One of the best things about the CS degree plan is its flexibility. As I've written about before, I'm an advocate of using this flexibility to explore diverse topics. When else in life are you going to study ancient Native American civilizations or the psychology of music with the depth and rigor of a college course?
The following are some of my positive experiences with electives at UT.
I drew this picture! Please don't use it anywhere else without asking me first.
In my freshman year of high school, I hardly talked. I always assumed that other people knew better than I did, so I listened to what other people had to say and learned from them. I never took the lead in class projects; I never proposed ideas. I let other people do the thinking, and I simply carried out their grand visions. In theater, I respected my directors' decisions, and I went into auditions under the assumption that I would never be given a part. There were other people who were better than me at acting, and my only strength was my ability to work hard and follow directions.
I ended my last post with this question:
"When the movie is first screened to the cast and crew, when the opening scene illuminates the faces of the main actors and directors, what's the location assistant thinking? Does he feel a sense of ownership of the movie in front of him? The same emotions as the protagonist and producer? Is he proud of his work or is his job so specific, so far removed from the big picture, that he feels like a stranger in the audience, simply enjoying the free popcorn and daydreaming of weekend plans?"
I remember when I started my freshman year, I honestly wasn't too sure about what it meant to have a CS degree. All my exposure to Computer Science had been those times trying to build websites, make computer games, move robots, and participate in programming competitions.
In fact, I never knew there was a major called "CS". I had always assumed that when I went to college, I would need to get a coding or Software Engineer Major. Never would I have expected that there would be something called "Computer Science". How is computer even a science?
I refuse to cross the finish line all the time.
Sometimes, it's better not to cross the finish line in the short run if it means you'll cross it in the long run.
Slowly, as the semesters go by, most of the required courses I need to take as a CS Major gets checked off the list. With this, much of my schedule has become more freeing, allowing me to pick and choose classes rather than be "forced" into the regular intro courses.
Imagine what I assume to be a common scene for many computer science students:
Pets are the best example of domesticated animals and one of the most adorable topics of the seminar.
Every semester, I’m required by my honors program to take a one hour seminar. This semester, by a combination of late registration times and a small array of interesting seminars, I ended up in a seminar on animal domestication. Now, I am not the slightest bit interested in animal domestication. I have nothing against biology (in fact, I prefer it to physics), but this very specific topic— domestication of animals— is not intriguing to me. I only signed up for the seminar because I had no choice; it was the only open seminar that fit my schedule.
During my monthly existential crisis, I'll often draw an analogy between larger tech company employees and the cast of a movie. In my analogy, the CEO is the star, the person people talk about when they discuss the movie. E.g:
"Bro you haven't seen Shrek 2? That movie's definitely top 5 of all time, Eddie Murphy's delivery is hilarious."
"Bro have you heard Google's harvesting all our data? I don't trust Sundar Pichai, man. I think it's his eyes."
Have you ever been in a moment where you've had so many events, exams, and assignments all packed together that you don't even get a chance to breathe, rest, or think?
That's what happened last semester for me.
Running this way and that, I was always on a nonstop pace in order to go to meetings at the Panda Express Union, or participate at an entrepreneurial event downtown, or hole up in the Incubator to finish some Graphics project - to preoccupy my mind and always busy myself.