Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life

September 10, 2020

Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”. I have understood that it is true as when I started coding twelve hours per day at my high school.

I studied in Holovanivsk Gymnasium in a small village in the Ukraine. When I studied at the 8th form (we have only eleven forms), I started learning competitive programming. Competitive programming is a mental sport where people compete using their programming skills. Next year (in the 9th form) I participated in the Ukrainian (National) Olympiad in Informatics (UOI) and got a gold medal in my grade. After that competition my goal was to participate in the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) - the most popular and prestige competition for high school students, something like Olympic Games for programmers. It was hard because only four people from every country could participate. In that time there were many older and smarter students, so in Ukrainian Selections to IOI I got an only the 8th place and could not participate.

Since that time I started spending at least five hours every day when I am at school and twelve when not. I could spend the whole day studying programming, just making small pauses. I started forgetting names of my friends, but I still spent all my free time studying. As a result, I got one more gold medal in UOI in 10th form. In selections I became the second in ranking and was selected to IOI team from Ukraine. I was the only student from a 10th form in that team, others were older. Since in 2016 IOI was in Kazan (Russia), we did not know how would we participate in that competition (we have a war with Russia). We hoped that our Government would negotiate with IOI to host a mirror competition in another country for us, but officials did not want to do it and said that we would participate in Russia. We did not like it, but it is better than nothing. The Government changed his mind in three days before the competition, they forbade us to participate due to political reasons. For some students from this team, it was the only chance to take part and show their knowledge.

In the 11th form, I did not stop learning. I got the third gold medal in UOI and was selected as the leader of Ukrainian team to IOI 2017 in Tehran (Iran). We do not have any political problems with Iran, so we were sure that our Government would not change his mind again. This competition was held at the end of July and 308 students from 83 countries participated. I was impressed by the perfect organization the competition in Iran. I have never seen something before. I opened for myself what is Iranian culture, met a lot of people from other countries, and finally got a gold medal in IOI.

After I graduated from the high school, I started my education at Orange Coast College. I cannot spend so much time on programming here like in the high school, but I try to find a time for it. The example of my activity in OCC is participating in the semi-final of ACM ICPC (the most popular team competition for students) in Riverside. I and two more students of OCC have created a team and we became top-ranked 2-year institution’s team and got the fifteenth place among 105 teams from all types of colleges. Out coach was the professor of Computer Science at OCC Justin Jang.

I am President of Algorithm Club at OCC. We organized a competition for OCC students in December to encourage them for studying competitive programming. Since it was the first time we have organized something, we did not advertise it good and only a few people came. Knowing about this problem, we are going to host a competition one more time in March, but we are expecting more people than last time. Hope that I will make competitive programming more popular among OCC students.

I have composed the plan of classes which I need to take for these two years. I am going to transfer to a private university or UC. At this moment I am studying very hard to increase my chance to transfer. My dream is to graduate from an university and find a good work as a computer programmer.