I thought I had made up my mind to take the cognitive science seminar instead of singing in U. Chorale. It was all settled. I had even told my choir director. Three courses make a full load, so all I had left to do was pick out two CS courses and I'd be set -- but I found I couldn't narrow it down to two. It was all I could do to narrow it down to three: P523, B502, B621. I hated the idea of not taking any one of them. Could I handle taking them all plus the cogsci course? It would make for a crazy semester, but I thought that if I worked hard, I might be able to pull it off. I signed up for everything and hoped for the best. And then the coin got flipped for me.
C311 is the undergraduate counterpart to the B521 course I'm in this semester. In C311, they cover more or less all the material we do -- and on top of that, they take exams we grad students don't have to take. That's a beast of an undergrad course, and I think it's one thing that really makes our department special and cool. Here's what just happened: Dan asked me to be his AI1 for it, starting in the spring alongside Will to get started, and then continuing on my own next fall and possibly beyond. I had been, you know, sort of thinking of asking if maybe he would let me do this, one day -- someday -- eventually -- you know, once I was "ready". I said yes.
There's no way I can AI 311 and take four courses, too. But when I think about why I want to take the cogsci seminar, if I'm completely honest with myself, my reasons for wanting to do it can be broken down as follows:
- 10%: interest in the material itself
- 10%: interest in the other people who would be in the class
- 20%: desire to impress Doug Hofstadter
- 60%: desire to impress Virgil, in case he ever deigns to speak to me again
Seeing as my reasons for wanting to take the class are only 20% worthwhile, I'm deciding not to do it. I expected to feel bad at this point, but all things considered, I feel...frickin' awesome. I didn't expect to get to teach C311 or sing the War Requiem this year, and now I find I get to do both. I'm so fired up.
- AI stands for Associate Instructor. It's the equivalent of what every other institution in the known universe calls "teaching assistant", and it's used in the same way, e.g., "I'm an AI for 311 this spring." If you were thinking of making some kind of artificial intelligence pun, let me assure you that no one's ever thought of that before, ever.