Ben Borgers

2023 in review

January 5, 2024

This is the first time I’ve done a year in review. I’ve really never thought to do it, but I figure it may be interesting to look back on — here goes:


In January, Justin asked if I’d like to go from irregular/flexible freelancing for Buttondown to a steady 10 hours/week as a support engineer — in practice, technical customer support questions, fixing bugs, and working on bigger projects when time allows. So for almost all of 2023 I’ve been working 7-9am on weekdays, which has been (and continues to be) wonderful and fun. This arrangement in many ways lifted my self-imposed anxiety around freelance work and how it fits into my life as a student, but that is a post for another time.

Over the summer, I also interned at Locket! (Thank you Matt + Maxi + rest of the team.) I got to work on the Android platform, which had grown a bit neglected, as one of two engineers working on it. I spent the summer shipping features and improvements to the millions of people that use that app on Android. Not only was the scale of the user base super interesting, but I found the processes and management of the company really, really interesting to observe. There’s a ton with setting focus and priorities that I think they’re doing right (of course, what do I know — but it felt right at least).

In fact, I’ve been continuing to work there part-time during the semester, and will continue through the end of next semester in the spring! I’ve continued to really enjoy it, which is a testament given that working alongside classes has historically been somewhat stressful for me.

However, this semester has been one of the best in recent memory in terms of stress. I can’t really put my finger on why, but I think it was some combination of letting go somewhat of school perfection + fulfilling and flexible arrangements with work alongside school.


I finished up my sophomore year at Tufts University and am now halfway through my junior year!

School is always fine — I have this feeling that my personality/upbringing is well-suited to the skills that school rewards (not to be necessarily confused with actual competency or useful skills). I took CS 40, Machine Structures and Assembly Language, in the spring which was probably the hardest and most time-consuming class I have taken thus far at Tufts, and also the best class I have taken thus far at Tufts. In the fall I took Algorithms, which was a bit less hard and not as much my cup of tea. I also took two German classes in the fall (towards an eventual German minor), which I think has livened up my native German a good amount.

I also became the Head of Engineering for JumboCode for this school year, which was been a wonderful experience! I taught workshops in the fall for new developers to learn web development, which really took it out of me for a while, but now I’m coasting and answering questions from teams whenever they have them. Some of my big plans for hosting events have fallen by the wayside in a busy semester, but I’m making plans to hopefully not have that happen as much this upcoming semester.


One effect of fulfilling “real” work alongside school means less time for side projects. Tradeoffs! Looking back at the year, I didn’t launch anything substantial really — I built projects (Stickies and Oatmeal come to mind), but nothing really got to being launched.

I would loosely like to launch some more projects (in some form) in 2024, but I will not be super hung up if that doesn’t end up happening.


I feel like I’m currently in as good of shape as I’ve ever been. From April through the end of the year I’ve been going to the gym 5 times/week and eating relatively well. Nothing crazy, but I feel good and I don’t stress about what I’m eating, which are both good feelings.

Other important stats

  • Bubble tea drinks consumed: approximately 60 (yikes)
  • Wisdom teeth extracted: 4
  • Camera purchases: 3
  • Countries: U.S., Canada, Croatia