. I personally found this lecture to be very boring and kind of useless, because I found myself knowing most of the content even when I’m totally not a business guy. Instead of listening (or sleeping like many others) I started to do some research on my house project. I really want to talk about the idea here in the blog, but considering people at SHAD might be reading them, I don’t think my team members with me leaking some “confidential” information. All that I am going to say is that the project required a lot of technical research that I and my team have no knowledge of. I had to read many scholar papers which I don’t understand 99% of the math, chemistry, and physics that they used. After this boring lesson on business models, we continued the Python programming workshop. As a relatively experienced student in computer science, I found the problems and the lessons to be quite underwhelming, however, most people seem to be very interested. I forgot what happened in the afternoon, but I just remember that the cafeteria was very crowded with hundreds of elder ladies and youngsters from China. The cafeteria was so crowded that most of our SHAD group had to eat outside on the grass. Our evening activity was very fun, it was called, wait for it, SHAD Olympics. All of the SHAD staff members were wearing Greek-clothing (those white things that you wrap yourself around). We did many different activities such as “grass is lava” so we had to place cardboards and garbage bags to step on so the entire team can cross from point A to B. By the way, our team actually won!!! I didn’t expect that to happen to be very honest with you. We literally broke every game that we played. For the floor is lava, the team who used the least time to transport all of the members wins. So, what we did was just wrapped the garbage bag around our foot and then just literally walked to the other side. There were two other games, but since I’m a very lazy person, I’m not going to write about it (I’m writing this blog like couple of days after the actual day anyways… so lesson learned procrastination is bad!) Anyways, this is all that I am going to write for today. I hope I can catch up on those blogs!!!

SHAD Day 11


Today was a packed day as expected. What is special about today was the run that I had. The morning run was actually very awesome. It is about four years that I haven’t gone on a morning run (or any run really). Meisa, Michelle, and I ran to the beautiful rose garden that is on the UBC campus in the morning. We ran there, but since none of us were fit, we were all exhausted which caused us to walk back to the residence. But overall, I definitely would run again. After breakfast, we had some committee time, I’m in the coffeehouse and variety show committee so during this meeting I worked on compiling the budget for the coffee house event. To be very honest with you, I wasn't very productive, I slacked off a couple of times. Then we moved on to have a lecture on business stuff, which I didn’t really care. So, I can’t remember so topic so I can’t write it. Then we had a very interesting lecture on debate and public speaking. This was one of the better lectures we had, I know myself very well that I’m not very good at debating. I often just get really triggered and starts to get very passionate. Our speaker gave us a couple of good debating techniques and communication techniques. I found them all to be very helpful towards me. This is the thing I love about SHAD, I not only learn about cool sciency stuff but also “soft skills” such as communication with different people with different background. Right before dinner, we went to the engineering building to learn more about the engineering program at UBC. After that we got to chat with a couple of 4th year engineering students and had dinner with them, we got some insights as to what courses to take in high school and just generally some life tips. We were all in business casual, but we all had to run all around the campus for a scavenger hunt. It as pretty funny TBH, seeing bunch of random high-schoolers in formal cloth running around… As the closing activity, we were once again challenged to build bridges. This time we had to use newspapers and tape to build bridges. It was really fun since we thought so out of the box that we just used the roll of the newspaper as the bridge. Essentially, every group expects for one group passed the maximum testing payload. This is all that I’m going to write today, I’m still catching up on those blogs… See you!!!

