Week 4: 2/11-2/17

What did you do this past week?

Oh man, this week was busy. Two tests on Wednesday, Collatz on Thursday, orchestrating a large-scale social event on Friday, being roped into acting as a tournament director for the Longhorn Wrestling tournament on Sunday, having to debug a last minute Python project, and figure out how to do W2s has had me pretty stressed out. It’s getting back to the point in the semester where I’m having to start making sacrifices between the whole school-social-extracurricular triangle to be able to manage to maintain the other two, and I’m definitely feeling it. I can physically feel my GPA dropping when I’m around my friends for over an hour or two, but I’m making do. I’m getting better at multitasking, at least, so that’s something. I dream in code now to save time on assignments. I use my iPhone notes app as a text editor to write python on the go.

What’s in your way?

I somehow got roped into being the chief tournament director of the NCWA for the national conference, so planning for that and explaining the software to people who still use flip phones is insanely difficult. And my little brother turns 7 pretty soon, so planning all of my classwork around going home for his birthday has had me really crunched for time. All of my problems inevitably break down to not having enough time to do everything that I want to do, and I definitely have a problem with biting off more than I can chew. I don’t see myself getting less busy any time soon, but I’d rather be overworked than bored.

What will you do next week?

Next week marks the end of rush, so I’m finishing up planning different things for that, booking different places around Austin. Next week also is the start of project 2, so I need to find a solid team, and more importantly, a solid team name. Whoever’s reading this, reply with a suggestion. We’re all at a loss at this point. This week is another two tests week, so I’m gonna be power studying, but I’m sure I’ll figure out how to manage everything. I don’t really worry about anything anymore, because it’s always felt like unnecessary energy devoted to not accomplishing the thing that I’m worried about. My doctors tell me that it’s “extremely concerning” that I don’t get worried and that “worrying is a natural survival sense in response to dangerous external stimuli and it’s extremely reckless to ignore that sense” but I mean, it’s worked out for me so far. I can only really go forward from here.

What was your experience of Project #1 (the problem, the overkill requirements of submission, etc.)?

Project 1 was really cool. The overkill requirements didn’t really feel like overkill, and I could see that it was just training for actual future work. The problem of Collatz itself took maybe an hour or two, but everything else that went into it made it easily 6 hours. What I’ve been told a lot about software engineering is that most problems are like 10% time devoted to coding, which is the easy part, and 90% of your time doing everything from designing, formatting, explaining what your code does, solving issues that others have stated to be issues, explaining to people that the bugs in your code are just features, formatting, googling, and praying to any god who will listen to fix all of those crippling, life-altering mistakes that you made in that one hour, and that’s what this assignment felt like. The “fluff” of the assignment didn’t feel like fluff, more like proper coding format for any kind of assignment. I have blisters from all the hoops that I had to jump through to finish the assignment, but I feel like a better programmer for it.

What’s your pick-of-the-week or tip-of-the-week?

My pick-of-the-week comes from this debugging article on code simplicity:


The premise of the article was honestly really relieving to hear, that when I start debugging, it’s okay to not know the answer to the problem that I’m running into. I’m actually not supposed to know the answer. Most of debugging is just gathering data until I understand what’s causing the problem. I’ve always thought about debugging problems like this, but always felt a sense of panic while debugging, like I’m not doing it properly, and that my problem solving methods are really just using print statements until I place enough duct tape and band aids on my code to make it work properly, but apparently this is a universal experience. Fix the cause, not the symptoms.chris_w_jonella

Hopefully you never see this photo with the caption “Have you seen this man?”

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