Reflection on Project 1

I like to think that I don’t fall into a lot of computer science stereotypes. I agree with our group’s portrait of the Notre Dame engineer, that while our students can still be characterized by the image of the typical computer scientist, there is significant diversity, and a minority would I consider to be socially inept or concerned solely with technology. Students have myriad hobbies that do not involve a text editor, and I often run into classmates on the basketball court or at the bar.

I understand that many students are deeply passionate about computers and that they want to spend all of their time writing incredible programs (sometimes at the expense of hygiene or laundry, as the stereotype would state). I think it’s fantastic that some people can develop such a connection with something, regardless of what it is, so I earnestly say keep coding and have a blast with it. But that’s not me. If I look at where I spend my time, a significant amount of it goes into spending time with friends doing any number of things. My interests include cooking, eating, travel, graphic design and doodling, sports, music, reading and watching, exploring. I’m fascinated by the variety that life has to offer, and a principal interest of mine is to make the most of my surroundings, learning at each moment and creating memories.

I read an article written by an elderly man explaining why he traveled so much in his life: repetition can produce indistinguishable and blurred memories that paint an accurate picture of one’s life; however, he was more interested in a rich portfolio of memories to look back upon. By accumulating distinct memories manifested in adventures, it seemed to him that he lived a fuller, and longer life. I think that computer scientists often become myopic, and programming becomes their sole focus. This permeates many aspects of their lives, and eventually leads to jeans with running shoes. I would strongly regret a life lived behind a computer screen if I look back and do not have a relevant story for each situation. This could be a digression from the topic, but I believe that is has a direct correlation to the coder stereotype.

Because computer scientists are so invested in their programs, they may sacrifice social prowess which in my opinion, is the best summary of the hacker stereotype.

To be honest, the notion of a hacker manifesto almost makes me cringe. Reading the one that was assigned for homework, I could not relate at all. Even the one that we composed for this project made me uncomfortable. It just seems so cheesy and far too impassioned for me. This line is my favorite, and no offense to its author: “The $30 you spent on this month’s macchiatos went towards our hosting bill for our new website.” I’m sitting here drinking a venti iced latte with lite ice that I bought for $4.75. My AWS bill last month was under a dollar, and I host my website through Notre Dame…so there goes that. I wake up with nightmares of late nights in the engineering library in which I was frantically seeking help on a fundamentals of computing assignment. I hate that room. I much prefer to be in a coffee shop where I can sketch and chat while a program is running. I put thought into my apparel, and 9 times out of 10, if I’m given a shirt for free I don’t end up wearing it. All this adds up to the fact that I don’t fit most of the stereotypes, and if you can’t tell, I’m pretty happy about that. This post sounds really pretentious; sorry if I offended anyone!

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