“Major” Problems

2 minute read

Last week was one of those weeks... The midterm (the single lowest grade I have received... ever) and the scooter incident... and then on Friday, the sh*t hit the fan! I decided to pay a visit to my undergraduate advisor in the computer science department to see how I was progressing in my attemp to transfer into the computer science major. We talked for a bit about planned courses, GPA yada-yada-yada... she pulls up my transcript... looks amazed... then tells me "There is no way you can get into computer science".

While I was in Palm Springs, doin the rock-star thing, I took a few courses just for me such as Intro to Photoshop, Intro to Music, Unlocking Word and Excel... Courses that were not transferable to Berkeley. After coming back to Berkeley and submitting my COD transcript, I thought Berkeley would only add the courses that would count towards my major. Turns out I was wrong. Any courses taken between 2 Berkeley semesters count towards my total unit count, no matter whether they help my major or not. This puts my unit count well over the maximum allowed units that the computer science major allows people to transfer in with.

I spent all weekend researching ways to appeal or try to get around this, found a few promising methods but nothing. I find it hard to believe that a institution created for the sole purpose of educating would penalize an individual for acquiring additional education, especially when the education was received elsewhere. As much as the system is flawed, it is my fault. These rules have been in effect for a long time and I did not do my research thoroughly. I was on the phone and running around from building to building today following these leads but everyone is pretty strict on this... so...

I am excited about my new major: Cognitive Science. I am going to concentrate on Computational Modeling which is as close to Computer Science as I am going to get with a major at Berkeley. Because the majors are pretty similar, I can get a Computer Science minor with only 3 additional upper-division courses. How is this going to affect my future plans? I don't think it will change too much. I still want to work for Apple or Google, and this way, I might not be "just" a programmer. With more breadth, perhaps these companies will see me as more of an asset, and not as a grunt programmer. Cognitive Science is one of the newest, up-and-coming majors and I'm going to put my best foot forward... out of whatever feet I have left!

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