SHAD Day 12


Today was one of those days that I really enjoyed (for the most part). Today kicked off by a SHAD House group project meeting, we got a chance to talk to our awesome mentor about our ideas and narrowing them down to the ones that we find reasonable. To be very honest, I feel like our team got carried really hard in terms of brainstorming the idea. Our mentor came up with an awesome idea after an hour long discussion with us. I was talking to some people from other groups, in comparison I feel like our mentor is much more responsible and much more active than theirs. For this, I am very grateful that we get to have this responsible and active mentor. Then we got a chance to visit UBC’s children’s hospital. We started by listening to an hour long biology on how babies are formed and the likelihood of a birth defect. As a person who really didn’t like biology that much, I didn’t understand 50% of the content of what they were talking about. Though, I’m definitely not alone. Here comes the best part of the day. We got a chance to talk to and do experiments with actual medical researchers. The researcher that was mentoring our group was such a cool and funny guy, he reminds me so much of Randall Park the main cast for Fresh Off The Boat series. He taught us how to add “color coding” or “legends” in tissue so that when this tissue is place in the FACS or “Fluorescence-activated cell sorting” through the computer we are able to see exactly what type of cells are in this tissue. This FACS machine apparently cost 500k. Which is extremely expensive. So I felt like an actual scientist :P. After that we had an extensive talk on how stem cells work and how we can differentiate a specialized cell back to the stem cell so that this stem cell can be re-specialized again for other tissues. The more advanced this technology is, the less likely for humans to age. Other than this, we also talked about allergies vs autoimmune. How allergies are rising because we rise our babies too clean. Such that they are vulnerable to dirty stuff later on when they grow up. According to Kevin (our mentor), only kids under or at 6 years old are able to change their allegories by simply stop being so clean. It was a very informative and fascinating talk with an expert. I am not like a biology guy, but through today’s visit it really sparked my interest in biology. After the visit to the hospital, we got to swim in the UBC’s aquatic center where they have a very large swimming arena that have 4 different pools for different purposes. I really had a lot of fun with my friends. Finally, I’m going to end today’s blog by saying that I have finally caught up (some what still haven’t done Day 9 yet, because I forgot what happened on that day) on my blogs.

SHAD Day 13


Today was one of those days that I have very polar feelings. Today started off with a lecture on the pipeline that was supposed to transfer energy source from Alaska to the US through Canada’s Aboriginal land. It was quite informative, I learned how a pipeline can completely alter the natural living environment of wildlife and the people. This lecture was taught through an interactive website. Then we moved on to play an overly aggressive game that is called “The World Game”. At the beginning, I thought this game would be a very interesting and fun game to play. However, my sentiment changed dramatically when I witness just how mad and unconsciously mean people are. Our goal was to cut the most shapes out of paper. We are also divided into groups of countries. Literally two minutes into the game, people started to steal paper from other countries and destroying the shapes that other people made. This made me realize how wild human natures are. I was honestly very surprised how people at SHAD, who are all so intelligent and exceptional will be so aggressive on just a game. What worries me the most was how people were running around and moving very fast with scissors. I really felt uncomfortable of how people running around. So, in response, I took a very nice afternoon nap on the sofa in the chaotic room. Even though I did not enjoy how people behaved but it truly allowed me to understand people are naturally competitive and selfish. But the only way for humanity to improve in the optimal state is to unite and create together instead of stealing from others. One of the best activity that we enjoyed was the film making festival. We were divided into 12 groups and were asked to create a single shot, 1-minute video. Our group decided to make a horror movie in the forest called “The Paintbrush”. We won one of the three prizes that were given, people really enjoyed our video. After 10 pm, we had a ramen party in one of the lounge room. We stayed up till pretty late talking about deep stuff. The ramen was very nice, though it was unhealthy.

SHAD Day 14


Today kicked off with a three-hour lesson on Quantum Computing by one of our P.A. (Program Assistant). I am very interest in quantum computing because I am very fascinated by quantum mechanics and computer science. The expectation is always kind of different than reality. We ended up using 2.5 hours of our time just learning the mathematical basics that are required to do the lesson. We touched on topics like polar coordinates, vectors, and matrix. We only had 30 minutes to do the actual programming part. After lunch, we went to, Granville island and had an interactive lecture on improvisation in terms of talking to people and making up stories. We then had free time to explore the island ourselves. We first went to the market on the island and bought some chocolate milkshake. Although it was pretty expensive, it tasted really nice. Some of my other friends like Harry and Jason bought cherry and ate them all. We also went near the deck to take some really nice-looking pictures. Afterward, we ate a disappointing dinner of cold sandwiches. When we got back, we were told a very unexpected announcement that the attendance is next day at 1 pm. What really triggered me today was how I wasn’t allowed to attend to the sun rise tomorrow just because I am not in the recap video committee. Though there was a lot of clouds that prevented people from the recap video from capturing the sunrise. What was really lit was our “movie night”. We started a movie at like 1:30 am in the morning and watched it till like 4 am. Two people fell asleep and it was just me and Jessica talking about communism… rip. This is what happens at 4 am I guess. I am once again really behind on blogs, so I’m going to be very brief on this blog.

