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computer science

I got confused just writing the title for this blog post, but it’s true: this is the last post I’ll be making for the first (blogging) week of a semester at Fontbonne!

Which, frankly, is crazy.

Then again, this semester will also be crazy, and I suspect I’ll be ready for the end when it comes.

(…Who am I kidding. I love Fontbonne, and I expect to be bawling when things start to wind down in May. I’m currently accepting donations for my Kleenex stash.)

The gen-ed Biology class I’ve successfully avoided for the past 3 years has now caught up with me, and Life Science is coming at me with a vengeance. (I knew I couldn’t evade it forever, but I thought I could at least try…) I’m also taking my last undergraduate Computer Science class, Operating Systems.

Then I’ve got two senior projects, one for my Applied Math major and one for my Computer Science major, which amounts to two 15-page papers and two “deliverables” besides the papers.

-For C.S., I’m making a device with a microcontroller that sits on top of a washing machine and sends a text message when the load is done.

-For Applied Math, I’m going to construct a mathematical model based on statistical study of the population migration out of Saint Louis City and into the County between 1950 and the present.

I’ll also be working as a Programming Intern at an area brewery, helping the Fontbonne IT department for a few hours a week, and doing a bit of cryptography research with the Computer Science department.

The semester has lots of work in store for me, but I consider myself really lucky: I get to take on some very neat things and work with some very neat people.

So as the semester is off and rolling, my final words of my last first blog of the semester are:

Good luck, everyone! Here we go!


Good day, gentle reader! I’m afraid I’ve been away from my weekly blogs here for almost an entire semester. I’m sure I left you in a real state – I can just imagine you checking my page week after week, only to be disappointed month after month, wondering desperately about what kinds of adventures I’ve been having since last I wrote.

Unfortunately, if you ask me about my adventures, the stories I’ll tell won’t involve my coloring book hobby (which I’ve since given up), or my biking excursions, or any of the other adventurous things I enjoy (And maybe “adventure” is a strong term for coloring. I don’t know.). I was “off the grid” last semester because…(wait for it)…I was on a long climb to the top of a mountain. A mountain of homework, that is. (I’ll admit, that kind of mountain a little less exciting than Kilimanjaro.)

This semester, though, while not really being any lighter in courses and extracurriculars than last semester, I’m vowing to be more disciplined and keep on chronicling my week-to-week experiences at Fontbonne University. Hopefully, reading about the life of an average computer science/applied math major (the faithful reader will be interested to know I’ve decided to double-major) will help you prospective students out there to get a feel for college and the rigors of academia. (I’ll be honest: I really just threw in the latter because it sounds pretentious.) It’s good to be back. Have a good week, everyone!


This week has been an academic marathon for me – I’ve had a test, a quiz, or a monster homework assignment due every day so far, and…(wait for it)…I’ve been so sleepy in the mornings from staying up late studying that I’ve started drinking coffee. (*gasp!*)

I’m seriously considering disowning myself for that, seeing as I hate coffee and usually avoid it at all costs. Sometimes, though, you have to bite the bullet – or, sip the bitter brown stuff, if you will – and just get through it. I’d say the semester’s definitely in full swing!

Since it’s the beginning of the school year, I’ll introduce myself so you new readers have a little background on me. Firstly, I’m a junior this year, double-majoring in Computer Science and Applied Math with a Business concentration. This is my third school year blogging for the FBYou site, and fortunately, my life is exciting enough that even after two school years-worth of blogs, I can still come up with a new topic every week! I’m the co-editor-in-chief (because the job title didn’t already have enough hyphens, we had to throw in “co”) of the Fontbanner, the University newspaper, and I’m also the president of the Commuter Advisory Board. I do some other things around campus, but I’ll conceal my hand about those this round so I’ll have an aura of mystery as I reveal my other hobbies throughout the semester. (Don’t get excited – it’s not like I swallow swords or anything).

Hopefully, you’re having a good start to the school year, too, and I’ll talk to you next week!



Choosing a Major

by Elizabeth on February 21, 2012

in Academics,Career Paths

Howdy, readers!

I wanted to write a brief post about last week’s blog topic, choosing a major.

I had first approached this problem from the “Well, what subject do you like best in school?” angle, and that had initially led me to history.  I figured I could teach high school with it, and all would be well.  That was the plan – until I took “Intro to Classroom Teaching.”  I realized that as much as I like to think of myself as a patient person, I simply don’t have the attention span being a teacher requires.  That helped me realize I need a job that can keep me on my feet and moving around.

Up to this point, I had been working in the IT department at my high school (Rosati-Kain, if you’re curious).  When people asked where I worked, I would tell them and then bashfully add, “It doesn’t even feel like a job.” And I was serious. At first, I thought it didn’t feel like a job because I really liked my co-workers and former teachers, and I felt comfortable there, which certainly wouldn’t happen in my limited perception of a job. After failing at being a teacher, though, I rethought things. I realized that my part-time job doesn’t feel like a job because I genuinely enjoy what I do when I’m at work – fixing printers, crawling under desks to plug Ethernet cables back into their switches, rearranging wires in the server cabinet, installing wireless access points here and there, maintaining existing equipment, I could go on and on. The variety of tasks that I get presented with every day I go in keeps me interested and there’s a huge element of challenge that comes with the job.

So, to figure out what I need to major in in order to have get a job in an IT department, I looked at job-openings results on different Saint Louis companies’ websites to see what institutions look at when they’re hiring IT people. Generally, it’s some kind of computer-science or information-management degree, and I decided to go with computer science. I’m getting into some upper level classes now, and I really like what I’m learning.

My advice: Experiment to figure out what you like and what you don’t like. I was lucky enough to have taken that teacher course relatively early on in my time at Fontbonne, and it was a real wake-up call that I was headed in the wrong direction by pursuing teaching as a career. Experimenting as a worker in the IT department at my high school was a another message, one that helped me know I’m on the path to what I think will be an enjoyable career.

So, with that, I wish you good luck in picking a major!


What? You’re Telling Me I Have To Study?

by Elizabeth January 23, 2012

I’ve only had three days of classes so far (my schedule works out so that I don’t have any classes on Fridays!), but I’m exhausted by school already, and the (admittedly weak) enthusiasm with which I came into the new term is swiftly dimming. (Geek-out time:  if you graphed on a Cartesian plane the change [...]

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Hey, Hey, the School Year’s Back

by Elizabeth September 12, 2011

Welcome to another school year, everyone! I hope your summer went well, and that you’re making a smooth transition into the academical world. (Is that a phrase already, or did I just coin something here? Somehow, I don’t think it’ll catch on.) My summer was great, and I miss those days sorely.  I worked at a high school in [...]

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“OOP”s…I Did It Again

by Elizabeth April 13, 2011

Registered for a great semester again, that is!  And if you weren’t tipped off by the oddly-placed quotes in the title,  ”OOP”s is a pun:  I’ve signed up for a class on Object-Oriented Programming – OOP. I humbly admit that a joke’s not funny if it needs a detailed explanation to accompany it.  Maybe I [...]

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Students writing for Real Life at Fontbonne are paid a small fee for each post by the university.