Week 2: Jan 23 – Jan 29

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What did you do this past week?

This past week is really the first actual week of school. Everything is going into full gear, all my classes are covering material and my labs have started. Relating to this class, I got started on our first project, Collatz. I was able to get everything set up and began coding and optimizing. Meanwhile, my extracurricular practices have just started up, taking up just 2 hours every night.

What’s in your way?

As mentioned above and last post, my practices have started and they’re taking up a portion of what little free time I have after classes. Luckily, the work load in my other classes are not as much as I expected them to be, or at least not yet. However, some classes will need my time in order for me to learn the content, as they are just conceptually hard.

What will you do next week?

This upcoming week I will be working on our project as much as possible, as that is the main thing I have coming up. By doing that, I will able to start getting used to the applications we use, like github and Travis CI. It will also let me get used to the workflow of the class, and hopefully later projects will go a lot smoother than this one.

What’s my experience of the class?

So far, the class has been smooth. The quizzes, while stressful, have gone fairly good for me (minus the one where I forgot how to shift). This week is my first time being called out in class for a question. It’s a very nerve-racking experience, as there is some pressure to seem like you know what you are doing. It’s easy to doubt everything I say, especially when Prof. Downing asks for more substance to my answers. But otherwise, it’s so far an interesting class.

What’s my pick-of-the-week or tip-of-the-week?

My pick-of-the-week is actually a reddit post I found on the UT Austin subreddit. It describes a UTCS senior who did poorly his freshman year and brought his grades and overall experience up from what it was. It’s something to think about if you’re in the same position as he is. There is always hope, even for us CS kids!

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Week 1: Jan 16 – Jan 22

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What did you do this past week?

As the new semester starts, the first week has come by with a breeze. In many of my classes, including this one, we have gone through most of the syllabus. However, Prof. Downing wasted little time in getting into the meat of the work. Before we knew it, we were introduced to many thing, and questioned a lot of things we thought we knew (specifically Java). We went over the concepts of cycle length and how to compute them, and also l- and r-values and how each language uses them.

What’s in your way?

Out of the two semesters per year, Spring semester is always the busier of the two. This is due to the extracurricular activities I participate in having huge events this semester and, therefore, many practices and hours put into our events. Coming from taking 13 hours last semester, I added an extra class. Therefore, this will cut into my time for both myself and all my other classes.

What will you do next week?

Next week is where the real stuff begins and all my classes go into full swing. Now that the first project is out, I plan on going over it and start coming up with my basic solution so I can expand on it in the coming weeks. With that in mind, I need to decide on which of the three options I want to do my projects over. While i’m leaning towards using UTCS computers at the moment simply because their familiar, Docker is looking a lot nicer and, more importantly, convenient.

What’s my experience of the class?

So far, my experience in this class has been rather pleasant. Prof. Downing’s teaching style is very engaging, both in the way he lectures and how he involves the students. The chance that your name can be called to answer a question is, quite frankly, terrifying though forces me to pay attention. Not only that but the daily quizzes forces you to also pay attention to everything that has been said, just so you don’t miss any questions related to lecture material.

What’s my pick-of-the-week or tip-of-the-week?

My tip of the week is to familiarize yourself with the programs that you decide to use for your projects, whether it be Docker, the UTCS machines, or installing all necessary programs. It’s imperative to get this done sooner or later so you don’t waste valuable time that could be spent on your project by being confused about how to operative. On an non-CS related note, I suggest everyone to be sure to get yourself situated on your schedule to get back into the groove, especially by fixing your terrible sleep schedule I know you have.