SHAD Day 15


Today I was so tired, because I literally had four hours of sleep. I was sleep deprived all day and unconscious of what I was doing. Today the attendance is at 1 pm which is extremely late. So we all slept-in and went around the campus for exploration. Then Kyle told us a story of his life. His career changed from a software engineer to a self-employed freelancer who travels around Canada. He loves camping and taking pictures of birds. Then we had a lecture on professionalism on how to make our cover letter, resume, and how to handle interview questions. Although it was a really long lecture, I really found it to be one of the more helpful lectures we had. Then we had 1.5 hour of house time. I was really productive during this session as I created a very early version of our SHAD house group project. Sorry for making this blog this short and terrible, I’m really behind on blogs and I really want to catch up.

SHAD Day 16


Today is the most academic intensive day we’ve ever had. Today we stayed in the lecture room for the entire day. We had four lectures non-stop. Today began with a lecture on story telling from a business social media manager. Then we had a lecture on “Courage > comfort”. After lunch, we had a very interesting and informative 3D printing lecture. All 60 of us made 3D models of custom USB housings. The last lecture we had was in product development through the lense of light bulbs. Lecture started at 9 am today and ended at 10 pm with one hour of lunch in between. We literally sat for 12 hours straight. Really not much to talk about today, I’m going to sleep now. I’m finally all caught up in terms of blogs.

SHAD Day 17


Today probably the most LIT/fun day of SHAD! So many interesting things happened today! And guess what? I got to eat really tasty (although pricey) food today! OK without further ado, let me begin from this morning. This morning we were told that we will be visiting Triumf, which is and I quote “Canada's national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics and accelerator-based science”. So it is basically the Canadian version of CERN accelerator (The Large Hadron Collider). Once I heard the words “particle accelerator”, I was immediately sold to this event. Although my main interest is in the field of computer science, I am also very intrigued by physics. And you know what, particle physics is one of the coolest physics fields you can find! It is also very rare to visit the laboratory in person! After the morning announcement, we headed directly to the bus. I thought we are going to have a relatively long bus ride, but it only took us around 10 minutes to get there. Only to find out that we are still on the UBC campus! Legit, all we wanted was to leave the UBC campus but it was honestly too big for us to escape! Jokes aside, we arrived at this building that has a big logo “Triumf” on it. One of the physicists who was giving us a tour explained how particles are everywhere in our world. Especially radiations from the sun penetrates walls and hits our body. It was visualized through a block of alcohol gas sheet. I’m still not very sure how it works, but it visualizes all the locations that particles hit it. After a brief history, we were led into the facility. Some of the SHADs and I were feeling we are going into some sort of top secret facility. We were going through a security gate, we were taping cards and unlocking glass doors. It looks very cool. One of the coolest experiences that we did was a demonstration of how strong the electromagnetic fields really was. We were placing paper clips on our hands, and the clips somehow just started to stand up by itself. It was honestly very cool. I have so much more to say, but people say a picture says a thousand words:
Moving on, after the LIT visit to the Triumf laboratory guess what? WE WENT TO DOWNTOWN!!! WE ARE FINALLY FREE OF THE UBC’S CAMPUS! We got a solid 4 hours of free time. Thank my bro, Victor (200 IQ BTW), we went to a restaurant called Miku! It is this very fancy sushi place. Honestly, my expectations weren’t very high, but I know I was wrong the second that I placed the sushi in my mouth. It allowed me for the first time ever, to understand what “it melts in your mouth” mean. Again, pictures tell the story better than I:
After eating at this cool sushi place, we headed straight to the nearest bubble tea place called Coco. It was my first time getting bubble tea, surprisingly… It tasted very good. I r8 8/8 no h8. Definitely will get more when I get back to Toronto. Then as for dessert for the lunch, we went to a donut place which is apparently a must go to place in Vancouver which I forgot the name of… Guess what we did after having satisfied our appetite… We went shopping! JUST KIDDING!!! LOL, don’t forget we are SHAD (or NERD CAMP) we headed directly to the central library of Vancouver. The library was so well built and very aesthetically pleasing. It was very welcoming and has the perfect mood set for studying.

After that, we went back to UBC and I helped setup our coffee house and performed a piano and clarinet duel with Harry. It was very nice to play music with him, as he is a legend at piano…

After this… we had a dance “party”. It’s in quotations because this party lasted like 20 minutes, I went directly to shower after the party started, and 20 minutes later when I get back the party room is partyless…

Anyways, this concludes another very very wonderful day at SHAD!

