A Finals Dilemma

Despite my careful efforts this semester to craft the perfect schedule, the roster of classes I ended up enrolling in this spring resulted in me being scheduled to take three finals on one day. I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal, as I heard that most professors are sympathetic to your plight and generally try to make arrangements for you if you notify them well in advance. With that in mind, I enrolled in my classes, making sure to email all my professors on the first day of class that I was in this conundrum.

The first email response arrived promptly. “Taking three finals in one day is actually quite common. Just be sure to prepare well and you’ll be fine.”

The second email response came in. “Since this is such a huge class, I can’t make alternate arrangements for students that don’t have absolutely unavoidable conflicts.”

By this time, I was feeling slightly panicked. Where was the sympathy? Were these people soulless drones that didn’t have hearts? At the rate that their replies came in, it seemed like this was pretty much an automatic rejection, with no consideration for my situation.

The third response, from one of my TAs, filed in a bit later. “I’ll see what I can do.”

I hardly allowed myself to hope for too much, seeing as how my other two professors were so reluctant to do anything. After a few rounds of email tag, I finally received a response this morning from the first professor. Apparently, my CS professor had contacted my Stats professor to suggest a solution of having me take another section’s final (in another time slot) instead so I wouldn’t have to take three finals in one day. The department head was also CC’ed on the email.

While I’m not sure if I’m going to accept the offer yet, I am honestly so touched by the sheer amount of effort that my professor and TA went to try and come up with a solution that would work for everybody. It probably would have been so easy for them to just outright reject my request like my other professors and simply tell me to just suck it up, but rather, they came up with a proposal and contacted the necessary people to make it happen. I’m not sure how much coordination really went on behind-the-scenes to get this organized, but I am so appreciative of the work that they did to just offer me this option. This experience has definitely restored my faith in the humanity of (certain) professors; this also is one of the reasons why I really like the CS department. In some ways, this department has most embodied the sense of community, more so than any other department I’ve ever encountered in my time here. I’m not sure if it’s just the sheer rigor of the curriculum, or the nature of the students that are drawn to this field of study that facilitates this particular setting, but whatever it is, CS has got it in spades.


Don’t Flinch

One piece of advice from my marketing workshop with Draftfcb and the Lagrant Foundation that’s stuck with me over the last couple of days is simply to take the plunge and go for it.

Although the majority of the information and wisdom imparted onto us that Friday afternoon had been advice I’d heard in one form or another before, the way Dominic and the rest of the Draftfcb crew phrased it in their oh-so-refreshing manner just really hit home for me. One nugget of wisdom that I found particularly relevant to my situation stemmed from a question regarding ideas. Dominic mentioned that when you’re in a situation where you have an idea that is slightly off the wall, you just have to dive right in and go for it, no matter how wrong you may potentially be about your idea, your insight, or your perspective on the problem. Yes, there is a potentiality of falling flat on your face and making a fool of yourself, but at the end of the day, you know that you went for it.

The problem only emerges when it comes time to make that critical decision, and you choose to back down and be conservative, deciding that the risk of being seen as an imbecile outweighs all potential benefit of being brilliant. If you flinched at that crucial moment, you ultimately lose, as you may have regrets and ponder over “what if” questions in the future. Don’t be the person wondering “what if” they had done something differently in the past. Don’t flinch.

Then again, advice is much easier to dispense than to actually execute. Words are cheap, while action takes a lot more to fulfill. This insight, while a tad trite, is quite on-point for me, as I chronically suffer from the problem of trying to act and seem smarter than I actually am. Although I’ve heard from so many sources that you shouldn’t let the opinions of others impact the way you live your life, it’s still hard for me to let that ego go. It’s difficult for me to admit that I don’t know something, and to ask for help when I’m confused. Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to try and make it more of a point to gradually work on breaking down this ego and become more fearless. I want to learn to take the riskier route and not flinch when it comes down to crunch-time.




This Veteran’s Day weekend arrived at the end of all my midterms this semester, and could not have come at a better time. After cooping myself up in the Berkeley bubble for the last few months with only a few days out of the 94720, I filled up my (practically) four-day weekend with activities not including homework, housework, or work of any kind.

I loved visiting San Francisco again after such a long absence. Just being in the city again amidst the towering skyscrapers and busy people made me feel so much alive. Being able to walk along the city streets and amble along at my own pace, without worrying about having to get somewhere by a certain time, and stare up at the buildings like a tourist was, to say the least, refreshing. I forget how much the atmosphere of a bustling metropolitan area invigorates and inspires me.

So excited for the upcoming holiday season (as evidenced by the holiday decor starting to pop up in Union Square)! November and December is, in my opinion, the best time of the year with Thanksgiving and Christmas festivities and general holiday cheer. Union Square already has their ice rink set up; I can’t wait to go skating on a twinkling December night with all the bright lights of the city around me.

Here’s to hoping that my next break from school and trip out of Berkeley comes sooner than two months!

Weekend summary as of Sunday morning
Trips on the F bus: 7
Dollars spent: $7
Food eaten: homemade hash browns, toast with blackberry jam, meatball sandwiches, lemon bars, Coke Zero and Diet Coke (in succession, really bad idea), olive oil and bread samples at the Ferry Building), bread pudding, donut holes, Fruit Gushers, really bad diet generic Sprite,  pad thai from Oriental Restaurant in Gourmet Ghetto (really weird pho noodles with carrots and a peanut sauce)
Activities accomplished: marketing workshop at Draftfcb, wandering around SF (piers, the absolutely wonderful Ferry Building, Union Square, Financial District), epic wishes at 11:11pm with K, J, and T, cuddling in bed, actually sleeping in for once, WebPy workshop with H@B, super ninja food-mooching at H@B’s HackJam, Bay Street/Emeryville Target/Oriental Restaurant with K and S, figuring out next musical obsession for holiday season (Taylor Swift, Michael Buble, Lady Antebellum, Justin Bieber Christmas albums) #productivityftw