Let the Semester Begin!

Dear Reader,

I have completed my first assignment for my Software Engineering class and Spring semester is in full swing (incidentally, I used Swing for my assignment!). I am taking a wide variety of classes this semester, and I am excited to see what the future brings (I know, cliché). Actually, let me rephrase my sentence. I shouldn’t be waiting for good things to happen to me, and instead, I should make those things happen. And that’s exactly what I’m trying to do this semester.

Last semester was a bit rough—I took three CS courses (a lot of people responded with jaw drops and exclamations of “OMG” upon realizing this) and an Astronomy course. No offense to GRCC, but upon transferring to Brown, I quickly realized that my coding skills weren’t really up to par with other students who have completed their intro sequence. Sure, I learned basic C++ and Java, and I also learned basic data structures and whatnot, but the programming projects were never that hardcore. Imagine the surprise when I found out that freshmen taking Professor van Dam’s CS intro course programmed their own Tetris three months into the course! I thought that was just incredible. After that, I promised myself that I would spend more time learning how to code, and I did. Last semester wasn’t easy, but I got through it, and I learned a lot. My Computer Systems course last semester was done entirely in C, so I learned quite a lot on it. Over the winter break, I also learned HTML, CSS, Javascript and jQuery through Udemy and Codecademy. I’m planning to put the knowledge I have learnt into practice by redesigning my own website. The themes from WordPress are pretty, but I’d like to design it my own way and showcase my abilities too. Expect a totally new design by spring break!

But anyways, this semester, I am taking five courses. FIVE COURSES?! Yes, five. Hear me out.

CSCI 0320: Software Engineering

This class was sort of a no-brainer. I wanted to get more experience developing software, a lot of people have recommended me to take it, and it fulfills my graduation requirement. Three weeks into the class, and I’m not disappointed at all. John Jannotti (JJ) teaches the course, which is really cool, because he actually has experience working in the industry. He co-founded Foodler, a website where you can order food from restaurants near you, and have the food delivered. I tried it once before the semester started and I really liked it. Because he has experience under his belt, I feel like he really brings useful knowledge into the classroom.

CSCI 1410: Artificial Intelligence

During the winter break, I was still deliberating whether I should take AI or Computer Security, because both seemed like really interesting classes. After much deliberation, I chose to take AI instead as my cousin Kirana (who studied CS at the University of Indonesia) told me that while she was an undergrad, AI was a requirement while Security was not.

Professor Stefanie Tellex teaches this class, which is also amazing, because she was named one of ‘AI’s 10 to Watch’ list. I believe she joined the Brown faculty a couple years ago, but this is the first class she is teaching. I think so far she’s done really well!

CLPS 0700: Social Psychology

Social Psychology is just one of those classes that I’ve always wanted to take, but have never had the time to do so. This course is taught by Professor Fiery Cushman. And yes, his name really is “Fiery” just like the adjective, and it’s pronounced the same way. I’m not really sure why his parents decided to name him that. He is an amazing professor though, he’s really funny and teaches really well. He’s also unlike other professors who put a gazillion paragraphs on their power point slides. Instead, he has super funny photos with relatable examples. He’s a pretty legendary professor.

MUSC 0651: Javanese Gamelan

I feel like living abroad has in a way made me more patriotic. Wearing batik here in the US makes me feel so proud to be an Indonesian, while wearing a batik in Indonesia made me feel good, but that’s it. I guess it’s because I miss Indonesia a lot and doing Indonesian things made me feel at home. That’s how this class makes me feel. I’m from Indonesia, and I’ve seen people play the gamelan many times, but I’ve never had the opportunity to actually learn how to play one. I guess better late than never, right? This class is also super chill since it’s only one half course credits and it’s also mandatory S/NC.

This class is taught by Prof Marc Perlman, who lived in Indonesia for eight years, and Prof Harjito, who is Indonesian. They both speak Indonesian, so I’d talk to them in Indonesian sometimes. Mr Harjito is a well-known Javanese musician, and it’s a privilege to have him as my professor.

PHOTO 0940A: RISD Intro to Photography for Non-Majors

I can’t describe in words how excited I am for this class. RISD Spring session classes start on February 13th, and I just can’t wait! We’ll be learning about 35mm film cameras, and we’ll get to develop our own film. From the email sent by the Professor (Prof Jenny Edwards), it seems like we’ll be shooting two rolls of 36 exposure films each week. Basically: so stoked.

I really love all the classes I’m taking this semester, and am ready to put in a lot of effort. Outside of classes, I’m planning to intern as a software developer during the summer, so I’ve been looking and applying for internships. Hopefully, everything works out well. Whatever the outcome, I think I should just be grateful that I even have the opportunity to study at Brown. I will, however, work my ass off to get what I want. As Ahmad Fuadi says, “Man Jadda Wajadda.” He who gives his all will surely succeed.

Much love,

Indira

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