Wow… Things have changed a bit…

So it’s been about eight months since my last post on here. The only reason I’m posting now is because it’s 3:06AM and I’m trying to make myself tired. I briefly reread some of my posts that were required for my senior year English class and it’s absolutely crazy how much has changed since then. 

First of all, I’m currently attending UMass Amherst (according to plan) and having an amazing time. I was swamped with music classes last semester that had me going, some days, from 8AM till 6:15PM (with some space in between for food/nap-time). I absolutely loved every minute of it. Sure, waking up at 7:30AM every morning sucked, and so did not being able to get to sleep till around 2AM every night due to homework and loud floor-mates (I forgive them. It was a fun kind of loud… If that makes sense..?). But despite the lack of sleep, I loved my music classes. I learned a TON about music theory and sight singing, and even more about improvisation on electric bass. I think I have improved a ton since my senior year in high school. Whenever I had free time, I was practicing bass in my dorm on my pocket amp (or my actual amp if it wasn’t too late). I even arranged some of my own versions of classic jazz standards. My first ever arrangement is a pretty cool reharm of “Autumn Leaves”. I use the original melody that I think is in G-Minor, but all I did was change the chord progression to follow C-Major (the F#-b5 chord became a Fmaj9). I did another loose arrangement of “Red Clay” with very odd modulations in tempo. The last arrangement I did for my jazz combo was “My Favorite Things” in seven. Naturally, I had to call it “My Seven Favorite Things”. It has a latin feel and uses a lot of syncopation. The A section was easy to come up with, but the B section was completely different. I had originally written for it to go into 4/4 swing, but my graduate TA had better ideas. He practically rewrote it with some nasty chords and it sounded SICK! It went into a very slow, rocky 12/8 and manipulated a 4:3 tuplet that just blew my and pianist’s mind. Well enough of all that. The point is, I had a lot of fun with music this semester. But now I’m a mathematics major.

Yes, a math major. “Who the hell wants to major in math?” Good question… Someone as stupid as me, I guess? I’ll try to explain how I came to this crazy decision. So I entered UMass Amherst declared as a Jazz Studies major on UPRIGHT bass. The problem was, I SUCK at upright bass. I rented one and it aggravated the living shit out of me–because of this, I decided to drop the major. There was no way I was going to subject myself to that torture. Trust me, I know that it takes serious talent to be good at upright, but I decided that it just wasn’t for me. I dropped the major and realized that maybe electric bass should always just be a hobby of mine. But while all this was happening, I obviously had to think up some kind of back up plan. Keep in mind, I was having serious anxiety at this point. This whole scrambling of changing majors and freaking out lasted like a week, and I think it was the first week of classes. I went to the Dean of the music college, and told her I had to drop the major. She was like, “Alright, sweet. You’re officially dropped.” That was a load off of my back. I started to feel good. But for the back up plan, all I kept asking myself was, “What the fuck am I good at other than music…?” (Not to sound conceded… I just never saw myself having to face this decision haha). I realized that I was pretty good at math and did very well in AP Calc during my senior year. So I decided to become a math major.

I went to my academic advisor and he was very, very chill. I was obviously very high strung from everything that had been going on, and he could tell. I sat down in his office and told him, “I’d like to join the math major,” to which he replied, “Okay, let me just fill this out for you to take to administration.”  … Seriously? Yes. It was that easy. I was not used to not having to audition for a major. It was so relieving! 

So, after declaring myself a math major, I added one more course to my schedule and that was Computer Science 121: Problem Solving (blah blah blah whatever it is). It was basically an in-depth introduction to the high-level programming language Java. It’s a departmental requirement for all mathematics majors. The class started out very simple, but then got extremely difficult. I had never thought like this, not algorithmically. Sure I thought in calculus and even physics, but not algorithms. Mad props to the compsci wizzes!!! I honestly don’t understand how it is so second nature to some of the kids in this class. It amazes me. Maybe some girls I tutored in music theory (that were really struggling) that about me with music? Anyway, CS-121 was awesome and I did way better on the final than I expected. I got an A in the class and that is really effecting how I feel about my current major in math. 

I think I want to double major in math and computer science. I’m really afraid this might be another one of my fads or obsessions that take hold of me for a month or two… Like my obsession with Rush (the totally futuristic rock-band) or cooking… But I think this really might work. My track in math is currently the teaching route. I know I’d love to teach, but after visiting my high school to talk with some of the math faculty, I feel like it’s less of what I’d desire… I don’t know. I mean, I’d love to teach, but I’d also like to make a lot more money when I’m younger. Teaching might be something I’d consider later on in life… (I NEVER thought I’d say that. A month ago, I was saying “I KNOW I want to teach”) If I switched my math track to “mathematical computing” and then double-majored in computer science with a track in either “software systems”, “networking”, or “theory of computation” I think I would make a lot more money while being very interested in the work I’d be doing. I’m still researching the possible job opportunities, but I think a starting salary for that type of major is around $75,000. Which would be awesome. And also about $40,000 more than if I became a teacher. 

This computer science shit is really interesting and I have been practicing algorithms on java and in another programming language I’m trying to learn called c++. Soon, I’m going to fill out an application form and email to the CS department for them to review. I think I’m making the right decision, but I really hope I don’t end up changing my mind again… 

Alright, I’m finally exhausted, so I’m going to sleep. 


About NateFuller

Amateur computer scientist, elite eater of foods.
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