Today and Tomorrow

This is my looking far too serious. Photo: Vincent Po

This is my looking far too serious. Photo: Vincent Po

First and foremost, I am a freshman at Princeton University, born and raised in Sweden; I am A Swedish Tiger, if you will. Academics is one of my foremost concerns and my major is Computer Science, an interest I have had since I started playing with Redstone in Minecraft back in 2011. I also study everything from psychology and economics to the visual arts and architecture, as part of my liberal arts education. Through intimate knowledge of computers, people and the world at large, I hope to make a career within cyber security. I find the field incredibly interesting and truly integral to the society of tomorrow. War, crime, industrial espionage, insurance, banking and governance are just a few matters that will continue to be increasingly dependent on cyber security in the coming decades. In learning about computers, people and the world though, I am open to all types of experiences. I have no clue where I will live after my four years at Princeton are over, and although both the States and Sweden are dear to me, I intend to further broaden my horizons by moving somewhere else eventually.

Having projects constantly in the air is an integral part of my person. They are my hobbies, learning experiences, second jobs and distractions all at once. Among other active projects I have an iOS game on the Apple App Store and run this website. The site is excellent for me, as I get to work with, and teach myself about, networks, IT and web hosting while I get to write about all kinds of things. Culture, investing, academics, politics and life are just some of things I write about. At their core though, every single post on the website is about my development; they are about my learning; they concern my becoming better and smarter through mistakes and experiences. On my book review page, you will find very concise thoughts on some of the books I occasionally find myself reading and here, on the About page, you have gotten to know me a bit better.

Yesterday

I grew up in Stockholm and later Båstad, a small town in the southernmost province Scania. With influences from both the biggest city in Scandinavia and a much more rural home, I can feel comfortable nearly anywhere. My first two years of school were at a private school called Maria Elementar where we sang a hymn every morning and had to address our teachers as Magister and Fröken, archaic gender-bound Swedish terms for teachers. At eight, my family moved to Båstad; a quaint place, Båstad was not nearly as stimulating as Stockholm and although I was not particularly happy about the move at the time, I certainly am now. Living in Båstad for several years grounded me somewhat and has made me a more agreeable person. At elementary school, I found my interest in science but was fairly uninterested in such things as social science, history and language. In spite of my somewhat blasé approach to school I was advised to skip a grade, partly due to aptitude and partly due to my not quite fitting in with my classmates.

Beautiful Stockholm.

Beautiful Stockholm.

Thrown in to the higher grade, I started to take school more seriously, as I wanted to prove to myself that the grade skip was indeed justified. At the same time, I picked up an interest in computers and gaming. Until High School, my time was most spent in front of my computer screen either coding, watching educational YouTube videos or studying. In my final year, my grades shot up with force, as I become interested in a very competitive school called ProCivitas, in Helsingborg, approximately an hour away by train.

Finally arrived in High School, gaming took a back-seat and I grew both socially and emotionally. Reading How to Win Friends and Influence People was a stepping-stone through which I finally discovered my confidence and extroversion, core parts of my identity today. Although I mainly studied the natural sciences, other interests of mine began developing. Indeed, it was the start of what I now consider my greatest strength, my unhinged interest in nearly all things. Whereas I had previously dismissed social science due to egotism and vanity, indeed real science was for smart people, suddenly I found myself reading the news and becoming truly interested. Soon after that, I started this blog and discovered a love for writing. Other projects during that time included a film making company, Take 3 Media, and hosting a TEDx in Helsingborg. It was an excellent three-year experience throughout which I also became very involved with the school. As a devoted student, instigator to the adding of the course Programming 1 to the school curriculum, Chair of the student government and avid school ambassador, I graduated with an award for Best Achievements for the School and a final composite grade of 98 percent.

ProCivitas at the High School Expo in Stockholm.

ProCivitas at the High School Expo in Stockholm.

At some point in this journey, a seed was planted that grew into the greatest decision of my life: applying abroad. As all education is free in Sweden, very few look elsewhere for university. I, however, knew I wanted more than to go back to Stockholm and study. Sweden had grown increasingly small and unstimulating, and I know it would be against my nature to stay. That said, the decision was not easy, and it took a great deal of willpower and determination to navigate the complicated admissions process largely by myself. Even once I was admitted, there was an entire month of pure anxiety as I figured out the financial situation and committed to such a wild endeavor. Finally, I became the second ProCivitas alumni to attend Princeton and probably the first to be admitted to three Ivy League schools.