I’m Claire Zheng, a senior in my final semester studying Computer Science at the University of Texas at Austin. Outside of academics, I was involved in Coders Across Disciplines (CAD), an organization dedicated to providing CS-related resources and education to non-computer-science majors; I worked as an instructor for their Introduction to Python/Programming classes for a couple of semesters. I also was enrolled in a course for piano lessons for non-music majors for a large majority of my time here.
Before coming to UT, I attended the Math and Science Academy at Dulles High School. I did a number of extracurriculars outside of school, my most enjoyable being piano. Oddly enough, I actually have regrets regarding my attitude towards piano during this time. I regret that I didn’t take advantage of the time I had back then, never practicing diligently or as much as I could have. I actually had no idea I liked the instrument as much as I did until I came to UT and was unable to get access to it for an entire semester. I realized I did really miss being able to work towards a difficult piece, expressing my emotions and interpretations, and even just enjoying myself by listening to the pieces I played. I took piano a lot more seriously at UT, making sure to make the most out of my limited practice time.
Books I’ve read (and recommend)
I had a lot more time than I was used to over quarantine and winter break, and spent a lot of it reading books. Here are two that I’ve chosen to write about this week:
- Pachinko — Min Jin Lee: A historical fiction that follows 4 generations of a Korean family that had to immigrate to Japan due to the world war. I really enjoyed reading about the author’s explorations of pride and shame surrounding nationalities, gender roles, and family. One of my favorite quotes from the book is: “A woman’s lot is to suffer.” While all characters (male or female) suffered in their own way, I was moved by their vulnerability, resilience, and love for each other in the face of hardship.
- 21 Years Young — Amy Dong: A series of essays that a friend of mine wrote after suffering from an eating disorder that hospitalized her. She scrutinizes moments in her past that have shaped her to the person she is today, from her eating disorder, to her father’s expectations of her, to the boys she’s liked, to her grandparents’ love for mahjong. It is incredibly raw, at times gut-wrenching, and at times full of love. As she says herself: “Two decades of living is not nothing. It is everything we know.”
CS371: Object-Oriented Programming
I joined this class in hopes of improving my C++ ability as well as my understanding of design, architecture, and standard of object-oriented programming. I have accepted a position where C++ is the primary language of choice due to its low-latency capabilities that allow for incredibly fast performance and the ability for fine-grained tuning of close-to-the-metal attributes. With a deeper understanding of the complexities and intricacies surrounding the language and paradigms of the style of programming that we’ll explore, I hope to be well-equipped by the time I graduate and begin working full time. That said, I’ve enjoyed the lectures I’ve already attended and hope that I’ll learn much more with the coming semester.