As of 2 pm today, I was done with all my lecture and lab sections for the semester, marking the end of another eighth of my college experience.  The passage of time in college is weird- it both seems like days and weeks take forever, but when all is said and done, it’s sad knowing you’re one semester closer to graduating.


This semester marked a significant shift in my education from a foundational curriculum in computer science and computer architecture to a more depth-focused curriculum in which I learned specialized topics.  EE 450 (Computer Networks) and ITP 125 (Intro to Information Security) have given me a deep knowledge of the Internet, how it works, and how to use computer communications to your advantage.  CSCI 460 (Artificial Intelligence) and CSCI 303 (Design and Analysis of Algorithms) have given me a toolkit to solve some of the most complicated problems in theoretical computing. I can tell that I have grown as a computer scientist, and it’s an awesome feeling!


In other news, this semester was my second and last as President of my fraternity.  Although I am very glad it is over, being President will be a experience of growth that I will carry with me always.  I (would like to) believe that my time as President has taught me much about leadership, motivating and guiding a group, and sacrificing for the sake of an organization.  This is what Greek life is all about- learning and growing with the support of your brothers.


On the research front, I am coming closer and closer to having a finished product.  Right now, I am writing, editing, and re-writing my paper draft, which will hopefully be ready in time for presentation at a workshop at a software engineering conference in May.  I couldn’t be more excited!  I have been able to apply skills I’ve learned in Artificial Intelligence, which makes it even cooler.  I’ve also been helping some freshmen on my time to learn to code, and they’re already making significant contributions.


This winter break, I’m embarking on my next big personal project: an application for a fellow Trojan’s (and Theta Xi’s) start-up business.  The app itself won’t be ground breaking, as it’s mostly a user interface for the product his company will make.  Still, it’s a valuable new skill for me to pick up and I’m excited to be involved in something that will actually go to market!  I also plan on using some of my downtime to pick up some new programming languages.  After becoming comfortable with Python this semester in addition to Java and C++ (which I already knew), I really want to expand my repertoire of languages.  Being able to code in different languages enhances your overall problem solving and comprehension skills as a programmer, and it make you more marketable, so that’s a no brainer.


Well, that’s all for this semester.  I’m very excited to get some time off, but first, I have got to get back to studying for finals.  Happy holidays!