A 7 character word. It sounds so simple, yet the true meaning of this word is more substantial than we realize.
Friendship is more complicated as an adult, especially in your 20′s and 30′s. You get a lot busy with your work, meet a lot of new people which you do blunder considering friends, explore new paths, make new roads, but amidst the city rush – they stand by us when we’re down, and they’re always up for a night or an afternoon.
Unlike our relationships with our partners or family members, there’s no outright expectation that we have to stay involved in our friend’s lives. Our friendships are voluntary, and it’s the ongoing choice we make to stay connected to our friends that makes the support we received from them so incredibly validating and essential for our overall well-being and self-worth.
WHAT MATTERS MORE THAN THE NUMBER OF FRIENDS WE HAVE IS THE QUALITY OF THE CONNECTIONS WE MAKE.
I made this cool little video, as a tribute to my friends and to celebrate the 15 long years.
Simply put, having friends, good friends, is essential. Our friends can help us figure out who we are and what it is we really want in life. They encourage us to reach our goals, make it easier to cope with life’s ups and downs, and shield us from mental health struggles, like anxiety and depression.
Even though we’re learning just how meaningful our friendships are for our health, well-being, and success, we just don’t talk about our friendships as much as we do with our other connections.
My friends had a significant and profound influence on me, leading a stress-free life with excellent mental health. And this helped me a lot to focus better, being more productive, be in good health, having a better concentration on learning, and more. Above all, they made me a BETTER HUMAN BEING, and I cannot be prouder for them.
We often take these for granted; however, this pandemic situation has taught us a bit more why friends are absolutely crucial.
Happy friendship day to all. Here’s a thank you note to all those crazy nights, afternoons, hangouts, fights, debates, support, criticism, and more.
I wanted to write this article back in November, in time for my birthday. However, I got so much sucked into work and other stuff – I couldn’t make time for this. But here we go. I will try to wrap all the major things that have happened to me in 2019. By adult, I meant after 18.
I started 2019 with a silly video
2019 is the year I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. So I jokingly shared one facebook image that said: “If this post gets 5K comments – I will do an ice bucket challenge.”
My average facebook posts get around 20-25 comments at best, I was so sure it’s never gonna happen. But to my sheer surprise – I had my facebook friends waiting to make it happen.
Within one day, the post got more than 5K+. Well, I had to take a crucial decision – do I say “Yes” to the promise I made or do I skip it? I said “F*** it! I am doing it! It doesn’t matter how silly it is!”
During my last semester at American International University-Bangladesh – I took a course named “Human-Computer Interaction.”
Frankly, I did not know anything about HCI before enrolling in the course. However, as soon as the course started – I noticed this course is vastly different from any other courses I had done in AIUB.
Little did I know that this course was going to change my entire perspective of computers, user experience, and human psychology. By the end of the course, I learned many different things about how humans perceive computers/other physical objects.
I always had good skills in building a good UX. That doesn’t mean I am a Graphics Designer and I can make pixel perfect good looking UIs.
But, I am a problem solver when it comes to building a seamless user experience. I believe design is not something that just looks nice. Design is more impactful.
By taking the HCI course, I solidified my understanding and it gave me more confidence going forward. By the end of the semester, we made a small project on tangible user interface. Here’s a little video.
My course teacher at AIUB was Khandaker Tabin Hasan. I am really glad that I got his course. He is a great man, and he teaches more than just the syllabus. By the end of the course, I started to take life from a different angle. He completed his Ph.D. on Human-Computer Interaction from the University of Trento.
I finished my Undergrad in 2019
I finished my undergrad at AIUB on Software Engineering. I met some great teachers and made some great friends over the last 4 years at AIUB.
However, I will admit it outright. The academic pressure was very high in AIUB. I barely had time to do anything other than academic study. However, I still managed to contribute my free time to AIUB Computer Club and spent quality time with friends. I also got a pretty good grade point average. Not that it matters, but to inspire others that you can do extracurricular activities and even maintain your grades if you are serious enough.
