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The Turn of a Decade

Brandon's Bulletin
Hello everyone 👋
The forecast is calling for a substantial next few days of rain and cloud, but I’m really hoping for a couple good days at least. Realizing how lethargic I get during these rainy days, and I don’t like it. If you have any advice, please let me know 😭
Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash
Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash
The Turn of a Decade
Dang. I just turned 20 this week. I’m getting super old and also, it’s my 2nd COVID birthday. Gotta thank my friends (and family of course) for making that special for me, especially Alessia and Victor.
I honestly couldn’t be happier with how I ended my 2nd decade. From last June until now, I’ve definitely had momentous milestones that have really redirected my life trajectory — things that I could have never planned out.
  • Got accepted as one of 22 2020 Laidlaw Scholars at UofT
  • Started my YouTube channel and grown it to nearly 1.2k subscribers
  • Had an virtual edu-tech internship with MakeSense in Paris, France
  • Worked with my now good friend David on a COVID-19 fundraiser
  • Joined my first research lab on the psychology of decision making
  • Joined Simply Neuroscience (briefly) as a content creator
  • Founded iAscend, and built it up to a 20k+ impact scope
  • Volunteered at a food drive with GlobalMedic/UTSC for the first time
  • Co-Founded BioDojo, who’s currently accepting their 2nd cohort
  • Starting this newsletter, and have consistently put out some of my weekly thoughts
  • Became the Medicine and Subject health co-lead at Laidlaw
  • Started writing articles for The Varsity and for NCJS
  • Joined my first “real” research lab, assisting on a project on HIV
  • Started my own research project looking at engineered antibodies
Looking back at everything I’ve had the opportunity to do as a 19 year old, it lowkey gets me a little bit emotional. It was only a few conversations that really spiralled me into this life — lots of doors were opened that I would have never expected, and to have all of these opportunities in the midst of the pandemic? I’m just so fortunate and so lucky.
Saying yes to things have really helped me exploit these opportunities. Upon almost every application or preceding every opportunity, was an innate fear of failure and a really loud voice telling me that I should just “give it up for this year.” Believe me, I succumbed to this influence many times. It was those few opportunities where I just decided to put my head down and give 100%, that really changed my life. Oh, and helped me become more confident as well.
One of the biggest things that I’m taking away from this past year of being 19 is the value of friendship. Like I mentioned in my last newsletter: I have the best friends in the world, and they have really been the foundations for my inspiration, drive, and also development as an individual. I owe them a lot, and I try to repay it by reciprocating that throughout all of my interactions.
I’m also taking away the value of mentorship away from my 19s. I spent a lot of time reaching out to incredible people who have given me so much valuable advice on life, school, and everything in between. I’ve been learning a lot of the workflows, best practices, and habits from people I look up to, and trying to see where I can use them to enhance many of my practices.
I’m heading into Year 20 with a lot of momentum, but also being grounded by my values, my friends, and my family. I have an outpouring of love to everyone who has been a part of my journey — those of you who read my newsletters and watch my videos, those who I’ve had the opportunity to talk to and get to know, and those of you who I’ve looked up to from a distance.
I’ve never been big on celebrating birthdays but for some reason this one feels a little different. Probably because I owe a lot of what has happened over the past year to all of you. So thank you — thanks for all of the support and for believing in me. I’m excited to see how 20 looks on me.
I reached out on twitter to see if anyone had any advice for me before I turned 20. Here’s what they had to say:
Brandon Yu
Turning 20 this afternoon 😳 Does anyone have advice for how to approach this "defining decade?"
Me this Week 🤡
  • What I learned — sleep and it’s role in inflammation, BJABs and phagocytosis
  • What I did — had a great call with Tony Kulesa via BioDojo, presented on the Sleep-Immune Crosstalk at BioDojo, onboarded the new team at iAscend
  • What I’m going to do — taking a week off with my family this week!
Quote of the Week 💬
We can judge our progress by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers, our willingness to embrace what is true rather than what feels good. - Carl Sagan
Video of the Week 🎬
I really appreciate you for being a part of The One Percent today! if you are enjoying this newsletter, I’d love for you to share this with a friend or two by hitting the share button below. I’ll see you back here again in a week’s time!
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Brandon Yu
Brandon Yu @brandonoliveryu

Becoming better in public and sharing weekly learnings throughout my personal pursuit of ikigai.

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