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I'm doing well in school. My performance hasn't been superb, but I'm… - Youlian's Random Ramblings [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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[Nov. 17th, 2009|10:43 pm]
I'm doing well in school. My performance hasn't been superb, but I'm doing well. As far as I can tell, I've never landed below the top half in any of my classes in either of my majors (though I came perilously close in Complex, but I think that my test scores pulled me up. If not, it wasn't much below the average), I've been in the top quarter for most of them, and unless I botch things pretty badly, it looks like I'll get honors in both Math and Computer Science from UofC. That means I'm doing well, right? Getting two honors degrees from one of the best undergraduate programs in the states means that the world thinks I'm doing well, right?

So why is it that the prospect of life after college is so damn terrifying? I look at everything, and think "well crap. I'm not qualified for that." I don't feel like I'm qualified for grad school in either of my disciplines, and all of the CS jobs are like "you need to know all of these tools and have such and such experience," and, well... I know C really really well, and I have... exactly 0 experience on serious CS projects.

I mean, I suppose I'll never starve, and I'm probably just not looking hard enough to find stuff that I can do, but... it still has me somewhat spooked.

*Shrug* I'll probably get over it in a couple of days, and go back to the good 'ol "Eh, I'll do something somewhere" Youlian. I'm looking forward to that.

From: fuurei
2009-11-18 04:36 pm (UTC)
I definitely know the feeling. I don't know if this is helpful at all but "you have to start somewhere"?. For serious CS projects, I suspect internships and the like are quite useful for that, and from having started talking to a few people, it seems that internships in the general sense understand that you have to start somewhere and that it is in fact possible and expected that interns learn a lot... I don't think there's any internship I've applied to where I could actually claim to know the list of tools they require, and a couple seem to still have been interested in interviewing me anyway. (No idea if anyone actually wants to hire me yet, but, well, we'll see.) Also, knowing C really really well is quite helpful, I think -- the number of times I've been asked "Do you know C?" and had to answer "um... no" is kind of large.

But yeah. Don't worry about it. You're sufficiently awesome that you really shouldn't have problems finding good stuff to do, particularly if you put a bit of effort into looking. Also, life after college isn't for a while yet (at least, uh, I don't really want to have to think about it anytime soon).
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[User Picture]From: secret_panda
2009-11-18 11:16 pm (UTC)
Right. You guys are juniors - WAY too young to be worrying about life after college.
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[User Picture]From: chessbot
2009-11-18 09:17 pm (UTC)
1. Internships or something over the summer to see what you'd actually be doing.
2. Everyone thinks they're not qualified for a real job after college; those who don't are wrong. You figure it out on the job and get better at it. College is only barely about the material; it's about learning the process of understanding a problem and solving it.
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From: sakecake
2009-11-19 03:00 am (UTC)
I threw myself into a grad school program in Algorithms, Combinatorics and Optimization having not taken an undergraduate algorithms class or any sort of optimization classes (the optimization that is done in calc doesn't really count). So far it seems to be working out just fine :-)

One of my friends from Mudd is in his first year at a statistics graduate program this year. When he went out to visit the university last spring he was told that the fact that he had not taken that many statistics classes (and just had a general math background) was actually a strength, because it meant they weren't going to have to get him to unlearn bad statistics habits that undergrads that focus on stats apparently get into.

"Qualified" is a very strange word in academia.
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