4 years later, I am more mature than a high school kid. When I was joining the university as a fresher, I had only 1 thing in my mind.
After 4 years, I can proudly say,
I joined at weDevs as a full-time employee
I started doing a part-time job at weDevs from November 2018. I was enrolled full time at my university – I couldn’t give my full time to the company.
Doing a part-time office and being a full-time student – was one of the toughest things I had to manage. Balancing work life and studying at the same time was difficult. Anyone who studies in AIUB already knows about the academic pressure of the institute.
However, I managed it somehow and completed 3 semesters while working at weDevs. I finally completed all my courses in May 2019 and started full time in June 2019.
Fortunately, I met some of the nicest people at weDevs. For example, our CEO Nizam Uddin and CTO Tareq Hasan are some of the nicest and kindest people I have come across. They are actually good human beings. There is enough negativity in the society. At this time, the number of good human beings are very scarce. I feel proud to say that I am in touch with such good human beings.
This article would lose its purpose if I do not mention 3 other key people who have helped me and supported me from the very first day at weDevs. Nazir Ahmed (Head of HR @ weDevs), Mainul Kabir Aion (Head of Content & Marketing @ weDevs), & Rajuan Islam (HR Manager @ weDevs)
I will share a story. During my last semester at AIUB, I was simultaneously working with 4 different projects.
It was very tough for me to find time to go to the office. I remember, I only showed up 3/4 times in a whole month. But they were very supportive at that time. If they hadn’t given me support at that time, I would have had to quit.
When you have that belief that you are in the right hands – things get easier for you. You can focus better, and work seems not only *work*. You get inspiration daily to do better.
I always wanted to learn Laravel. Since I was a full-time undergrad student and AIUB has its own curriculum – I couldn’t focus on these topics. However, during the last semester – I took the course “Advanced Topics in Programming” which taught me Laravel and NodeJS. I was very glad to finally learn Laravel and NodeJS. I am not saying, I am a PRO on these two. Nevertheless, I have a full understanding of how the MVC architecture works and how to develop basic CRUD applications using both Laravel and NodeJS. I am thankful to my course teacher Md. Al Amin who taught beautifully.
I did a few projects in 2019.
I was working with Laravel to make a full-fledged inventory management system, We did! Here’s the Github URL
We made a travel booking website using NodeJS. Here’s the Github URL
I made an Online Medicine Booking Shop using NodeJS. Here’s the Github URL
I was working with Raspberry Pi 3 to make a full-fledged home automation system. Here’s the Github URL)
We made a project on Tangible User Interface using Arduino Uno, OpenGL, Python
I learnt some new things that I wanted to learn since 2016.
New Skills that I Acquired & Improved Upon
Other than learning new things, I also acquired some new skills. For example, I did not know how a company functions until joining full time. Since I joined full-time, I regularly had to attend the SCRUM meeting (in our case, Standup Meeting).
I was never an early riser. However, finally in this year – I started to sleep early, so I can wake up early in the morning.
I got better with the following skills that I had 1 year ago.
Working under pressure
Search Engine Optimization
Personal Growth (Mindset)
Writing Detailed Documentation
Completing On-Demand Responsibilities
Content Distribution (via social media, email)
Basic Project Management
I want to elaborate a couple of them to signify their importance on me in 2019.
One of the best things I have learned in 2019 is to communicate better. I always thought I had communication skills, but after joining my company. I can proudly say I can communicate better than I did last year. Communication is one of the key factors that help to get work done from others.
A Growth in Leadership Skills
Leadership is something that one cannot learn without doing it in person. I have organized many workshops, national-level events, get-togethers, Iftar Partys & more. It will be a lie to say that I did not have a minimum level of leadership skills.
However, my leadership skills grew further. I got promoted to “Product Manager” at weDevs and had to step up and took more responsibility. Besides, regular product management and office works, I volunteer at AIUB Computer Club, and currently, I am one of the executives of the club.
