My First Week

So here I am writing a blog post for a class. One of the four classes I’m taking this term. Enumerated, these are my capstone project course (why I’m writing this), Public Speaking, Intro to Usability Engineering, and Intro to Entrepreneurship. Naturally, each course has its own policies and rules; more importantly each has its own assignment rhythm.

It’s learning this rhythm that remains difficult for me. These are not traditional in-person classes, so all they require is a weekly milieu of little assignments, and one or two larger things to work towards during the mad rush. The larger goals make sense. These have multi-week deadlines that allow you to schedule with classmates, prepare yourself mentally, or complete a fair amount of research. On the other hand, the smaller assignments often have multiple due dates for different parts. This is especially true for discussions. Discussions tend to be easily completed (provided you have digested the week’s material), but not so easily that you needn’t block out significant time to research, proofread, and consider your postings and responses. These assignments have an initial date by which you must post, and a response date by which you must make further contributions in the form of—you guessed it—responses. This is fairly reasonable for a single course, but when all four of your courses have discussions, and all of them have various due dates for the initial and response postings, scheduling gets a bit hectic—at least at first.

I know that eventually the complexity will fade to a rhythm, each week I’ll get various readings and lectures done in the background so I can make meaningful contributions, but I don’t yet have that down.

To add to the hectic nature of my term’s initialization, many of my classes necessitate teamwork. Now, to be clear, I love working as part of a team. Having others with whom to bounce ideas, with whom to chat, and with whom to create something bigger, better, and faster than otherwise possible, is wonderful. Still there remains the looming storm cloud of teamwork, “communication overhead.” In the early weeks, this overhead is at a peak, eclipsing any other logistical overload in the term, even that of finals. You must find communication platforms that work for everyone, find meeting times that work for everyone, write more emails, learn more names. Then you must endeavor to seamlessly integrate your newfound team contexts with your own quirks, values, and perspective, to build good working relationships.

TLDR, the beginning of term is hectic, messy, and not altogether easy. Still, I know I’ll find the groove, the rhythm, the communication channels, and yet more skills to add to my rounding error of computer science knowledge.

Indeed, now that the first week is past, things are already falling into place. I’m thrilled to be part of my newly assigned senior capstone project. I get to help my team build a game-like vehicle simulation in Rust! How much cooler could an opportunity be? Check back for my progress in that endeavor. I will be updating my blog with my experiences along the way, thus the name “A Journey through Simulation.”

Thanks for reading, everyone!

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