Computer science is known to be a rigorous area of study, and students need to put forth countless hours of work to succeed. This time devoted to CS can mean less time on extracurricular activities, spending time with family and friends, or just relaxing, but the long-term benefits of CS are immeasurable.
Undergraduate student Arthur Shi has opined on the highs and lows of CS via the blogging platform Medium. His blog, wittily called “Arthur’s Blog,” has garnered over a thousand views, and it is clear from the views and comments that it resonates with CS students at U-M and beyond.
In his most recent post, “A Valentine’s Letter From a Single CS Student,” he expresses his love for CS on a day that is usually focused on love between two people. He states, “Sometimes my friends make fun of me, saying, ‘how come you never have a human date on Valentine’s Day?’ But they just don’t understand what we’ve been through together.” This lighthearted post draws on the many aspects of CS that makes students fall in love with the major.
Shi became interested in computer science during his freshman year after taking EECS 183. Shi says, “At that time, I knew computer science had a lot of opportunities, so I just made the jump.”
In another post entitled “My Love-Hate Relationship with University Computer Science”, he talks about how fitness and his other hobbies started to take a back burner in his life as he tried to compete amongst his peers.
He states, “We live in a culture that largely values brand name companies and big paychecks over making an impact and leading a balanced lifestyle. We obsess over courting companies that have market dominance and/or a freshly raised round of capital. We obsess over the growth of our technical skills and will rarely put down a project until the autograder spits out at least a 90%. We obsess, racing toward the top of an endless mountain, rarely ever taking the time to relax and enjoy the scenery along the way.”
He goes on to say that there is more to life than trying to be the best in class like “developing strong and genuine social and professional networks, broadening my lens through new hobbies and new people, and learning to relax.”
Shi started writing in the summer of 2017 after writing a piece about a previous internship for the Center of Entrepreneurship, and after receiving positive feedback from readers, he decided to continue writing.
His blog posts on Medium have a mix of lighthearted content and more serious posts like “Dealing with Imposter Syndrome”, where he touches on the feeling of inadequacy and how he gets through those difficult times.
Shi says, “it’s nice sometimes when I share my thoughts and it resonates with people; some will give me feedback like, ‘this is exactly what I’ve been thinking’, and that is really rewarding for me.”
For students who are considering majoring in CS and tackling the stress the comes with it, Shi believes students should push themselves, feel the stress, and push the boundaries, but also recognize when to take a break. After completing a few of the harder core classes, he suggests taking a step back and asking yourself, “What do you want to get out of the program?” and “What are other things that are important in your life?” and make decisions on how to balance it from there.
Even though it may be difficult to find time to do other activities, Shi is involved with the local entrepreneurship community, he is a member of Eta Kappa Nu, and he produces his own music.
After he graduates, he plans to go into software development for a company that focuses on education or music.