Week Seven - Balance to an Extension

What did you do this past week?

After coming back from TAMUHack, I had two main tasks.

The first task was to study for Object Oriented Programming. Even though the class was straightforward in teaching C++ concepts, interfaces, and implementations, I knew that knowing and applying knowledge would be different. I ended up studying with Alfred Zhong, one of my TAMUHack group partners, and we were able to get a hefty amount of studying. We found by going over Downing’s lecture notes and practicing implementing C++ methods and classes while preparing a cheat sheet of all that we covered, when we took the test, we felt reasonably prepared.

The test was all coding based, and it was all on Canvas. Canvas is an online tool that is a platform students and teachers in order to interact with modules, announcements, and tests. Unfortunately, I don’t understand why the test was held solely on Canvas, since the platform for short answered responses is not formatted for code. Granted, there is a pre-formatted font which represents text in a much cleaner format, but it still did not take account for tabs (it would exit the text editor), and copying and pasting in the pre-formatted font would cause reformatting, which inevitably messed up the code. Fortunately, the code was not too difficult to implement, and I had worked in a text editor, nano, which is similar to working with the Canvas test platform, except it was even more restricted in that the mouse could not select and move the typing cursor to the mouse-clicked line. The test seemed to go by smoothly, though Downing seems to have a lot of students, so check-in and cheat sheet assertion caused the test to not start until 20-25mins in the scheduled starting time. I felt like the test went well, except for a few minor corner cases that I couldn’t take care, so we’ll see what Downing decides to do with our tests.

The second task was to work and finish the Stack check for Operating Systems. It was so confusing, because I thought I understood many aspects of coding in C (since I’m taking C++ with OOP), but it seems like I ignored very simple aspects, such as dereferencing char pointers (char *) and memcpy (copies a given number of bytes from one piece of memory to a target memory segment). We ended up solving it by implementing the memcpy function for every time we wanted to place memory into a given location rather than assigning it to the location (=).

What’s in your way?

Finding time to work on my own individual work (Accounting doesn’t make sense to me), and being able to prioritize my tasks well. Additionally, finding that balance between what is required and what is important to me is probably the most difficult thing I face every day. I don’t know if taking up every single role, task, or event that comes my way is a mistake, and sometimes I wonder whether I should be willing to take a step back and say no.

I understand that there is an importance in doing the things that are required in life. I need to maintain a good GPA, keep up my attendance in class, and be able to get decent grades in all exams/projects I have to accomplish. All these things (and many more) are definitely in my path to what I define to be a successful career.

Nonetheless, I feel like there are way more critical things to prioritize in life. The experiences shared with friends, the memories made in celebrating the significant moments, and just being able to be there for others knowing that they need this “moment”, has such a greater importance than the required tasks at hand

Furthermore, I enjoy being busy. Being able to teach a social dance class, hang out with high school friends for dinner, and celebrating friends’ birthdays feels way better than going to the GDC 3rd floor lab to aimlessly surf the web, watch Youtube videos, or work on programming projects.

Even so, that balance is always hard, and I hope that day by day, I can slowly realize the sacrifices needed to be made on either spectrum in order to not regret anything I do in my life.

OOP Class Impressions

After taking the exam, I realized that the way Downing teaches the class is exemplary. The examples he makes with elephants, paintball guns, and Winnie the Pooh seems silly initially, yet they really help in internalizing the information of many abstract and important aspects/concepts of C++. With the completion of the exam, I felt satisfied even though I knew I wouldn’t receive a perfect score because I felt that I had a deeper understanding of C++. Unlike other tests, where I crammed information and regurgitated it like a search results page from Google, I was more aware with how I structured my code, and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to take the class (though I am taking it with Operating Systems). Though I’m sad that we’re reaching the halfway point for the class, I’m looking forward to any other things we plan to learn in the class!

What will you do next week?

I plan to find a partner for OOP to work on Allocaters, and meet and finish up most of my Operating Systems project. Also, I plan to find time to finish coding challenges and interviews set up with companies (the recruiting season grind never ends…)

Tip of the Week

Here’s some Chrome web browser extensions that will help make life easier:

  • Adblock - Blocks ads

  • StayFocused - Sets given amount of time for certain websites (Youtube, Facebook, etc…) before blocking them.

  • Smart Tab Mute - Mutes all tabs so only one tab will play sound.

  • News Feed Eradicator for Facebook - Replaces Facebook news feed with inspirational quotes to help you be more productive.

  • One Tab - Helps save all tabs into one tab.

  • Rapportive - Extension for email that allows you to see a person’s Linkedin, Facebook, etc… based on their email address.

Written on October 9, 2016