Sophomore year so far has been WOW. It has been ridiculously intense in every way, and now midterm season is starting up. The nights are getting later, but everything about sophomore year has somehow still been even better than freshman year, and I think a huge reason for this are my two Computer Science classes.
My CSCI 170 Discrete Methods in Computer Science class is basically a giant puzzle. You learn a bunch of techniques for analyzing and solving problems, and my professor, Michael Shindler, is just about the punniest man to walk the planet. My friend Rebecca has a giant Google doc going of all the hilarious things he’s said in lecture. Even though the material is pretty much all new to me, everything about the class is so fascinating and enjoyable. The best part about this class though is that we not only get to learn things like set theory and logic proposition equivalences, but we also get to apply whatever we see in this class two weeks later in my CSCI 104 Data Structures and Object Oriented Design class.
CSCI 104. Oh my goodness. And I thought I loved coding before. Don’t get me wrong, this class is definitely the most challenging class I have ever taken, but that’s exactly what makes it so great. Each lecture, I find myself being able to pay attention and ask questions pretty easily because we’re learning so much at one shot. The concepts are intriguing and again my professor Aaron Cote is spectacular. He’s super easy to follow and he always allots plenty of time for asking questions. He’s very encouraging and I especially appreciate the fact that he started off the semester with one-on-one meetings with each and every one of us. CSCI 104 homework assignments are lengthy and complex, but I find myself enjoying the process of coding and debugging. We’re applying concepts from CSCI 170 to write not just any old program, but to write the best possible one for a given problem, one that is efficient in both time and memory usage. The additional requirements force you to spend more time thinking algorithmically about a question before you just jump into typing away at your computer.
It’s only been a few weeks, but I already feel like I’ve grown significantly as a Computer Scientist. I’m excited to keep learning more and become an even better programmer by the end of this semester. Even though they’ve been and are going to get even more challenging, CSCI 170 and CSCI 104 have reaffirmed the fact that I’ve definitely found my niche and that I love Computer Science!