What I Learned In My First Year of College

So, my days as a sophomore are coming to an end. With that, it would be a good time to summarize everything I’ve learned each up until I graduate. In this article, I will talk about the classes I’ve done in my Freshman year of college.

Fall 2014

CS 120: Introduction to Computer Programming

Until I took this class, I wasn’t really into programming. Well, I was interested in it, but I was too lazy to actually learn it because it looked so hard. When I took this class I saw that programming was fun and decided to stick with it.

In CS 120, I learned the basics of programs using the Python programming language. Starting from variables and number manipulation then working up to loops, functions, string manipulation, graphics and to finish off- classes and object oriented programming. The final project was a game which I was barley able to finish, but it worked…in a way :/.

While lots of people started programming when they were like 12, I’m happy that I started as soon as I started this class. I’m not programming at the pace I would like, but I have grown a lot from that point.

IS 101 Inquiry Studies: Literature Around The World

At my college, I have to take two Inquiry Studies classes to “broaden my mind”. In this class, I read a lot of books and texts centered around the theme of oppression and revolution around the world. The class was fun as was the teacher although it could get a bit too…zealous at times.

EC 117 Introduction to Macroeconomics

In this class, we looked at macroeconomic theory which is economics as seen on a national level. We discussed things such as GDP, unemployment, trade, savings an a whole bunch of other factors that influence national policy. It was an interesting look at how a country’s economy works and the professor was really helpful with the study guides and syllabus materials that was helpful when it came to studying.

EN 112 Intermediate Composition

In EN 112, I learned about how to write, although it’s not like I’m any better now. I learned about grammar in a more formal way than in my previous schooling ways. I also learned about various techniques that can be used to make a piece of writing more persuasive. In my final paper, I made a case for upholding net neutrality as a way of ensuring that everyone has a chance to show their work off on the internet. The issue of net neutrality is solved at this point in time, but I was able to present on this paper at a college showcase, which was nice!

From this class, I also learned the value of proofreading and planning since while my papers had good content, the grammar was abysmal since I started working on papers the night before. Then again, one time I proofread and noticed an entire sentence missing and at the time of marking the paper, I still hadn’t added it. How I wish to say I’ve learned from my former lack of preparation :(.

Winter 2015

CS 220: Object Oriented Programming

This class picked up where CS 12 left off. In CS 220, I learned more about object oriented programming with techniques such as encapsulation, inheritance and polymorphism. I also learned about data structures, like arrays, stacks, queues, trees etc, and we even made our own :P. In this class, I also learned about unit testing.

While this class was rather intensive, it gave me a further understanding of how to make larger programs as well as the Python programming language. IN this class, I also made a few games, one of which never really worked and another one which is rather…basic.

MA 250: Applied Calculus

Nothing incredibly interesting here but a whole load of model creation. Using Vensim, we were able to make models that interact though calculus just by specifying their linear formula. We also learned of the techniques that computer programs use in order to make accurate calculus calculations, such as RK4 and the like.

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.

PE 101: Physical Education

If you actually saw me, you would see that I didn’t learn anything from this class. Well, I did, but I got lazy. I learned about cardiovascular and strength training as well as being able to determine my fitness level using a scale, a heart rate monitor and a tape measure. I really wish I acted upon what I learned in this class, but I’m slowly getting to it…really, really slowly.

CA 112: Communications Arts

Like EN 112, except with speech. In CA 112, I learned about ways to improve a speech from all angles- research, preparation, clothing, presentation, illustrations- the lot. In this class, we all had to do a debate and a speech. For me, I did a speech on the need to protect intellectual property by defeating patent trolls. As for the debate, I was arguing for marijuana legalization, which was fun. While my speeches were well spoken and thoroughly researched, I wish I had prepared a bit better for them and picked more engaging topics.

May Term

CS 280: Internet Programming

May Term is basically a month long semester where students take one class for three hours a day. While there is lots of free time, it’s a very intensive class. In Internet Programming, we covered HTML, CSS, JavaScript/jQuery, AJAX, XML/Schema, DTD, Ruby/Rails, ASP.NET, PHP, SQLite, MySQL and making a server in Python. I struggled to keep up, so some concepts were lost on me as soon as finals were over, but I’m currently taking time to learn some of these things for myself.

So there it is! My first year at Wartburg, my first (actually fourth) choice for college. It isn’t the greatest of places, but they’re paying for 95% of it so I guess that makes up for it. In my first year, I learned a lot about how college works, my passion for computer science/programming, things I liked, things I didn’t like and things to improve upon. Most importantly, I saw how my classes play a very small part in terms of being employable and conveying marketable skills.

In a couple of months, I’ll go over what I learned in my second year of college in an epic sequel in this quadology (well, tetraology) that is college. l8r!

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