As a computer technician and programmer, if I don’t know the answer to a question, I turn to Google.Â I may not know every answer to every question, but I sure know how to get it.Â I’ve started to apply this concept to classes I’m taking right now; calculus in particular.
I was stuck on the section titled “The Precise Definition of a Limit.”Â My professor breezed over it in class and told us to read the chapter.Â As I started to read the chapter, there were parts that did not make sense.Â How did they get from step a to step b?Â What does that symbol mean?Â To answer these questions, I turned to my old friend Google.Â From doing a little bit of research I was able to find a forum I could post questions to (if they weren’t already answered in the archive) AND I found a the lecture notes of a professor in Indiana who is using the same book as my professor.Â After reading his lecture notes, the concept was clear and the book started to make sense again!
If I never had this mindset when it comes to learning, I would’ve been reading that section in the book over and over again.Â I would be right where I was before except with a higher level of stress.Â Not all books/professors will teach in a way that I can easily understand, so it’s nice to know there are alternative routes in the journey of understanding a concept.
I have started the third week of school and already I feel like I need to do homework every day to catch up. Taking Calculus and Physics at Cuesta and two online classes at Cal State Channel Islands has taken its toll on my available free time.Â There are some things I’ve given up during the weekdays such as reading non-school related books and of course blog posts.
However, for one of my classes I am writing on various topics of societal issues in computing.Â Since most of these papers are based on opinion and research, I figured these would make for great blog posts.Â In the future I would like to start posting some of these papers that I write for the sake of sharing with the community.Â So get your RSS feeds ready for future posts!
Last Monday (12/18/2006) was spent driving down the opposite direction of the 101. I went down to Camarillo to meet with Dr. Bill Wolfe, head of computer science at CSU Channel Islands. He asked me some questions to get a feel of my background and my direction. I indicated I am planning on taking Calculus and preferred classes that were more mathematically involved. From this he suggested that I instead looked into Computer Science. I never really considered myself Computer Science material until I started doing my own independent study and found I actually liked programming and delving deeper into programming concepts. My major, Information Technology, is more of a mix between Comp. Sci. and business: It’s not too math oriented, and it’s not too business oriented. I like to call it “Computer Science for Dummies” (sorry Steven!). Anyways, long story short: I decided to move from IT to Computer Science because it’s more challenging and will be better for me in the long run (No Masters program for IT). Computer Science is a more widely known Major than IT is, so I’m wondering if I’m going to the right school for that? I heard Cal Poly has a good program, or what about someplace in the bay area? At this point however, I don’t care. I just wanted to earn my Bachelor’s degree and hopefully go on to obtain a masters. Afterwards, he showed me the labs and indicated that I could easily get a job within the department doing some sort of tech support position. I left with a better sense of direction of what I’ll be doing in the near future. In short: this semester taking physics + calc at cuesta and 3 classes online at CSUCI.
I’m not sure if it’s a good or bad thing quite yet. Today I received more information regarding the ongoing turbulence that is applying for Cal State Channel Islands. Apparently a lot of the classes that I need to take for the BS in Information Technology are online classes. This means I have a lot more flexibility as to where I can live. Pretty much it comes down to the opportunity to live at home with my parents for another semester instead of moving down to Camarillo for school. Further, this means I can continue working at Cuesta AND save money by living at home. Now this sounds like a great thing happening, right? I got free rent/utilities/food AND I already have a decent paying job as a student that also looks good on my resume. The part that I didn’t like about it is I no longer have that incentive to leave San Luis Obispo. It would be silly of me to move out when I’m taking online classes. Still, I want that experience of living out of the county and doing things on my own. I guess I just have to suck up my pride and do the most logical thing: live with the parents for another semester. You can’t beat free.
I’m happy that I’ll finally be going for my BS degree, but I just wanted the whole college experience to go with it. But really, is it worth the money? This will give me the opportunity to save more money for when I really do move out. I’m pretty sure I will have to move down there eventually to finish up my degree, but after having to skip the current semester, I’m getting a bit impatient.
Nothing is for sure and I just got this information today. Who knows if this information will be irrelevant tomorrow. I sure don’t know.