SHAD Day 18


Yesterday was so LIT that it made today not very interesting. Today kicked off with a staff workshop on bird watching A.K.A. bird photography. Kyle was the mentor for this workshop. He is such a good guy. I also got a chance to take pictures with his $4000+ camera that has a crazy zoom and focus. Also, I’m also honored to take the first bird picture of the day. The main reasons that I chose this workshop than any other ones were because I: wanted to explore the campus, and play with very expensive cameras… Overall, I’d say I had a great experience. After lunch, we went to Frank Forward (the building which we have all our lectures in). Today we had a relatively interesting lecture on how to design 3D models and print them out using a 3D printer. We spent the next 2 hours designing our own custom USB that will be printed. The next lecture was one of the most boring lecture (to me at least). It was given by a physics professor at UBC, but for some reason the lecture was about how to cure cancer with a biological approach. I was really confused, as I was expecting to learn physics from a physics professor but ended up learning about biology that I couldn’t understand. When we hit back to residence, we all dressed up in business formal and went to a networking event/dinner with entrepreneurs and some business graduates. We got a great chance to network with many business people and gained a lot of experience and common pitfalls to avoid. It was overall a great experience for me. This is where I’m going to end today’s blog. See you tomorrow 😊.

SHAD Day 19


Today kicked off with house time to work on our project with our mentor. We shared a couple of ideas with him and we concluded that we are making an app called EcoScan. It essentially scans the barcode of electronic products and displays relevant energy consumption as well as the electricity cost per year for this product. We all think that this is a very good idea, and I started working on image recognition on Android… Then we had a very interesting, probably the 2nd most interesting lecture to Johnathan Bixby’s lecture. Our lecturer is Kenton Low, who was responsible for creating and engineering Hong Kong’s Disneyland. He calls himself an “Imagineer” who does Imagineering. He taught us the importance of customer experience, as well as what type of questions to ask when creating a product or an experience for customers. We had one hour of free time to do our Instagram takeover. We spent this time making a video on fiducial and making the letters for SHAD out of our bodies. Right after, we had a 2-hour long dancing workshop which was very fun but I’m not very talented for dancing. It was very fun though. As the last lecture of day, it was supposed to be on something biology relation medical topics, but the doctor who was supposed to come did not show up. Many people who liked biology were disappointed, but as someone who is relatively bad at biology I was very happy that we got the lecture time for our house project. This concludes today.

SHAD Day 20


It was a pretty chill day, today we had a lecture on mechanical engineering about injury biomechanics on cars specifically. We then had one hour to build a hydraulic crane and the goal is to move a little paper bucket around a barrier. The group that can make the most moves in a limited time wins. Our team did not end up winning, but it was very fun for us to understand how this works. Majority of afternoon was spent on a theater festival where we had to conduct a 10 minute skit. I was assigned to be the director, and o boi was it stressful to manage everyone in a production team. But we had a lot of fun and learned a lot on how to manage a big (as in 12 member) team. After this relatively fun workshop, we went to a lecture that talked about creating goals and how to meet the goals. We had the rest 3 hours till 10pm for house time. We were overall, very productive. This concludes today!

SHAD Day 21


Today is the most physically demanding day at SHAD. We are going to do an 18KM climb/hike up Garibaldi Mountain! We had to wake up at 6 in the morning. It took around 1.5 hours to get to the hike by bus. Then… we hiked 9km straight up the mountain. But It was very worth it. The view was astounding… It has the view that I dreamed of seeing. The water was so blue and clear that we are able to see the fishes that are swimming around. Green trees with tall snow mountains in the back… picture incoming…

When we were hiking back down, it was one of the most tiring walks I’ve ever had. My feet were literally on the edge of exploding. It was painful every step that I take. I also realized that I had a fever when I was walking down. I was so exhausted. When we get back, we passed the dinner time for the cafeteria, so we had dinner at another building. Everyone was too tired, but the dinner was good. There was also movie night that day, but due to my fever and just how tired I was after an 18km walk and around 8 hours on the mountain. I choose to sleep early and not watch the movie – Forrest Gump. This concludes today, probably will be the most tiring day of SHAD.

SHAD Day 22


Today is the day after the most exhausting day of SHAD (the 18km hike). It was nice to hear that we have a late fiducial at 1 PM instead of the normal 8:45 AM fiducial. I got a relatively good sleep and signed out with some of my friends (Meisa, Daniel, and Michelle). We first headed straight to shoppers to buy some medicine because we are all sick. Then we went to the Point Grill and had a very nice brunch there (although I woke up early enough to eat breakfast while the others did not). We all had very nice burgers. After fiducial, I went to the “history and philosophy of mathematics” workshop. Which we discussed the concept and the origin of numbers and mathematics, with some philosophical sense to the theories. How history affects the development of math a lot because we learned many great minds were either killed or died unexpectedly. Following the schedule, the CEO of SHAD came and said some very generic pitch about SHAD, but the twist is he showed us two very cool and impressive card magic tricks. Then we started dinner early at the alumni BBQ, where we got yet another chance to network. I also got to talk to a SHAD alumnus from SHAD 1981 (the first SHAD ever). What surprised me is how little has SHAD changed over the years. Then we had yet another time block for house time. This concludes another wonderful day at SHAD!

