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11 September 2009 / April

Excuse me while I radiate joy in a vaguely obnoxious manner

Because after classes today (more on that in a moment), I walked all the way back to the 1914 Library, in the rain, to get the books I’d bought with the voucher.  And when I got there, not only was the line negligible, but on a whim with no expectation of satisfaction, I asked if there were any multivariable calc texts that just magically materialized during the past couple days.

And I GOT ONE.  It was a miracle of epic proportions.  I walked back to my dorm with a heavy, heavy bag.  A bag heavy with KNOWLEDGE.  Sweet, papery knowledge.  Which sounds like some kind of pastry.

Okay, time to talk about classes.

Intro to Logic and Semantics: My first college class (besides Linear Algebra at Cornell, which I’m going to discount because it kind of sucked) could not have been better.  It was like Steven Pinker in a class form.

I hope the full and incredible import of this fact does not escape you.  Formal logic and linguistics are things that I read about on my own for fun.  The notion of being able to take a class on these subjects and get tests and grades and credits for it is not something that our public school system prepared me for.  Of course in high school we could choose some classes, and of course I honestly loved many classes I took in high school.  But this is totally, completely, and wonderfully different.

I guess what I’m saying is, if you’re not yet in college, get there ASAP because it rocks.

It happens that I know tons of people in my class, where “tons” is equivalent to three (and counting).  Hey, that’s a lot if you’re a frosh.  Professor Sanders is also hilarious and amazing, but I knew that already because I sat in on one of his courses back in September ’08.  Which reminds me: I need to send a wedding gift for the chair and his intelligence, plus some dandelions for the unicorn in his garden.

Data Structures and Advanced Programming: I was actually fairly scared walking into this class because of my deep dark secret: I have done absolutely no programming since the topological hell of yesteryear.  I know, it’s shameful.  Fortunately we’re starting with some Java review, although what we really started with today was playing Boggle.  Fun times.

Jeannie is a very straight forward and cool professor, about whom I’ve heard only good things.  Which is pretty typical for Williams profs, as the same applies to Sanders and Adams (more about the latter anon).  When she was taking attendance and came to my name, she asked if I was “Antal’s buddy,” which I found highly amusing.  Antal is ubiquitously known in the CS department here, and I’m not surprised.

Multivariable Calculus: Ultimately, I’m really glad I got kicked out of Cornell’s multivariable class, even though it sucked at the time.  Because my professor here is Colin Adams.  And multivariable is, according to him, the funnest class offered at Williams.

I’m going to try really, really, really hard to not be a giddy fangirl, because dude, Adams wrote The Knot Book!  Plus other books!  He spent our first class talking about mathematical beauty and then knots, which is basically what guys should talk about if they want me to fall in love with them.  (Bonus points if they mention Gödel.)  (Or muffins.)

The class is huge (liberal arts college-huge, that is, so like 40-50 people), but I have a couple friends there, and I don’t think I’ll get lost in the crowd too much.  And if I feel at risk of doing so, I’ll just go to all of my professor’s office hours and talk to him about knots, and maybe calculus too because that’s also fun.

Quite frankly, the math department is probably the number one biggest reason I chose Williams.  Needless to say, I am excited about multivariable.

Poetry and the City: I actually could still get kicked out of this class, because it’s a 200-level gateway English class and I’m a first-year who’s probably not going to be an English major.

But my silly AP Lit exam score means I basically can’t take any 100-level English classes (they’re mostly full at this point anyway), and I do think it’s important for me to take a writing class my first semester here.  Who would’ve thought doing well on an AP would cause problems?

The professor here does not radiate enthusiasm and awesomeness like my others do, but I can tell she’s still really good, knows her stuff, and is impressively open to having students talk to her outside of class.  Her office hours actually take place in Paresky snack bar.

One slight downside to this class is that I know absolutely no one in it, but it’s very discussion-based so I’m sure I’ll get to know people.  And even though I’m not a very English-y person, I actually really enjoy talking about poetry, so I think I’m going to like this class.  In addition to all my other ones.

In other news, this is the first time it’s rained since I got to Williams.



Leave a Comment
  1. Rafael Lizarralde / Sep 12 2009 1:26 am

    I’m taking 7 classes. o_O
    …but one of them is only one credit.
    1) Applied Linear Algebra (easy now, but it gets hard later, no?)
    2) Cellular and Molecular Biology (it is painfully easy)
    3) Intro to Biomedical Engineering (we just had another professor in the department come give a lecture and he RAN up and down the stairs on the sides. It was an exercise in pure awesomeness)
    4) Computer Science III (I feel like maybe I should have placed out of this, too, but because it’s programming, it’s fun. We’re programming the Scotland Yard board game)
    5) Pity the Poor Reader (apparently not just blogging, but writing in general. It’s kind of strange)
    6) Arts and Society (it’s a required Honors College course. I feel a bit weird being there)
    7) Intermediate Writing Workshop A (despite AP and SAT scores, I only place out of 101, and this is 102. That just seems wrong, especially considering that we’re going to write a total of 15 pages, for which the professor advocated the keyhole essay format. *sobs in a corner*)

    I also went to a programming competition that was four hours long. There were 5 really hard problems, and the top ranking people were:
    1) 3 solved, grad student
    2) 2 solved, grad student
    3) 2 solved, senior
    4) 2 solved, junior
    5) 2 solved, freshman
    6) 2 solved, me
    they had grad, junior/senior, and freshman/sophomore as categories, and recognized the top two in each… but it was kind of frustrating because I was very close to getting a third (then again, they probably all were), but failed to anticipate this one case… a case that would have been fairly easy to account for if I had thought of it. I was also only two minutes behind #5, and my time would’ve been cut down by 40 minutes if I hadn’t misread the question (xD… they penalized 20 minutes per incorrect submission).
    I was also disappointed because the two grad students were Indian, and the rest of the winners were East Asian, and I wasn’t awarded a 4th degree of honorary Asianness to rectify my outlandish origin. Oh, well. I guess 3 is enough.

    • April / Sep 12 2009 8:46 am

      Wow, you need your own blog or something, stat. And congrats on the competition, despite your various disappointments…

  2. kati / Sep 15 2009 8:26 pm

    April, if you’re not a very English-y person, then over 75% of humanity needs to get up, walk outside and go die in a hole.

    Myself very much included.


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