Author - Austin Sherron

Week 1: Back to School?

Hi everybody,

Since it’s week 1 (or it was three days ago), I figured I’d write a little bit about some back to school type stuff: time management and blowing off steam.

I started this quarter thinking that I’d have a fairly light load: 12 units, CS classes only (which means no writing, can I get a ‘hallelujah’).  No big deal, right?  Well, kind of.  For all you programmers out there, you’ll know what I mean when I say that I’m transitioning from the whimsical world of dynamically typed languages (think Python, JavaScript, Ruby) to the cold, harsh landscape of statically typing  (C/C++, Java).  Let’s just say I’m spending more of my time squinting angrily into my computer screen than I normally do.

Not only am being I faced with the horrors of static typing at school, but I’ve recently gotten a couple new jobs that are requiring me to test the boundaries of my Google and Stack Overflow searching abilities.  I have deadlines coming at me from every which way, and it’s starting to get overwhelming.

Or at least, it might have (gotten overwhelming, that is) a couple years ago, but at this point I’ve got my workflow pretty streamlined.  How, you might ask?  Well, I’m not a particularly organized individual.  Anyone who takes a spin in my humble automobile would be taken aback by the number of receipts, paper scraps, unpaid parking tickets, tupperware, and even the occasional article of clothing floating in there.  Discipline?  Nah…  I think I have a harder time than most pulling myself away from Netflix on any given afternoon.  Well what then?

Google.

And that’s pretty much it.  Somebody told me a few years back to start religiously using Google Calendar, and, although it took a while to get into the swing of things, I eventually started mapping my life with it.  On top of the calendar, I’ve recently discovered that Google Keep is a pretty kick-@$$ organizer.  I feel like I’ve been on a life long quest to find the perfect task list app, and, even after writing my own, I can’t justify using it over Google Keep.  Make a new note for each category of things you have to do; change the note to a checklist; fill it with all the mind numbing tasks that you find yourself obligated to complete over the week.  Done.

And the coup-de-gras?  Google Apps Script.  Automate any and all spreadsheet, form, and document tasks.  Learn a little JavaScript, and you’ve saved yourself a lifetime of copying and pasting, form creation, and data analysis.

I didn’t mean for this to sound like an ad for Google, but I mean, *!!!*, so much time saved.

Anyway, even with all the handy technology that surrounds us these days, I know it’s easy to get bogged down by our responsibilities.  That’s why I think that, even as important as it is to be on top of one’s workload, it’s just as important to unwind regularly.  Take an hour long nap, play some couch co-op with your buddies, grab a beer with an old friend, or just sit and stare at a wall for a while.  Whatever it is that helps you relax, make sure you make some time for it.  Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t finish everything, just try your best to see that you do.  I mean, I get that the point of all this work is so that we can enjoy ourselves later in life, but that doesn’t mean we should sacrifice our sanity now.

Thanks for reading my ramblings.  Have a great week UCI.

 

Academic and Administrative Affairs (AAA) Chair

 

Hi everybody!  I’m Austin Sherron, and I’m the AAA chair in ICSSC this year.  I’ll be a third year CS major this year, and I’m planning to revitalize the AAA committee this school year.

So what is AAA?  AAA is the committee charged with bridging the divide between the ICS student body, ICS faculty (professors, lecturers, administrators, etc.), and ICS alumni.  It’s up to the members of the AAA committee—with the assistance of committees within ICSSC and groups external to ICSSC—to connect students and faculty socially, academically, and professionally.

The opportunities that AAA strives to provide students aren’t, however, arbitrary: one of the most important responsibilities of AAA revolves around student interaction.  AAA is not only responsible for ensuring mutually beneficial relations between students and faculty, but it is responsible for building the sort of relationships that students acknowledge as beneficial.  It is for this reason that AAA’s primary duty is to gauge the wants and needs of the student body, use this data to form action plans, and execute these plans with the primary intention encouraging cohesion between the ICS student body and faculty.

But enough with the boring stuff.  This year, my primary goal for me and my committee is to meet as many interesting people as possible–be they faculty, students, alumni, or Peter Anteater himself–and to end this year with lots of interesting stories and a sense that we accomplished something great.