Extracurricular Courses

Was it the interview overloaded Data Structures? Or the overly intensive NP != P Algorithms? Or how about that really fancy one called operating systems where you work with pintOS? No, in fact it was French I and French II.

When I came to UT and started committing myself to CS courses, I swore to myself that non-CS classes were ridiculous, and a waste of time. of course, some still are in my opinion (looking at you, Biology). But for the most part, I think they’re a great way to gain perspective outside of the technical world we indulge ourselves in.

I remember walking in to class saying how I would barely scrape by with a C, because come on, that’s what really happens when you don’t care about a college class. Instead I became so immersed in the French culture. I studied it intently thinking to myself “wow I definitely will go to France one day”. And funny thing is, I ended up making an A- (the scoring guidelines were kind of ridiculous, honestly). The point is, I took a step outside of my comfort zone. It wasn’t necessary that I take French. I could’ve taken two blowoff culture classes, or I could’ve just barely passed and never paid attention.

I didn’t expect to fall in love with French. It was so amazing, and at the same time, enlightening. I met new people outside of my CS classes, and also grew comfortable (well, not anymore…) speaking a foreign language out publicly.

If I ever had to give any advice to a cs freshman – take something new. You have four years and there will be plenty of cs classes for you to take. Leap outside of your comfort zone and learn something interesting! College is an opportunity for you to learn so many things, and if you bound yourself to something that will eventually be your career, you’ll have missed out on so many opportunities.