Monday, September 19, 2011

Science Orientation and a Change in Major

After three quarters in a row with some type of orientation course, Science Orientation would be my last one. It was held in the business building, for reasons unbeknownst to me. The College of Science is spread all across campus, so with no central science-specific meeting place, I guess a business auditorium is as good as any. They have since built a very nice science building, one in which I worked for 5 years, and it is one of the nicest buildings on campus.

While I can't tell you anything about the course besides where we met, I can tell you the reason I took it. It was becoming clear at this point of my college career that engineering was not going to work out well for me. At that time I still enjoyed programming somewhat and thought that was the direction I would be headed. Rather than change my major immediately, though, I thought I'd take the orientation course to see if it shed any light on whether I would like switching to computer science.

During this same quarter, I ended up dropping the next CS course in the series I had been taking, since I found myself understanding less and less what the CS professor was talking about and not caring that I didn't. You see, after my calculus experience, I had learned something, that it was better to get out of a class you're totally lost in than score a useless D. While the orientation course didn't answer the question about whether the new major was for me, the CS course I dropped kind of did.

When it would come time to register for classes again, my mom would somehow find a major requirements sheet for Business Information Systems, the major of my then-former roommate who liked computers but not programming. She wasn't really sure where she got it from or why, so call it divine intervention or what you will, but that is the major I would set and stick with for my undergraduate degree, making the Dean's List six straight semesters until graduation.

It turns out I could have completely skipped my freshman year and graduated in six semesters. With all the history, English, math, and science AP credit I came in with, that was the equivalent of a good, solid freshman year. I didn't need the credit hours, and other than the Spanish counting towards my minor (which was totally optional), nothing "counted" for anything. That said, I learned a lot and feel like I made it through that first year relatively unscathed.

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