AIUB Computer Club organized workshops regularly last year and pulled off 1 national event during the last quarter of 2019, “AIUB Cyber Gaming Fest 2019“. My tenure as an Executive at ACC will be expiring soon. However, I am proud that I have helped to build a great Media team over there. They have done a great job covering all the event-related tasks this year.
Check the Publication category to learn more about the coverage.
I wasn’t even present in the country when the event happened. But I am proud that the team has taken the responsibility to do all Content & Marketing related tasks during the event. The Cyber Gaming Fest event created a lot of buzz in the local community and attracted more than 1000 gamers across the country.
To me, that is a success. Because I have helped to build a team during the last year who are capable enough to do all the things they are required.
To sum up, on leadership, I have learned to make action plans to lead better in 2019.
How I Got Out of Comfortzone by Making a Series of Cricket Videos
One of the best things happened in 2019 is that I got out of my comfort zone while shooting and uploading videos.
I love Cricket. I do think I have a great Cricket brain and I have what it takes to be a great Cricket Strategist. Finally, this year, I made a series of videos on the Cricket World Cup 2019.
I know my videos aren’t that great in quality (I do not have any video editor with me! If you are a video editor and reading this – let me know if you want to volunteer some of your time!) but the content is solid.
You can find more videos on Facebook. Just search with the hashtag #CricWithSaif.
More than 80% of my pre-match analysis became true. I am really glad that I got out of my comfort zone on video making this year. I had been planning to do it for years.
I joined 3 WordCamps this year, two of them in 2 different countries within 1 week.
I participated in all of the WordCamps as a speaker.
This is the year I joined my first WordCamp. However, it was also the year I joined 2 different WordCamps in 2 different countries within 1 week. Met a lot of people and made a lot of new friends.
I was very glad that I got the chance to visit Pokhara (Nepal) & Kochi (India) this year. I got an amazing experience while networking with new people beyond the borders. It helped me to think more globally.
I will write more in detail about my experience with WordCamp Kochi and WordCamp Pokhara – but in one word – it was an unforgettable experience.
How I Got More Productive by Cutting Down Smartphone Usage
I have been always a gadget freak. I like to stay in the bleeding edge. However, this is the year where I thought about cutting down my smartphone usage.
During Q2 of 2019, I figured out that I have been wasting too much time on a smartphone for no particular reason. Browsing Facebook and watching memes & videos took away a large portion of my time.
I thought about reacting to these. I switched to a basic phone (with no internet connection) and used it for more than 1.5 months. That really helped to increase my attention span and helped to be more focused.
Then, I switched to my iPhone 8 for a month. I sold my iPhone 8 again and lived with a 2013 Moto X (and used as a basic phone almost with no social network) for more than 1 month. Living with a dumb phone has its perks. I could finally read a lot more books that I wanted to read for the past few years. I finally had time to read books!
I read more than 20+ Books in 2019
When I cut down my smartphone usage – I instantly had more time. I started reading books. I have read more than 20+ books in 2019.
I will admit – not all of those books are super productive. I like to read for fun too. I read a lot of sci-fi, thriller books in this period. However, I read 5+ productive books too.
A few of the books are
The Design of Everyday Things
Don’t Make Me Think
100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People
I contributed to nature by going carbon-free for transportation
One of the best investments I made last year was buying an eBike. Not only it’s very economical – it doesn’t leave any carbon footprint.
I have saved almost 0.62 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2019 by opting for a bicycle.
Quick research told me that I have saved 0.62 toness of carbon dioxide in 2019. It always feels good to give back to mother nature.
The calculation goes like this.
I travel around 30KM/day by bus/motorcycle. I am using a 125CC motorcycle to compare my carbon dioxide offset.
If I assume I have worked 200 days during the last year – I have traveled 6000 KM.
Also, I have saved a lot of time by using a bicycle. In Dhaka, the average speed of any transportation is around 7KM/hour. By opting for an eBike I have saved almost 300 hours in a year! Ain’t that awesome?
If you want to connect with me, feel free to connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.