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Experiences

My Experience Studying Computer Science

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

So I was interested in coding since I was about 13-14 years old, but never had the time and discipline to learn until I decided to major in Computer Science my freshman year. To be clear, I went into college as a Pre-Nursing student ready to work in trauma but then I learned I didn’t like biology. So I decided to follow my teenage dreams and major in one of the most difficult majors at a university. It has been nothing but a lot of lows and a few highs. I want to speak about this because Computer Science is hard and an investment, but it is rewarding and an important part of today’s society. 

Last night I got an email from my Programming Theory professor that I got an A on my first midterm and I was VERY excited. What I am learning is hard.. I have learned two new programming languages in the last month and the point of the class is how programming languages are created. If you don’t understand what I am talking about, there’s a bunch of functions that a genius creates to make your devices work, but it’s so much more complicated than that. My exam score influenced this article because it is very rare for me to get a good score on my Computer Science exams since it’s a hard field. I want to highlight my lows and highs from the past couple of years because it is not all sunshine and rainbows in this field. It’s sometimes a very lonely, humiliating and mind boggling life. So, here I go.

Like other stem majors, you don’t have a “syllabus week”

You will dive straight in on your first day. All gas, no breaks, be ready. I remember my first day of sophomore year like no other. “You have a quiz on Wednesday about Appendix B through Page 190” which was an INSANE amount of review for two days, but that is the reality of Computer Science. It is hard stuff you are learning, except for research.

You will barely have a life outside of school

The thing with Computer Science is that the work is intensive. You will have work for every class and multiple programs due in a week, but that means you have to allocate at least 10 hours or more to complete ONE assignment. And in that one assignment, it will probably fail to compile at least 20 times, which then makes you feel like a fool. So you must make time for sulking. After this, your code will run at some point if you ask for help or figure it out and it is so rewarding.

Everyone is really smart in this area

My classmates are so smart that it impresses me. I have met some of my favorite people through this major because everyone has each other’s back to help them succeed. I love being surrounded by like minded people.

I Burnt Out My Sophomore Year

I had no programming experience before my freshman year of college so I was thrown in the deep end, drowning. So when you look at this, do you understand?

public class BinarySearchT<E> implements Something<E>, SearchTree<E> {

 protected Node<E> root;

 protected boolean addReturn = false;

 private Comparator<E> comp;

 List<E> list;

this.hard = is_hard;

 }

Yeah, me neither. Just kidding, now I do. I understand it now because I put in the work. I did around 70 hours of school work and studying to understand all of this, but I ended up burning out.

I wanted to be the best, I wanted to get an A, I wanted to study 24/7 and I also took some of the hardest classes I could take in one semester. I was exhausted everyday, barely had time for myself and some other things happened. I hit rock bottom and I wanted to give up. I kept going but I think that may have been the worst for me because I have felt burnt out since that semester. I talk to my CS friends and they feel the same way as me. The first three years of studying Computer Science are rough. I wanted to give up, but in my senior year I found my passion!

I Took My Favorite Class My Fourth Year of College

I was feeling hopeless about CS because it was really hard and wasn’t clicking for a while. Although it still is really hard and doesn’t always click, I found something I was finally interested in my fourth year of college and its Software Engineering. It took so long for me to find my passion and actually enjoy school. If I had given up I would have never felt the exhilarating and passion I feel for CS now.

There’s More To Do In Computer Science Than Coding

If coding isn’t that easy for someone, remember there are many jobs in that field that someone can fulfill. This degree is so valuable and packed with so many skills. This degree ranges from analytical skills, tech skills, math skills, logical thinking, and anything involving the future. Tech has positions to be filled and a Computer Science degree is applicable to many. Some ideas I have are Software Engineering, Tech Sales, Sales Engineer, Project Management, etc. and it is all in tech.

The Material is cool af

Yes, if you are a computer nerd then you’ll understand me. The things we learn is so cool. I am not just talking about computers and coding, but the way Discrete Math (CS math) is used in the world shows how much technology is so important. No, I am not talking about Insta… just science technology.

Would I trade the last four years even though it has been rough?

No, I have learned so much and have so much more knowledge than I ever thought possible. I just tell myself, 13 year old me is cheering me on for choosing this path.

Happy midterm season, you got this :)

Anna is a senior at Hawaii studying Computer Science specializing in Cyber Security and minoring in Math. She is from Napa Valley, California. She loves focusing on school, health and fitness. When she is not studying, you can catch her working out, at the beach, with family, cuddling with her cats, at a coffee shop eating a lot of food or traveling somewhere off island.
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