Lyde's blog

By Lyde, history, 3 months ago, In English

Note: it's a mile-long wall of text about my story in the recent ICPC Regional Contest, which is my first time experiencing it, so if I wasted anyone's time, I'm truly sorry.

Backstory

I had a dream. Going to the ICPC World Final.

I have like, 4 years, 4 chances to do it or something? I just settled it to be my dream, my main goal. I just want to travel abroad and compete against the very best in the world. But of course, since my school isn't VNU and VNU-HCM, which is just dominant in CP, I basically need to find a way to advance.

My coach (who is one of the teachers who teaches me programming stuff in high schools, and I really like him so he agreed to help me in future years :3) found 2 more pretty talented coders and formed a pretty decent team up to the standards. They aren't as interested in CP as I am, but they are fairly good at offline competitions (which I clearly don't) and they know a lot of things that I don't (DP SOS, for example, I'm still confused in the fundamentals of it)

We just accepted and moved on together, learned some problems, and had a lot of fun. We tried to manage every problem in the early days of the team, bonding stuff, chilling, and crying with hours of bugs. Like, our team name isn't even that complicated, I just saw a kite in the sky the day before I moved to Hanoi, and I said "Can kite be a decent team name?", everyone easily accepted it. So yeah, HUST Kite.

Day by day, the series of competitions begins. We somehow sailed smoothly through the ICPC Northern Vietnam and casually blundered the other two. The school contests went well as there weren't too many competitive teams here. The ICPC National Contest? Well, we didn't do that well at all (I don't know what the hell happened to me that day like I was asleep or something, but I had 5 hours to shine, and I did 0). But again being saved by the teammate and doing enough problems, we qualified to the Regional Contest in Hue.

There is a 1-month span between the National and the Regional Contest, that much just isn't close to enough time for us to fix up everything, since there is a lot of work and study in our school as well. At least it was fun, we had somewhere together to do what we love. We accepted the fact that we were not good enough, so going to Hue is going to be a fun time, and we will try our best we can.

So yeah, time flies, the time has come. We went to Hue, met a lot of amazing people, went places, and bought souvenirs. Like a tourist going abroad, but it's just a bunch of friends doing fun things. The day before the competition, I wished our team to at least do something good, and create some motivation for us to work harder.

The contest finally begins, well, this morning. All we had was hope. I wore a beanie, as it will do anything. The clock started, and we jumped into the problems. After like 2 hours, we did 5. It felt well. I even celebrated for an instant. Hoping that it would give some hope in a decent position, I asked my teammate for the rankings. Then we realized we were 8th.

"Wait we're going to push for a medal right?"

When my teammates and all the other teams were still busy thinking about the problems, I was frozen. My mind was just filled with joy, although the contest was far from over. We actually did something, and we need to keep it until the end. So I tried my best to support and help the teams, solved 2 more, and ended up 15th. By school, we were 8th, which is the very last position for a silver.

When I realized we were silver, I was overwhelmed. I think the other two were as well. I don't know, are we better than we thought or it was just pure luck? I don't know, we won a fricking medal. We jumped like bunnies or something, hugging each other although there was everyone around (if that annoyed someone then I'm sorry, I was just mindless then). I realized CP is not that boring. The emotions when solving problems and winning something are surreal, it's really hard to describe. For once I felt happier than ever, knowing that it's a small step towards my dream after all.

The silver medal isn't that exceptional after all, since there are 14 above us and I think a lot of them will push for further achievements anyway, but for now, it's everything to me. Getting the prize for the first time is an experience I might not get ever again, it returned my motivation, my mood to live, and a lot of things. Need to cheer on the first teams though, they did very well and made a very exciting competition. Especially the winner, NewTrend from Korea, clutch 2 problems in 6 minutes? I heard about the excitement coming from the other competitors about this but it's just mind-blowing to even think about the emotions when that happened. I'm genuinely happy that they won like this. Absolutely deserved.

And the fun is over, I'm here, still daydreaming about everything that happened. I don't know what to make out of this. Hope? Hope will give us the willpower and make everything work somehow? But it's really good to pursue some hope in life and expect a better future. Maybe we did qualify for something like, Super Regional or something? Or not, I don't know. If we actually did qualify then what would we do? Lots of questions in my mind, but I will keep them for later.

I don't know what to say anymore. If you managed to read up to here, I'm impressed. It's just my emotion coming out of dust and writing everything I could remember. Sorry if something I said was wrong or inappropriate. Thank you, honestly. And never give up. Never leave your dream behind. I feel guilty I left Codeforces for that long right now.

And thanks to the author of the competition, an absolute experience that I will never forget.

Here's a random picture I took before leaving. Hope you will find it chilly.

Stay well my friend.

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3 months ago, # |
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good job man!

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3 months ago, # |
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Proud Of You man <3. Keep going strong. Best wishes for the ICPC WF.

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3 months ago, # |
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Keep Going!!

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3 months ago, # |
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Keep going and make HUST great <3

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    3 months ago, # ^ |
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    Thanks! Glad that I got to see you yesterday, your journey in ICPC inspired me a lot to move forward so I'm really happy! I will try my best to improve and hope I won't let you down!

    Also, I'm sorry all I could do was bow down to give an orz because that idea came to me too fast to think about something else. Hope you accept it though :(

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3 months ago, # |
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congrat a oi

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3 months ago, # |
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I too shared your dream and went to the same contest as well, my team got 6th place in that regional but it wasn't enough to get to WF (or even playoffs) as well. (in fact we did not even get a medal because of the rules)

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    3 months ago, # ^ |
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    Feels sad your team couldn't make it, 6th place is really good but NUS has too many good teams, to be the best of them must be tough :(

    Good luck in the future contests, I am looking forward to meeting you guys soon :3

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3 months ago, # |
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your post and your submission history gave me a lot of hope, maybe if i can be more diligent i can make up for my unintelligence

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3 months ago, # |
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Met you for the first time there. Congratulations!

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3 months ago, # |
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Being a shallow dude I am, never thought your hug that day would've had so much meaning in it.

You probably forgot to mention your Olympiad "Super Cup" division performance in the very same week as well, where you were ranked 10th place individually among all participants (including very strong OIers and heck even IOI medalists). I believe there was far more than just "pure luck" in that phenomenal week of yours.

You will go far my brother, there are so much more joy waiting for you out there.

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    3 months ago, # ^ |
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    Thank you! Your hug meant a lot to me as well :)

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3 months ago, # |
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I should have gone for the meet-up and hugged you yesterday if I had a chance (sadly I can't because I was sick). Good luck in the future!

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3 months ago, # |
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da. god

good luck on your journey

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3 months ago, # |
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We used to work with each other in Hanoi. I desire to study in HUST and hope to see you again in the near future. Wish you luck Lyde.