Luigi Battaglioli

Louie Goes to College

Written by Luigi Battaglioli · 09/29/2019

The week before I started college, I grabbed a coffee with a new friend of mine and we chatted it up for a couple hours. We explored many different tangents throughout our conversation. One of the first things that came up pretty quickly was college. My friend made his position on college and higher education pretty clear... that being he isn't a huge fan of it. After enduring my first couple weeks of classes, I myself have been struggling to justify why I'm even going in the first place. 

Let's talk about that.

I'll first give you the run down of my classes. My first class of the day was English. This is probably the only class I'm taking that I actually enjoy. I've always had a love for English classes, especially those focused around writing. My professor is funny, and actually has good input and suggestions on how to improve my writing. I love writing and want to become the best writer that I possibly can be, and I think that this class could actually help me get one step closer to that goal. So far, this is the only course that I can actually justify taking.

After English, my next class is college algebra and trigonometry. I have to take this solely because of the fact that I did real crappy in Geometry when I was in high school, and in order for me to transfer into the computer science track at my school, I need to pass this math class. So, here we are. My professor, Theresa, seems pretty nice and also seems to have a pretty good sense of humor too which kind of makes the class tolerable. That being said, hopefully the class won't be too bad! I had really bad math teachers throughout high school and for once in my life, the information is actually clicking with my brain which is good I suppose.

After my math class, I have Programming and Logic I. I think my professor is the type of professor who knows every little minute detail there is to know about Java, but has absolutely no idea how to convey his understanding of the subject to other people. Nobody in the class knows what's going on, and they're all struggling to understand the material. I think that this is exactly what's wrong with computer science education, and why there's a lack of people (especially women and minorities) pursuing this area. You tend to have crappy professors who just throw technical jargon like the "input memory buffer" at you on day one, and just expect you to know what the hell they're talking about. I think that the sophisticated and complex manor it's presented to you as a student discourages you from learning it, because it seems so complex and overwhelming. When people teach computer science courses like my professor, they actively instill a hatred for the subject among students, rather than a passion or curiosity for the subject. I myself have wanted to smash my head on my keyboard every day so far this semester because this course is so elementary for me. I've been writing Java for the past 3 years, and am well beyond the level of this course. The professor is so monotone too and it makes me dread the class even more. My biggest complaint about him however, is that whenever he grades our work, the feedback he leaves us incoherent nonsense. For one assignment he gave us, I had to write a program to calculate and print the ending balance of what they a user owed on their chargecard, as well as if they are at, over, or below their credit limit. After submitting it, this is what I got back, copied and pasted verbatim from Blackboard:

limit in over path only, under path compound for two statements,

— William Whollober, My Java Professor

Other people in the class get messages like this back on their work and have no idea how to improve their work because his feedback is meaningless. I love teaching and I've offered help to a handful of people in my class and it's a really gratifying feeling. I love when I can be the person who causes someone else to experience that "ahah!" moment, when they actually understand something. 

I think I've ranted enough about this class. Moving on...

My next class is CISS 100, an introductory course to explore computing and information science. It's hands down, the absolute worst class I've ever had to endure. Just to give you a glimpse into what I'm dealing with, here's a page from my textbook:

I feel as if I'm being formally taught everything that I teach my grandparents about technology.

I feel as if I'm being formally taught everything that I teach my grandparents about technology.

I kind of find it funny how the very subject I'm most passionate about, the one I want to get a degree in and spend the rest of my life doing, is boring me to death and I dread it every day. These classes are so mind numbingly boring, they actively drive me to dislike computer science and are doing nothing to help me express my creative ideas. Instead, these classes are all pushing me away from the very thing I love.

The last class is have is my college forum class. I think this is the weirdest class I'm taking. On the first day of class, when I walked in, there was a bunch of people already sitting and waiting for the professor to show up. Exactly at 2:00, this man stood up from the back of the room, went over to the door, slammed it shut, and shuffled through his papers in the front of the room for a bit before he said anything. He reminded me of a very hostile Robin Williams. His face was really red and he looked a little over heated. He tends to stand directly in front of the projector screen, and it always blinds him and he's constantly squinting to see us all. I don't actually know what the purpose of the class is, or why I'm taking it for that matter. I think it's just to introduce us all to college life, but we have no work to do other than show up for the class.

I've been in school for about 3-4 weeks already. I already had my first test in math (we'll find out how well we did soon 😬) and I've had many quizzes already as well. If I'm being honest with myself, I don't really want to keep going to school. I don't see any value in it anymore. Over the years, starting in 6th grade, I've studied hard by myself and learned a lot. I've built up a skill set of (what I think is) relevant skills and I think that I could find (or start) something that pays the bills. Why do I need to dig myself a deep financial hole, to get a formal college education, that doesn't even teach me relevant skills.

Oh what a pickle I am in.