Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Can't you feel it in the wonder of a bird's first flight?

I heard a very cool song today and Google revealed it's the Hothouse Flowers. I love Google.

This week my CSE 143 class started at UW. I have class from 12-1 Mon, Wed, and Fri, and then from 9:40-10:40am on Tuesday and Thursday. Yup! Every day I have to go to UW waaay over in Seattle and then come back to Redmond. Which is new for me - I could go for a couple of weeks without crossing the bridge sometimes.

Being a good citizen and also dreading the awful parking situation at the U (what the cool Seattle kids call it - remember in Singles when the Kyra Sedgwick character explained that?), I took the bus on Monday. 10 minutes to walk to the bus stop, another 10 minutes to wait for the bus, 15 minutes on the bus, 15 minutes to walk to class from the bus stop, 1 hour class, 15 minutes back to the bus stop, about a 20 minute wait for the next bus, 15 minutes on the bus, 10 minutes to walk back to work. I left around 11:05 am and returned to my desk after 2pm, just for a 1 hour class. Bleh.

So I tried an experiment yesterday - I drove. I decided I might be able to park in Jaz & Chris's alley, but as it turned out, there were plenty of street parking spots in the neighborhood near the side of the U I needed to be on. And at 9am, the commute is easy - no more than 17 minutes. Woo hoo. Left at 9am, back at work by 11:15. (and that's because I left for class too early.)

So I've decided to drop the bus thing and just take my chances with street parking. I just can't afford to waste that much time getting to and from a 1 hour class.

About the class. Our instructor is a grad student. Me personally, if I was an undergrad and paying for my education, I'd feel gypped that my class is being taught by a grad student. What - they couldn't find a professor to teach?? By no means is our instructor bad, but at a highly ranked CS program like UW, I'd expect an actual real professor. On the other hand, our instructor seems like he really likes teaching which is probably more than you'd get with some of the CS research faculty... So far we've spent the first 3 days reviewing what we should have learned in the previous quarter, and will spend the rest of the week doing the same. I'm being snobby here, but there's no way that would happen at Caltech. It's sink or swim there, and if you can't catch up, then you drop the class. Which makes me wonder whether I should have gone to college somewhere else and gotten better grades. Hmmm.

On the bright side, I'm really digging the material in the class, and programming (even in Java) is FUN. I love being in school again, even if it's just 1 hour a day. I like taking notes. I like that no one talks about "action items". I like that I understand the lecture and the practice problems. Now that my application for the UW Bothell CSS program is in, all I can do is wait and see if they accept me. If they do, woo hoo! More school for me! More taking notes on green geek paper with multiple pens. And less time in the car, with more conveniently scheduled classes. Wish me luck!


  1. It sounds like you'll kick ass in this class! A little review isn't bad. I agree, it wouldn't happen at Caltech, but it's good for people who haven't been taking the same sequence of classes so they get a chance to know where the class is at before they're expected to learn something new.

  2. Suz -

    Yeah, I guess I just adapted to the bad teaching at Caltech like it's some kind of badge of honor. But for an 8 week class, I'm disappointed that the whole first week is spent on review. It seems like we're wasting time when time is so short already in Summer Quarter.

  3. Welcome to life at a public university, Anandi! Although the CS program is highly ranked, UW simply doesn't have the $ to pay for sufficient faculty members. Too bad Paul Allen couldn't fork over a few more million. It will be interesting to see if the proposal for a tuition hike goes through.

  4. If you're admitted to UWB, stop by my office to say hello. I'll be back from sabbatical in the fall, and will probably be around most days in September.

    Well, of course, stop by to say hello to all the faculty, but at least with me you have the excuse that we've already "met".


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