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Classes I Took In My Freshman Year of College


(Updated: )

Note: This blog was migrated from a previous blog.

My days as a sophomore are coming to an end. With that, I thought that this would be a good time to go over what I learned in my freshman year. It’s a bit late but ¯\(ツ)/¯.

Fall 2014

CS 120: Introduction to Computer Programming

This class was my very first experience with programming1 and safe to say, I really enjoyed it! I enjoyed it so much, I decided to stick with it and declare it as my major.

In CS120, I learned about computer programming using the Python programming language. We started from the basics, such as variables and arithmetic working through string manipulation, loops, functions and graphics and ending off with classes and object-oriented programming. The final project was a game which I was barely able to finish. At least it worked…ish.

After taking this class, I regret not picking up programming much earlier. It would have kept me up with all those whiz kids who programmed since 12. Then again, I’m on my own journey so ¯\(ツ)/¯.

IS 101: Inquiry Studies: Literature Around The World

At my college, all the students are required to take two Inquiry Studies classes to “broaden their minds”2. In this class, I read a lot of books3 centered around oppression and revolution around the world. The class was fun although the teacher could be a bit overzealous at times4.

EC 117: Introduction to Macroeconomics.

In class, we looked at macroeconomic theory which is concerned with topics such as GDP, unemployment, trade, savings etc. It was interesting to see how an economy is quantified and the professor had very helpful study guides, which I didn’t take advantage of.

EN 112: Intermediate Composition

In this class, I learned how to write better~~ as if it helped~~. I learned about grammar rules which seemed more formal than the ones I grew up within a Zimbabwean schooling system. I also learned about persuasive writing, and proofreading which I needed since my otherwise great paper was ruined by terrible grammar.

For the final paper, I wrote about the importance of net neutrality (which even the Christian Coalition support) that scored highly. I even got to present on it although at the time I did want to present on it, the problem was solved5.

Winter 2015

CS 220: Object Oriented Programming

This picks up where CS 120 left off as it went further into object-oriented principles like encapsulation, inheritance, and polymorphism. I also learned more about data structures such as arrays/lists, stacks, queues, and trees. We also covered unit testing6.

It was an intensive class but it gave me an idea of how to make larger programs as well as more insight into Python. I also got to make a game, one which never really worked and another which is really basic.

MA 250: Applied Calculus

Nothing interesting here although we made a lot of models using Vensim. We could make models that interact with the help of a linear formula and some methods which improve the approximation of the calculi.

PE 101: Physical Education

If you look at me now, you’ll see I didn’t learn anything from this class. Well, I did but I got lazy…again7!

CA 112: Communications Arts

Similar to EN 112, but with speaking. CA 112 covered everything involved in public speaking- research, preparation, clothing, illustrations- the whole lot. In the class, we had to give a debate and a speech. I did a speech on patent trolls (which nobody cared about) and the debate was centered around the legalization of marijuana, which was fun. I could present fine although my presentations could do with some more polish and I could have picked something more fun than learning about a bunch of opportunistic assholes who are somehow allowed to make weak patents that they know are unenforceable but still give them enough leverage to fuck over innocent business owners who can’t afford to fight against infringing on a patent on downloading apps on a phone 🙄.

EC 118: Introduction to Microeconomics

I took this class thinking I might pursue a double major in Economics or Business Administration. Turns out I didn’t. While I learned more about the way economic principles drive a company’s decision making, I found it rather boring. I should have done another class, like video production, or underwater basket weaving. Then again, the purpose of higher education is to not only discover my interests but things I’m not interested in.

May Term 2015

CS 280 Internet Programming

May Term is a month-long semester where students take one class three hours each day unless they’re studying abroad. In CS 280, we covered HTML, CSS, JavaScript/jQuery, AJAX, XML with DTD, Ruby on Rails, ASP.NET, PHP, SQLite, MySQL and making a server in Python using CGI8. I struggled to keep up, but I’m learning it again all on my own so ¯\(ツ)/¯.

Conclusion

So there you have it! The classes I took in my first year at Wartburg College, my first second third fourth choice for college. It isn’t the best place ever, but they’re paying for 95%+ of it so that makes up for it.

In my first year, I learned a lot about how college works, my passion for tech, things I liked disliked as well as what to improve. Most importantly, I saw how my classes play a very small part in terms of being employable and conveying marketable skills9.

In a couple of months, I’ll look over what I learned in my second year of college forming part two of this quadology10 of my college career.

Footnotes

*[JFGI]: Just Fucking Google It *[BA]: Bachelor’s of Arts *[BS]: Bachelor’s of Science *[IMHO]: In my honest opinion


  1. Well kinda, I tried many times before but I failed because I was incredibly lazy. I also remember trying in high school and asking this one tech kid for help only to be met with a JFGI. He helped the idea guy though 🙄.
  2. I honestly didn’t want to go to a liberal arts college. I wanted a pure BS in Computer Science degree which needed as little artsy shit as possible. Being the lazy guy I am, I ended up pursuing a BA degree. Thinking about it now, I think it’s more valuable to get a BA IMHO. After all, while the tech is rather deterministic (which I like), it’s being made for people and being able to understand how things work out of tech will allow for better products. That’s why I always enjoy hearing stories of people who initially pursued nontechnical fields like philosophy and English before pivoting into tech. Given how many thoughts I have on this topic, I should dedicate an entire post to this idea.
  3. I’ve always hated English Literature. I had been forced to take it since Form 3 (15 years old) even though I failed the literature portion of the exam in Form 2. I had the chance to leave and do PE (which I now need) but my mom refused outsight saying it would be good for me. After BSing a lot of papers (which I would usually get called out for), I was able to get a decent grade. Looking back at it now, it turns out that the problem wasn’t that I sucked at analysis, it was that I didn’t give a damn about any of the books I read. King Lear, 1984, Much Ado About Nothing, Disgrace- I.Hated.Them.All. If it was a cool biography or a funny book, I would love to read it but I couldn’t care less about a dead guys writing. Besides, the dead guy wrote a play which is supposed to be read, not seen! 😡.
  4. They were probably the only teacher I would qualify as being one of those responsible for propagating the liberal colleges. I mean, she gave us an article talking about how it’s a myth. She liked The Gray Lady (New York Times) a lot.
  5. Reading this now… Oh, my. Things have really changed. But seriously, I never anticipated that the Obama Administration’s net neutrality provisions, much like its other endeavors, would be struck down within two years. Please support the effort to ensure net neutrality. It will ensure that all traffic gets treated equally giving the little guys(like me) a chance to be heard without being cut off because we couldn’t pay.
  6. To this day, I still refer to the unit test example I did in that class for pointers on how to set things up. Then again, I just discovered pytest which has much less boilerplate and it looks more powerful.
  7. Things are improving. For one, I’ve lost 10 pounds since my most recent weight loss effort and it keeps going down…
  8. That’s a lot of stuff to learn in 4 weeks. Then again, the point of the class is to get an overview of how the internet is programmed rather than being invested in the technologies themselves, hence the diversity in topics taught.
  9. What would I know? I’ve never had an internship…
  10. Well actually it’s a tetralogy.