Progress Open Thread: October // Student Summit 2020

post by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2020-10-21T13:10:08.403Z · EA · GW · 18 comments


  What goes in a progress thread comment? 
  This is a humility-free zone
  Welcome, Student Summit!

We're trying a new kind of monthly open thread: the progress thread!

Years ago, the Forum used to have an "Accomplishments Open Thread [EA · GW]" where people could discuss recent wins in their EA work/donations/etc. I loved reading those; they made me feel like part of a growing, transformative movement.

When those open threads stopped, we lost an easy way for people to show off the progress they make on a month-to-month basis. So we brought the concept back.

What goes in a progress thread comment? 

Think of this as an org update thread [EA · GW] for individuals. You might talk about...

These updates can be very short. But you might also want to talk about people, organizations, or resources that were useful to you. Someone might have been counterfactually responsible for some of your progress and not even know it!

This is a humility-free zone

It can feel awkward to share good news online. You may feel like you're bragging, or overselling your success. 

This is a legitimate thing to worry about. In some spaces, sharing good news could be uncouth, a faux pas, a social blunder.

But this isn't that kind of space. The EA Forum team humbly requests that you brag, bask in your success, and shout your progress to the rooftops. Have at it!

(Good epistemics are still highly encouraged. Avoid overselling your success — but don't undersell it, either!)

Welcome, Student Summit!

Once the Student Summit starts, we'll be encouraging attendees to post here if they learn something useful, change their plans, have a really good meeting, etc. 

If you came here from the Summit: Welcome! We're excited to hear from you.


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2020-10-21T13:19:36.724Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I'll kick things off!

This month, I finished in second place at the Magic: the Gathering Grand Finals (sort of like the world championship). I earned $20,000 in prize money and declared that I would donate half of it to GiveWell, which gave me an excuse to talk up EA on camera for thousands of live viewers and post about it on Twitter.

This has been a whirlwind journey for me; I did unexpectedly well in a series of qualifying tournaments. Lots of luck was involved. But I think I played well, and I've been thrilled to see how interested my non-EA followers are in hearing about charity stuff (especially when I use Magic-related metaphors to explain cause prioritization).

Replies from: alexrjl
comment by alex lawsen (previously alexrjl) (alexrjl) · 2020-10-21T13:42:24.392Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Congrats on the win and what an awesome idea to use it as an outreach opportunity!

Replies from: CarolineJ
comment by CaroJ (CarolineJ) · 2020-10-22T02:56:53.045Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Bravo! This is fantastic and it's also great that you used the opportunity to talk about EA! The future of REG

comment by Linch · 2020-10-22T06:56:43.702Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I started working at Rethink Priorities. I'm pretty happy about it! 

I tried applying to EA jobs about 3 years ago, and didn't have much luck. 

I don't think this is causal, but I think my emotional/cognitive relationship to applying to EA jobs have changed. 3 years ago, I was more like "I want to have a job at an EA org because that was a path I heard that can have more impact, so I really want to have an EA job so I can have more impact" and was definitely much more in "job application mode." This time around, it felt much more like "okay there are some stuff I want to do. It seems like these orgs will let me progress my goals better." All-in-all, I think this was probably a much healthier relationship to have to my work and EA aspirations.

Replies from: MarisaJurczyk
comment by Marisa (MarisaJurczyk) · 2020-10-30T03:12:30.792Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Congrats! Sounds like a great fit for you. :) 

comment by Cullen (Cullen_OKeefe) · 2020-10-21T22:17:49.305Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

My parents recently sold an environmental services company and used a significant chunk of the windfall to endow a family foundation on whose board I sit. I recommended, and the rest of the Board agreed, to include GiveDirectly and AMF in our 2020 grants.

comment by arushigupta · 2020-10-21T20:02:50.957Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I started as the full-time Co-Director of EA NYC two months ago! Since Aaron Mayer and I started, we've accomplished a bunch of things, including launching a new website (just published yesterday!), starting 1-1 calls, a NYC job board (updated weekly), and our new Rings program to help EA NYCers start projects together! 

I'm loving the new job and am really excited about what we've been able to do in such a short time :) Hopefully the coming 10 months are just as productive!

Btw we are still taking applications for Rings, if anyone is interested in applying - since it will be all remote for now anyways, we are happy to have non-NYC people apply (though being able to meet during EST-friendly times will be helpful).

Replies from: Ben_West, Ilsze
comment by Ben_West · 2020-10-23T22:56:31.300Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Congrats! And Rings is a cool idea. I hope you write up a Forum post about the results! 

comment by jojo_lee (Ilsze) · 2020-10-26T07:26:33.358Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Awesome, Arushi and Aaron! Hope you keep the momentum up  and keep doing great things <3


comment by Ben (bdixon) · 2020-10-21T13:42:26.007Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I've been learning to code with Python and I did my first tiny bit of machine learning - I figured out how to do a polynomial regression to look at global average sea surface temperatures!

comment by alex lawsen (previously alexrjl) (alexrjl) · 2020-10-21T14:09:21.091Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

After playing with the idea for quite a while, I finally made a couple of youtube videos about forecasting.  I've still got a lot to learn about both production and editing, but I received really valuable feedback which I expect to help a lot going forward.

 Hoping to complete an "Intro to forecasting" series over the next few weeks.

Edit: also this thread is a great idea. Thanks for making it :).

Replies from: NunoSempere
comment by NunoSempere · 2020-10-24T14:57:53.083Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Do you want to share the links?

Replies from: alexrjl
comment by alex lawsen (previously alexrjl) (alexrjl) · 2020-10-26T13:02:28.655Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Sure! The first video in what will become the Introductory series is here.

comment by tae · 2020-10-21T16:21:56.970Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Here's a looking-at-the-bright-side sort of progress:

I've been bewildered for most of this year about why I'm struggling so much to get things done. Just 2020-related stress doesn't explain it.

Well, I think I've figured out that I'm just really burned out (or, as Cal Newport puts it, in a state of "deep procrastination"). one of my two majors! So, I've changed the burned-out major to a minor. Now I'll graduate in just a few months, giving me more time to learn things and explore career options (which I'm suddenly more excited about). 

My path ahead isn't exactly straightforward, but at least I've gained some valuable knowledge about what it could look like.

Replies from: Rowan_Stanley
comment by Rowan_Stanley · 2020-10-25T10:08:57.504Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Well done! Progress still counts as progress, even if it takes a while to get there. 

comment by BrownHairedEevee (evelynciara) · 2020-10-30T21:54:08.292Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I won a prize at the Cornell Sustainability Hackathon! My team worked on a business idea for a waste heat recovery device for trucks to improve their fuel efficiency. We won the "Most Transitional Hack" award for positioning our product as a stepping stone to fleet electrification.

Replies from: aarongertler
comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2020-10-31T08:03:39.822Z · EA(p) · GW(p)


Replies from: evelynciara