I got through my first week of school! Yusss. So far I definitely feel old above all else. On Friday I was flanked by two young men (and by men I mean ~19 year olds) in one of my lecture classes, both texting the whole class. shakes head Oh, youngn’s.

Maybe I’m being optimistic, but I think it’s going to be a fairly easy quarter. I’m enrolled in quite a few credits (18 to be precise) but a lot of what I’m taking is pretty much review, so mostly I think it’s going to be about time management for various assignments. And time management is something I have become a pro at in the last two years.

I’m taking Calc II, which will have some new content but so far has just been stuff I know. I’m taking Chem, which I already technically have credit for, but figured I might as well take since I haven’t taken it since high school. And now that we’re getting into the content I’m finding I actually remember quite a lot of it. So mostly review. And for Bio, that is really the only class that’s going to be primarily new stuff, but nothing in the syllabus looks too scary or completely unfamiliar.

I’m also taking one of the two computer science courses that will be necessary to open up all the other classes for my major. I heard from a friend that the course would be teaching Python, so I sneakily went and starting learning Python a few weeks ago. In fact, I’ve already started writing a program! I’m currently designing my next sweater pattern, and I thought that writing up a program to do all the math would be not only a perfect way to get some Python under my belt, but to save me the headache that is designing patterns in spreadsheets.

programming a pattern outputter thing

It has been going so great. Every time I learn a new thing that will be some kind of shortcut for what I’m doing it’s like I can actually feel the lightbulb in my head going off and the gears clicking into place. I also am really liking Python. I’ve been dabling in some other languages, and so far I can see why Python has a lot of appeal for many poeple.

It is a very exciting process. And honestly, I find writing patterns this way makes a ton of sense. It all follows the same logical structure of the final pattern, and when the math isn’t coming out right it’s way easier to track down why when using variables and written out calculations than it has ever been (for me at least) to track down which C8-C16 - H8-H15 * B2 spreadsheet row calculation is doing what wrong. I’ve always dreaded needing to go back to old pattern spreadsheets after any amount of time has passed (even though I heavily comment my spreadsheets) because it’s a nightmare trying to figure out what I was doing. I feel like going back to something like this program is not really much more work than just reading over the pattern.

In short, it’s awesome.

And even though my program is verrrry very basic and there are things that I know for a fact could be done better (it’s kind of hard to figure out the best way to do something when you don’t even have the vocabulary to articulate a search for what you want to accomplish) I’m very glad I decided to jump on in with it.

It has definitely also served to make me feel very prepared in my programming class. We haven’t had a lab yet, but in the lecture there hasn’t been anything covered this week that I’m not already very comfortable with, which is a nice feeling. My biggest fear going back to school is that I would end up bumbling along like a total n00b, especially in my programming class. I am feeling really good right now because though I’m amply prepared for the course, there’s still a ton I’m going to get out of it as I go along as I’ve really only scratched the surface in my own program. I also really like having this program to work on as I’m in the class too, because it gives me a great way to contextualize new things that I’m going to be learning. Just the other day I learned that the // operator exists, which when I saw it my face actually lit up and I was like wiggling in my chair because it’s the perfect operator for a knitting program. I actually couldn’t wait to get home and put it in place of all my int(a/b) scenarios haha… Neeeerd.

It has been a little overwhelming getting back into such a structured schedule after having so much freedom to make my own in the last few years (getting up at 6:30 am has only really been a possibility for me thanks to early sunrises, if I had started in Fall I’m pretty sure I just wouldn’t have managed to get out of bed the first day.) but I’m actually really glad to be so busy. I’ve been floundering about for the last year or so without any real sense of purpose or direction, and now I have both of those things in a really big way and it’s been noticeably affecting my mood, confidence, and overall attitude.

Yaay for making good decisions, Stephanie.