Sunday, October 21, 2012

What's the Freshman 15?

When I got to Tech I was highly confused on what people were talking about with this whole "freshman 15" thing. Once I realized it was an extra 15 pounds of body weight gained through junk food and stress, my worry over it decreased significantly. I grew up with pretty healthy habits. Of course there are exceptions to that (like my adoration of sugary things) but I'm fairly reasonable when it comes to food and decently active. While Tech is pretty tough, I think I’ve been doing pretty well as far as staying healthy. I know I don’t drink quite enough water, and there are those nights where I put homework before sleep, but I'm not dehydrated, I haven’t fallen asleep in class, and the alarm-failure scare has forced me to make it impossible for me to not get to class in the morning. I’ve been eating regularly, and most meals I strive (though with slight difficulty due to the dining options) to eat a balanced meal. Every once in a while we must eat "an aesthetically pleasing amount of pizza rolls" -Hannah Ackermann. I have found people to climb with and that helps me exercise everything but my cardio. However, I have quite a few friends who jog regularly and do other exercise, so that’s an incentive for me to start...eventually. 

My super amazing roommate, Hannah, studying by osmosis.
(Yes, we know it's not really osmosis, but it sounds cooler.)
I’ve found a church I like and I go with my PL on most Sundays, so it’s both convenient and helpful to have those supports. I have been trying to balance fun and studies, and if I took an average it would probably come out about right, but I know there are weekends where I spent more time with friends and less time studying than would be optimal, so I’m working on that. Sometimes studying can actually be kind of fun (the slightly less productive version of studying). My goal is to not have to stay up super late cramming on Sunday nights. My fun things can actually lead to useful connections though because I spend a decent amount of time with upperclassman that can give good advice. I’d like to have more open Saturdays next semester for climbing, relaxing, and seeing things in Atlanta. Overall, though, life is pretty good, a little stressful, but that’s just Tech right?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Definition of Dilemma

Initially it is a fantastic thing to have multiple talents and interests, but when deciding a major, it creates a dilemma. 
Dilemma: A decision between two or more things all equally awesome and attractive to one’s brain (source: Alana’s cranial dictionary).
I chose Georgia Tech partly because it had every major I had ever seriously considered pursuing, so if I really wanted to I could try out every single one. Ideally, I would have a major in chemical engineering with a minor in material science and engineering, a major in architecture with a minor in industrial design, and a major in computational media (CM) with a minor in something useful and interesting. All of these with some business classes, internships, co-ops or other productive things. Now, that’s not a very practical path and I would undoubtedly raise the average graduation time at Georgia Tech.

Kyle (closest) at T Night.
So, I talked to a lot of people; mainly my section leader in marching band, Kyle. Kyle is a 5th year CS major here, but has more psychology credits than a psych minor and is therefore pretty beneficial to talk to (and also a cool guy). I told him I liked design and math. I told him I wanted my major to get me a job that would get me a stable income, so I could live a comfortable, stable life and pay off all the college loans that I, like him, will be burdened with in exchange for my invaluable Georgia Tech education. I, at this point, hadn’t been thinking about CM or CS because I had written those fields off as ones that videogame-obsessed boys went into (a mistake). Kyle, however, thought CM would be just perfect for me, and told me to look into it.

When the time rolled around for my career research project I decided to choose computational media. Why not? I might as well get graded for researching it instead of finding free time. I asked Kyle if he knew any CM majors, and of course he did, so he set me up with Evelyn. She just told me what CM was like, what she liked and didn’t like, and random things she knew about CM.
I fell in love. (With CM, not Evelyn, although she is pretty awesome.) The skills I will learn or learn more of are ones I would want to learn on the side of anything else I knew anyway. They’re all useful in and out of work and they all make money. It seems shallow to value money so much, but there are so many applications for money that it definitely holds importance. Computational Media Majors get jobs at all the companies I’ve always thought I’d love to work for (i.e. Google, Apple, Pixar), and are the source of many things that make me excited (i.e. games, graphic design, iPad apps). I’ve never really felt “passionate” about a major before, and I don’t know to what extent most people experience that, but I am definitely excited to learn about CM and all that comes with it.

Extras! (AKA not really part of the GT1000 blog post but relevant and exciting to me)
A Georgia Tech CM student (now working for apple) created a way to edit text more easily on and iPad and turned it into an app called SlideWriter (it doesn’t integrate into all applications, sadly, but it might be fun to try). Here’s an article/video:
He also created a free iPad/iPhone game called Percepto. It’s neat, simple, and free, so try it out!
Also, on the Georgia Tech CM website there’s a featured project that I fell in love with. It’s a one level game made as a project. Here’s the link:
Evelyn also told me about this cool research being done at Georgia Tech on creating artificial intelligence in games, so that you can replay a game in the same world and get more than just a repeated programmed response. (I just thought that was cool.)

Credit for Kyle's picture goes to Liz again.