Cook-A-Cookie, 2 Years Later
Today, Facebook reminded me of a post I made 2 years ago:
For our EXP 0024 class, Melissa, Alex and I coded an AWESOME WEBSITE WEHRE[sic] YOU TAKE A SURVEY ABOUT WHAT KIND OF COOKIE YOU LIKE AND THEN GET A CUSTOM RECIPE TO BAKE!
CHECK IT OUT!!!
Disclaimer: it looks like a 4th grader made it… #aesthetic
I was flooded with emotion. I thought it was perfect that Facebook was reminding me of the project that made me realized I wanted to pursue (or at least, take a class in…) Computer Science, the day before WiT (Women in Tech) 2017, a conference I have been helping to plan for the past 5 months.
When I entered college I didn’t know or care what computer science was. I thought it was robots and building computers (and none of that sounded appealing to me at the time… oh how the turntables…) I thought it was very serious, and very boring. And honestly, it kind of pains me to admit that I thought this, but I thought it was the kind of stuff guys might enjoy doing, but a girl like me probably wouldn’t enjoy.
The most ~computer science~ I had ever done was editing my theme on Tumblr, or my Neopets splash page. But to me, that wasn’t computer science, because it was frivolous and fun, and computer science was very serious and ergo something I didn’t want to do.
I took EXP 0024 my first semester of college, and I probably would’ve never tried COMP 0011, Tufts’ introductory CS course, if not for the enjoyment I felt making this cookie website. I wouldn’t have stayed in COMP 0011 if we didn’t get to make fun games like Pacman and Snake.
Computer Science should be fun. It isn’t always fun, that is for sure. But I try to make it as fun as possible for myself, and for others. I love making silly projects that make me laugh and that I enjoy making. In my coursework, I try to bring levity to every assignment. If I’m going to be spending 8 hours a day staring at a screen, I better get a few laughs in.
That’s why I cheer for errors. When I hold office hours, students often come up to me with an terrified look on their face and a plea to help them find out why they’re getting a segmentation fault. I always let out a whoop or a “YAY! A segfault!” It seems ridiculous to cheer for a segfault, so the student usually laughs. Bug-hunting doesn’t need to be a chore– I try to frame it as a puzzle, or a scavenger hunt. Bug-hunting can be fun!
A segmentation fault in an assignment for an introductory Data Structures course isn’t the end of the world. Finding the source of the segmentation fault doesn’t have to be an agonizing n minutes. CS doesn’t have to be über-serious :)