Watching the Sunrise

With so many great opportunities on campus, it’s easy to think there are more than 24 hours in a day. For example, I’m going to eat sushi with my roommate and his girlfriend in the Square for lunch tomorrow. Yes, anytime I can eat sushi is a great opportunity. Perhaps a more Harvard-relevant (and actually great) opportunity is that I’ll be attending a Q&A Session with Mark Zuckerberg on Monday evening. I’ll be sure to post about it. But back to the point of me mentioning these things. I budgeted my time pretty poorly this week. It’s official–I pulled my very first all-nighter on Thursday, November 3, 2011.

I’m taking Computer Science 50, which, in my opinion, is one of the quintessential Harvard courses. It’s one of my favorite that I’m taking this semester. There’s a cult-like following on campus, and it’s designed for both concentrators (“concentration” is our word for “major”) and non-concentrators alike. The course is actually available online for free. If you’re even slightly interested, check out the first lecture. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

I’m usually on schedule (thanks, GCal!) but I think everyone’s allowed a freebie in having a lapse of judgment when it comes to managing time. Thursday just happened to be mine, but I was in great company and super productive. Now, don’t get me wrong, some hours were more difficult to get through than others, but time was flying by as I coded away. Aside from talking about things I’m really passionate about with friends (equal rights, inequities in healthcare, volleyball, X-Men, cheesecake…not necessarily in that order), programming is probably one of the most intellectually stimulating things I’ve taken up since being here. There’s a very methodical thought process behind it, and it requires you to think both logically and critically. I’ll admit that it’s wicked frustrating when you have an error that you can’t seem to spot, and if you look at your computer screen long enough, everything just ends up looking the same. It’s kind of like when you say a word over and over and it suddenly morphs into incoherent jibber-jabber. Luckily, I was surrounded by friends who were all working on the same problem set. We were all very determined and it was a great, collaborative atmosphere. If one person was having an error, someone else was able to help him or her through it.

My favorite part of the evening came towards the end of our marathon, around 6 AM, when we all decided to go to Weeks Bridge to watch the sunrise. Even with morning practices and lift when I was on the volleyball team, I had never been awake early enough to see the sun come up. We all agreed that it was beautiful, and I really regretted not having my camera on me (…then again, I didn’t plan on staying up all night…). Standing there overlooking the Charles River and watching the sky change colors made me realize that I should try to set my alarm to catch a sunrise every so often. Whether or not that will actually happen is another story–but it’s a nice thought.

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1 comment

  1. Jan A.’s avatar

    Scott, thanks for sharing the course link. I watched the courses by David Malan from fall 2009 a year ago, he does such a great job! I didn’t know about the CS50 Store though, pretty cool.
    I will get the chance to meet “Zuck” in a few months, so I’m looking forward to your post about the Q&A!

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