So a new semester is underway, and 4 weeks in, everything is in full swing. Although I can’t say as of now that my courseload is any better or worse than last semester (I’ll wait until the first round of midterms to pass judgment), my initial impressions are in and they aren’t anything like I expected. What I thought would be my hardest class has turned out to be my favorite class. EE101, introduction to digital logic, introduces students to the basics of digital logic, including number conversion, ciricuit design, logic gates, and state machines to name a few things. Reading this course description last year made me a little nervous. All of those things sounded so cool, but also sounded like they would be difficult to learn. However, I am taking the class with Professor Mark Redekopp, and I would encourage anyone to take a class with him if presented the opportunity. Not only is he very clear in his explanations the first time around, but he is so accessible to students for extra questions both online and during his office hours. This class is so cool, and the best part is that my internship at Qualcomm over the summer paved the way for me to perform well in it! At my internship, I learned to code in VHDL, which is a hardware description language. VHDL is a tool for expressing digital logic in hardware, so that the hardware can later be simulated/run in a real lab setting. Before my internship taught me how to code, I went through a two week crash course in digital logic and design. I never thought I could get paid to learn! This hands on learning definitely worked well for me, and so far EE101 is going very smoothly as a result. Most of the material we have covered so far my internship was able to cover in some way, given the nature of the project I worked on. It’s so nice to really enjoy a class that is so interesting and useful, without worrying about doing poorly. And between my small background and Professor Redekopp’s superb teaching, I see this class staying among my favorites for a long time! I heart state machines. This class is beginning to unleash my inner nerd:)
As far as my hardest class goes, this one was also a surprise. But in the best of ways. CTWR 412, Introduction to Screenwriting, is taking me on a trip! This practice is one I’ve always been interested in, and now that I am finally making an attempt to learn, I have to admit that I am no natural! Thinking of ideas or stories in your head, and trying your best to solely use words to describe how those images are going to play out on screen without giving too much or too little detail is quite the job. Or rather, picking out the “right” details is where the greatest difficulty lies. As my colorful professor is always reminding us “We are prisoners of prose.” After reading one of my scenes aloud, and hearing my classmates do the same. I understand. But finding a balance between including enough description about a character so that they are picturesque, but not so much that any of those details are intangible/aren’t relevant to portrayal on screen is so tricky. Aside from attempting to understand/master the craft and formatting, coming up with ideas and being open to sharing them in a group can also be intimidating. Sometimes you want to write about really personal subject matter. But no matter what you are writing about or thinking about writing about, it can be really difficult to share your ideas. In a class of 12, there is no ducking! This class is helping me convert constructive criticism (something I’ve always generally been good about) into substance, and inspiring me to make the most of my ideas. I am trying to embrace a new writing style and learn as much as possible. “Hard” but so worth it!