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COS 126 + my sketch writing class
05.17.15

The worst grade I got in college was in this class called "COS 126". It was the intro computer science class at Princeton. It is quite literally, the first computer science course you can take there. (Though there may have been some sort of computer appreciation course which I imagine fulfills no requirements unless you're an English major or something.) I should note that not only was it the worst grade I got, I also worked the hardest in that class of all my classes. I tallied up one week and was spending 20 hours PER WEEK on this insane class. For our assignment the last week of class (before finals) -- we not only got a new problem to program, we were told that even though we had been programming in C the entire semester, we'd program this new program in Java. So not only would we have a gigantic problem to program (painful as always), now we had to do it in a brand new language. 

I think I viscerally knew I was in trouble when in the first couple of lectures, the following things happened to me:

  • someone sitting next to me "augmented" the lecture. The kid literally said, "What Professor Sedgewick failed to mention is..." and then he started saying a bunch of stuff I didn't understand. Why he thought I would be interested or why he thought it was appropriate to start talking in the middle of class is beyond me.
  • I had heard that Professor Sedgewick's son (or sons?) were in the class. Never a good sign.
  • someone sitting next to me told me he had took the exact same course as a summer course at another university but Princeton wouldn't accept the credit -- so he was essentially taking the course again.
  • someone told me they were programming since they were 6? (I basically had never programmed before.)

(some of these people might be the same people -- I can't remember anymore.)

Please note that out of 100+ students in the class, these were from just the people who RANDOMLY sat down next to me and decided to start talking to me. Even now, I'm having mild anxiety just recalling these details.

I mention all this because I recently started taking a sketch writing class at UCB. It's their 101 class. So this is also, quite literally, the first sketch writing class you can take. After class one week, one of the students said something like, "I wrote a sketch show that we're putting up at iO on [so and so date] if anyone is interested." So someone in my 101 class is already at the stage where he can put up sketch shows at a well-respected comedy place. 

Of course, upon hearing this initially, my thought process went something like, "That doesn't make any sense... now where did I put that ticket for my car?"

Then another week, a woman in class mentioned that she's hosting some upcoming comedy show. Then I saw a show where another one of my classmates was hosting. Note: there's like, 10, maybe 12 people in my class. I mentally re-checked in my mind that I actually was in the 101 class.

I will say that I am enthused that such seasoned people are in my class and I get to work with them in our faux-writers room and hear their thoughts. I wish I could argue that this shows "growth" because at Princeton, I was just totally consumed by what grade I would get. Of course, our grades DID MATTER. Google asked for a transcript when I was about to be hired and there were instances where people got to the final stage and either were denied offers based on grades or were asked to explain A SINGLE BAD GRADE on their transcript. I am not kidding. 

I'll end by saying if you like to laugh and aren't already watching, make sure to check out "Inside Amy Schumer" -- it's hilarious. Also, in the "Amy Goes Deep" segment of Season 3, Episode 4 -- she interviews a male gigolo who got his start accidentally, outside a Container Store. Must listen.

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