From upperclassmen, because we’ve all been there ❤
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Here is what I would say is the best way to succeed in 151:
How to Succeed in 15-151 aka “Concepts”
from the perspective of someone who cried when they got their first Concepts exam back and immediately called their parents because “CMU is too hard for me and I need to transfer to an easier program.”
Also from the perspective of someone who was TA and then Head TA for this class.
(yes, they are the same person)
I’m writing this as advice I wish I had as a freshman, and my experiences are by no means universal, but I feel they will still be useful nevertheless.
A rant sprinked with advice from an anonymous CS major
One thing I really appreciate about CMU is the fact that we talk about Imposter Syndrome pretty openly, especially with freshmen who tend to experience it more once they exit the bubble of high school.
Having watched enough college vlogs, the topic isn’t often discussed at other universities and so it’s pretty great that SCS takes time in O-week to talk about it. I would, however, critique a couple of the points made in those early conversations because I felt they detracted from the main idea, specifically the GPA demo where we were polled about what percent of the class we thought we’d end up in. I have also heard 3 different professors mention how they only got one B in their entire undergrad education and how that eliminated the pressure of having to earn a perfect 4.0, but as someone who has received multiple Bs after having a strong record in HS, I couldn’t relate at all and it honestly made me feel more incompetent. Nevertheless, I believe it was valuable to hear stories from upperclassmen and Googlers who debunked the made up myth in my head that “the perfect 4.0 …
A short conspiracy story introduction to the home of SCS, the Gates Hillman Center by Vaidehi Srinivas (SCS ‘19)
You know, one thing I’ve noticed here is a distinct lack of conspiracy theories among the student body. And that’s pretty disappointing, because there is an awful lot of stuff that goes unexplained around here, and I need some answers.
And it’s not like there’s a lack of opportunity in this area. Like here’s one that I’ve been working on for a couple of years: it’s a widely accepted fact that Gates is a particularly maze-like building. Some would even go so far as to call it amazing. As one of the many residents of the Gates-Hillman complex, I sometimes prowl around, using my innate hunter-gatherer instinct to look for free food. The clear place to start is at the sixth floor free food table, but from there, free food could be anywhere, anytime. You’ve got to be vigilant. Once, it was around 8:30pm on a Wednesday. We hadn’t eaten dinner yet, and we were beginning to feel it. We were on the sixth floor, on the Hillman side, right by the conference room that was a donated by the Hillman foundation and the Henry L. Hillman foundation. Then suddenly, with no warning, we met a girl who was babysitting a full tray of samosas. We stopped. What should we do? Is it rude to hover around her in a large group? We decided to send a single scout on a reconnaissance mission. When he asked her about it, she said that we could just eat them all. Best day ever. …
Women@SCS conducted an interview with Kelly Rivers, Assistant Teaching Professor at the School of Computer Science.
I guess starting from undergrad might be a good place. I’ve been at CMU as a bit of a lifer. I’ve been here as an undergrad, and a PhD student, and now as a faculty member, but I came to CMU originally as a math major, and I ended up taking an intro CS course my first semester, and just fell in love with it, and ended up TA-ing for that course for the rest of my time as an undergrad, and that was sort of my path into computer science, was teaching and being involved in it that way. …
Women@SCS conducted an interview with Dilsun Kaynar, Assistant Teaching Professor at the School of Computer Science.
Sure. I grew up in Turkey. I did a computer science degree in Turkey. At the beginning I wasn’t sure if I liked my discipline. I can’t say that I fell in love with it from the start, especially I think because it was a little bit intimidating to see some people who were already programmers and who knew how to hack the systems while I was a true blue blank slate. I had to learn everything from scratch. Maybe after my sophomore year or so I started seeing things that I really found interesting, like formal languages. It was a turning point for me. I really enjoyed the kinds of problems that actually fell under that umbrella of computer science. …