How Computer Science Changed My Life

I never thought I would be writing a blog post about my major, but here I am explaining how Computer Science changed my life, both for the better and worse. From being a CS major to being a CS minor, back to double majoring in CS and Business Administration, I have definitely seen a big change in myself these past two years. How, you might ask? Let me walk you through this beautiful (and slightly stressful) journey of what it’s like to be a CS student.

First, to all my non-CS friends, please don’t ask if I know how to hack into someone’s computer. Although I do know how to diffuse a bomb with code, the number of people who approach me with “Hey, you’re a computer scientist, can you help me fix my computer?” is incredible. It really indicates that people need to stop relying on movies to understand what computer scientists actually do.

Not going to lie, computer science is pretty cool. The possibilities of the outcomes you could create with your code are endless. However, I assure you that less than half the time you’re actually coding. You are most likely spending a vast majority of your time fixing your code, debugging and possibly pulling your hair out, all while trying to get your code to work. It’s crazy how one small thing like a semi-colon could lead to so many errors popping up and make you question your entire existence.

Sure, there are more challenging and competitive fields out there, but trust me when I say that CS is just as hard. Whenever I talk about my struggles as a CS major, I hear a lot of “It can’t be that bad” or “it could be worse.” Try working on a homework assignment for 20+ hours and getting stuck on the same old bug for 8 hours straight. It’s hard not to go crazy after staring at your computer screen for hours, sometimes pretending it’s not 3 AM. But honestly, in the end, there is nothing more blissful than seeing that you got your code to magically compile with no errors.

Regardless of the intensity of the course you’re taking, CS assignments are intimidating — forget the projects you might have to deal with in the future. It takes a lot of courage and a willingness to challenge yourself to work on the assignments. No matter how many times you’ve read the assignment handout, you might still have no idea what you’re supposed to be doing. One solution might be to go and ask the professor, right? But even after you’ve understood the assignment, the problem of how to implement the concepts arises. In CS, you have to take the roles of both the student and the teacher. If you’re having difficulties with something, your professor will encourage you to “play with the code” and figure it out yourself. This type of freedom has definitely helped me become more confident in my ability to learn new skills and improve my problem-solving techniques.

As a CS major, you practically will find yourself living at office hours. But one good thing that comes out from spending most of your life in a room with other clueless CS students is creating long-lasting relationships. Finding people who you could cry with during those hours leading to the deadline could really help make the whole experience a lot more memorable. Plus, you get to know the people around you a lot better as you get to work on the assignments together and help explain the concepts to each other.

Computer science is a long, stressful journey, and even though I might be complaining about my major 90% of the time, I do believe that it has helped me. I have become more aware of my capabilities while enhancing my patience level, problem-solving skills and striving to keep learning. Working on the assignments has also helped me cope better with challenges and also encouraged me to take risks, something which will help me later on in the CS field and in other fields as well. So, yes, I guess my major is worth my while.

 

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