Why I’m Enrolled in a Computer Science Class… As an English Major

College is a time for exploration. It is also a time to challenge yourself. This past winter quarter I took Introduction to Python for my last Science and Engineering GE. Little did I know, I would become fascinated with the subject. As an English and Communication double major who thinks creatively and analytically about most of my assignments, I admired the way it challenged me to exercise my left brain.

Let me also tell you that I was in no way skilled at math in high school. Math was the subject for me that no matter how hard or long I studied, I just couldn’t excel to the standard I wanted to. Growing up, I just didn’t have strong teachers that gave me a solid foundation to build upon when I reached more advanced math in high school. Come junior year, with almost two years of having a math tutor under my belt, I was still so turned off by my incapability to fully comprehend the subject. Naturally, this steered me away from trying anything remotely STEM-related.

Since taking my Introduction to Python class, I definitely take a different approach to problem solving in every aspect of my life. This year as Picnic Day Parade Director, my Assistant Directors and I poured over spreadsheets and did multiplication by hand to calculate the space each parade entry needed. After learning some basic Python, I designed a program that will do that whole process for next year’s Parade Director in a fraction of the time.

When I draft essays, I’ve noticed that my flow of logic has improved and my search for evidence has gotten stronger. Training my right brain to be more active in my daily life has impacted me in little ways that have made a big difference. Even when some of my assignments make me want to throw my computer against a wall, I know that when I endure embracing the struggle, it will be beneficial to my education!

My ultimate goal with taking computer science classes is to educate myself on how technology works under the hood. I recognize that many companies in the Bay Area require you to have an understanding of their product, and many of these companies happen to make products that are software. By becoming increasingly skilled in Python (and hopefully one day C and C++), I can diversify my education, strengthen my left-brain, and demonstrate that I have a higher-education understanding of computer-science knowledge. Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll be able to integrate my knowledge into some sort of research project or career!

For those of you who are hesitant about enrolling in an introductory code course, don’t be! There are so many creative aspects to code that can be implemented once you know the basics. If you can’t find the time to squeeze it into your class schedule, there are tons of online resources (some of them are free!) that you can utilize to dip your toes into learning how to code. You will never know if this could end up being a subject that you are passionate about unless you try!