“Say yes to everything.” That was one piece of advice someone told me before I left for the US and boy did it pay off…
Andre: “Yo, there’s a hackathon organised by Harvard next week. They are providing food and accommodation as well. You wanna go? The sign-up deadline is tomorrow.”
Without much thinking I said yes and grabbed two other friends, Jeff and Joseph, to join us. They too agreed and we quickly booked our bus tickets to Boston.
Taking the overnight bus from DC to Boston, we arrived in Boston early so that we could have time to explore the city before the hackathon began at 5pm later in the day. We dropped by MIT along the way to our delicious lunch consisting of fresh live lobsters, steamers and lobster bisque before heading to the famous Modern Pastry Shop to get their famous cannolis.
The famous Great Dome at MIT
Our lobster lunch
Modern Pastry Shop – Cakes and their famous cannolis
After fueling our bodies with such amazing food, we were ready to grind it out for the next 2 days. Compared to a virtual hackathon, the atmosphere of an in-person hackathon was infectious. Seeing everyone all working tirelessly in every corner of the building throughout somehow made us feel driven to actually try hard even though we initially went in with the mentality of just chilling and taking it easy. We set our sights on a niche category in hopes of increasing our chances of winning a prize, a pair of AirPods Max for each team member in the category we were aiming for, and began the grind.
Jeff ‘gracefully’ taking a nap midway through the last night
Despite toiling through the next 36 hours, amazingly we managed pull through and clinch the “Best Use of Sonr Flutter SDK” prize, winning ourselves the AirPods Maxes!!!
Other Singaporeans we met at HackHarvard 2022 and our team with our amazing mentors from Sonr
Overall, this experience really showcased to me the joys that can arise out of spontaneity. As someone who loves to plan out my schedule of things to do, learning to embrace more spontaneity in life can lead to unexpected stories and experiences that would probably have never happened otherwise. Embarking on an exchange to a foreign country presents the perfect setting for one to continuously find opportunities to push themselves out of their comfort zone. So here’s to more yeses in the future!