The first quarter comes to a close at MIT. I am crocheting winter attire. My radiator churns and hisses through the night. Hundreds of students submit their final problem set. Held breaths are And then sharply inhaled once more because 6.0002 begins
The fall quarter The first half of MIT's Intro to Python class recently ended, and it’s time to unpack.
- 6.0001 is immensely satisfying. The sheer dopamine I get from seeing a 100% on a tricky part of a MicroQuiz is unparalleled. The late-night, giddy laughter over the solution that finally passed that test case makes me forget the hours it took in the first place. Instant gratification isn’t the single thing to strive for, but it sure is exciting.
- I feel like I grew a lot in a few weeks. I came into MIT with a basic understanding of code. This stationed me between two extremes — those who never coded before and those who are significantly better coders than me. I like existing in this spot. Sometimes, I got to help others. Sometimes, I got help. Both helped me grow. I also got to hone in on some stylistic choices that I never used extensively in high school such as:
- List Comprehension: I’m not sure why I was so apprehensive to use List Comprehension before. Once you learn how to read it, it is so much nicer to use and saves so many lines of code in the long run.
- Error Handling: Before 6.0001, there were few scenarios where handling errors and implementing exceptions were all that useful. Now, I love to find ways to use it. I think of it as an additional way to interact with those who use my programs.
- Enhanced Debugging: This is mostly due to working with upperclassmen in Office Hours. I learned a lot of new ways to see exactly where I went wrong. This also came in handy in An EECS Freshman Advising Seminar , where I have to debug every program and circuit I make for two hours.
- Data and Algorithm Efficiency: This didn’t come into play too much because the programs in 6.0001 are relatively small, but it was interesting to see how programs can be optimized to save time and memory.
- Program Security: There was some emphasis on how we can ensure data is protected, and how we can choose to safeguard variables and methods from outside users.
- The TAs and LAs are helpful. There were a few moments throughout the class where I forced myself up three flights of stairs to surrender my error-ridden code to Office Hours. I always left either fully debugged or with enough insight to toil more successfully.
- 6.0001 goes one of two ways. If you had a strong Python background, 6.0001 won’t be difficult. If you’ve never touched code, you’ll find 6.0001’s learning curve to be steep. This is true to most courses at MIT. That’s why MIT is now offering Although there are unfortunately a few barriers that keep some students from being able to take it , which is a full-semester version of 6.0001. However, I stayed in 6.0001. I found each problem set to be challenging in its own way, and they each took a substantial amount of diligence and problem-solving.
- 6.0001 has timed, in-class MicroQuizzes that test your competence in creating programs themed around the class content. These varied in difficulty. The test itself auto-grades as you submit code, so you can constantly monitor how you are doing. This is nice because you can keep trying until your code passes. This is scary because you automatically know when you’re screwed.
- 6.0001 has hundreds of students and few recitations. Recitations aren’t mandatory, but for a lot of struggling students, they were The instructors were aware of this and did attempt to mitigate crowdedness by adding another time slot
- Most Course 6 subjects run on a platform called Cat-Soop, which acts as a hub for course information, scores, feedback, and quizzes. I’m not a huge fan of it. I feel like it treats students like they are data-points. Thus, 6.0001 felt a little sterile at times.
- 6.0001 is in 26-100, which is across from a piano. If there was a MicroQuiz to be had, you best believe there was someone Side Note: If this was you, I just want to talk.
Ultimately, if you would like to pursue a major that involves Or many others , 6.0001 will be your foray to technical courses at MIT. I’m not posting this to say I fully understand the depth of If you're interested, head over to Meet the Bloggers and read from some Course 6 bloggers! I’m more so documenting my feelings surrounding Computer Science at MIT so far and sharing the 6.0001 experience!
That’s all for now, I have more code to write.
- And then sharply inhaled once more because 6.0002 begins back to text ↑
- The first half of MIT's Intro to Python back to text ↑
- An EECS Freshman Advising Seminar back to text ↑
- Although there are unfortunately a few barriers that keep some students from being able to take it back to text ↑
- The instructors were aware of this and did attempt to mitigate crowdedness by adding another time slot back to text ↑
- Side Note: If this was you, I just want to talk. back to text ↑
- Or many others back to text ↑
- If you're interested, head over to Meet the Bloggers and read from some Course 6 bloggers! back to text ↑