SHAD Day 23


Today is a pretty intense day I would say. Our business plan for our house projects are due before 11:45 AM! Most of my teammates pulled an all nighter last night working on the business plan. I'm being the prototyping person, I didn't spend much time on the business plan so it was pretty chill for me. We also practiced for presentation after we've submitted our business plan online.

After practicing for the presentation, it is already in the afternoon. Guess what, we are going to President Santa Ono's house! He is the president of the University of British Columbia.

He was such a nice guy to talk with. It was very kind of him to invite 60 teenagers to his giant mansion. We not only had great BBQ burger but near-perfect iced tea.

As for recreations: I played my first game of Billiard there, a very tiring game of volleyball, and jumped on a trampoline in like 8 years.

Oh right, also I took a really really cool jumping picture with my Thunderbay boi -- Victor (it's heavily filtered to add that cool cinematic view, it is my wallpaper right now <3):

SHAD Day 24


Today is the most stressful day all of SHAD! This is because we will be presenting our business plan to real investors and get graded! We spent the entire morning practicing the presentation. For the entire afternoon (around four full hours) each group presented their project to the judges. Although our group did not win any award, I'd say it was a valuable experience to be able to talk in front of real world investors not just to teachers.

After dinner, we went to Frank Forward (the lecture building) for an 2 hour long lecture or more like UBC advertisement from the admission office. To be fair, he did gave us some tips on how to get scholarships and general university application tips.

Here comes the most entertaining event of all day -- staff panel. The staffs were open to any type of questions that we may ask. As you'd expect from 60 teenagers, we asked a lot of questions that were related to "Exclusive Relationships". It was so heated... We were all so excited that we slam the desk so hard that the sound is audible from a level before us...

SHAD Day 25


Today was such a chill day (after the most intense day ever). We stayed at Crescent beach for six hours straight. This beach is probably the most strange beach I've ever been to. When it's high-tide the water is around 30CM deep but once its low-tide a big chunk of land appears. I seem like I can literally walk from the beach to the island right across.

We also had lunch in that little town by the beach. I was overall satisfied with the food quality but definitely not the quantity. The portion of the food was so small for what it was worth, but it was all good.

Of course, I can't leave a good landscape without doing some jumping pictures with my jumping buddy Angela:

SHAD Day 26


Today being the last day full day at SHAD, it is time for Open Day. Where parents of some SHADs come and visit and see all of our shad projects and variety show prepared by us.

When I was manning the booth for my project, many people are interested in our EcoScan application that retrieves energy consumption info from bar-codes. I met President Ono once again as well as many other parents and got a chance to present them with our app and business plan.

In the evening we went to one of the beaches that are on campus and witnessed an absolutely beautiful sunset.

I was really sad that day when we are going back from the beach to our residences. Because I knew that is the last walk together with all sixty of my fellow SHADs. ;(

SHAD Day 27


Today is the day. The last day of SHAD.

Most people pulled an all nighter last night signing everyone's month-book. I think I got like 3 hours of sleep which is pretty decent.

When we woke up, people are hugging each other, crying together, saying goodbyes... I tried my best to hold my tears. It was honestly the hardest thing I've done at SHAD. Whenever I hugged someone and said goodbye to them, my memories of them just pop into my mind. It really surprises me how much a month can mean to people. When we were sitting on the bus to the airport, when I look down from the window I see people waving seeing people crying together or alone. Thinking that I might not be able to ever see them again. Or not anytime soon. My tears finally came down like a non-stoppable waterfall. I just couldn't hold it anymore. It felt like all sort emotions that I experienced at SHAD were flooding to me at the same time. I was happy, sad, encouraged, felt included, felt accomplished, felt... words can't describe.

I think what Jess Tang (our assistant program director) said was so accurate. It summarizes the SHAD experience into one sentence: This isn't the best month of your life, this is the best month for your life.

This concludes a wonderful month at SHAD!

© Mark Zhang