Senior Year Update
Almost a month into the start of my senior year at Texas A&M, and while things are relatively slow right now, the next few months will be particularly intense as my classes ramp up. Thus, I figured it would be a good time to blog real quick about what’s going on with me right now.
Although Honors students often use their experience in the Undergraduate Research Scholars program as a replacement for taking senior capstone, I decided to enroll in senior capstone (CSCE 482) in order to provide myself with additional experience programming in a team setting and better prepare myself for a career as a developer. For this class, my team will be working on developing a web application which uses games to assist in the process of learning to write Japanese characters (kanji in particular). I really like the fact that I get to work on a project that I’m truly interested in (and that I have teammates who are interested in this project), and I’m also lucky that my professor for capstone specializes in sketch recognition.
As part of the capstone course, I have a blog where I post project updates and other related things (such as paper reviews and reading summaries); the link can be found here.
In terms of computer science coursework, I’m also enrolled in Operating Systems (CSCE 410) and Compilers (CSCE 434) this semester. I’ve heard that the compilers course is one of the most difficult CS courses at A&M, and I’ve also heard that the combination of both of these courses will be very time-consuming and intensive. Fortunately, that’s exactly what I was aiming for when I signed up for both of those courses, and I’m looking forward to growing as a computer scientist and a student. At the same time, I will definitely need to improve my time management skills, as my typically poor sleep schedule will definitely cause a lot of suffering throughout the semester if I’m not careful. Because of my switch from computer engineering to computer science, I’m also taking Intro to Chem II to fulfill the last science requirement, though that class is more busywork than anything else (especially considering I’m already in the last year of a computer science major).
This past summer I had the opportunity to intern at Amazon; it was a very enlightening experience and I learned a lot about what it takes to be a successful developer, but unfortunately I was not able to translate that into getting a return offer. Thus, I’m currently on the hunt for a job. I’ve already interviewed with a few companies and am optimistic about my chances of getting a job secured before the end of the semester, but would also like to apply to more companies in order give myself as much flexibility as possible when it comes to choosing my first job. Graduate school is currently not in my plans (especially considering I have taken no steps towards any graduate applications), though I will consider reevaluating this stance after a few years in industry.
It’s been somewhat tough for me to stay fully focused on school as I worry about what’s going on back home in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. I had the chance to go home about 2 weeks back and see for myself what had happened; I still can’t believe that there was a point when the streets to my neighborhood were completely flooded out. While I knew that the books I had kept in my closet were completely ruined, I had completely forgotten about my viola in the days leading up to the hurricane. When I pulled it out of the closet and took it outside, I unfortunately found that water had gotten into the case and onto my viola. It didn’t really hit me when I first saw it, but as I look back on it now I realize that my viola is basically as good as gone. I still want to keep it out of a sense of sentimentality, though I doubt that I will ever be able to play it again.
On a more positive note, most of the books on my bookshelf survived the storm, which was a great relief for me. In particular, I was pretty worried about the Japanese books I had just bought this summer, so it was good to see them safe in the attic. Overall, there was a lot lost to the flood, though I mostly see it as a chance to clean up things that were just taking up space. That being said, it will definitely take some time for the house to be livable again, and even more time for it to truly feel like home again. My brother started a GoFundMe to help us offset the rebuilding costs; any help would be really appreciated.