Males Who Switched Out of Computer Science
Why did you decide to drop CS?
I can't really pinpoint the exact moment, but it was somewhere during this extended fourteen hour period of debugging sweethand - it was painful. I thought I had done everything right, and it turned out to just be something stupid. It was such a waste of my life.
How do you feel about it?
I couldn't see myself doing this for the rest of my life. Sure, everyone tells me that CS is the road to riches, but it was painful. I think I'm pretty convinced that Sym Sys is just as practical. Sure, some people think Sym Sys majors as people who couldn't cut it in CS, but I really do enjoy it a lot more. I wanted a broader education- and Sym Sys majors make more money anyway. Come on! Jerry Yang! Marissa Meyer! What's there to lose?
How did people react to it?
Well, my friends and I were all majoring in CS together, so I didn't want to admit it to them. I didn't even tell them until after 107 when they were all signing up for 108 and I didn't. At first they thought I was joking, and told me that I shouldn't give up. I mean, I didn't exactly blow away 107, but I survived. It wasn't really a matter of being good or not, but I hated debugging. And for me, most of CS was debugging. It's how I spent all my time, and it just wasn't rewarding to spend several hours trying to get one stupid thing to work. But now I think my friends give me a pretty hard time about it, but it's half-joking, like they'd call me a "Sym Sissy" or something. At least I didn't sleep on the floor of sweet hall this week. And believe me, sweet hall is one scary place.
Why were you interested in cs in the first place?
Theres this perception that Stanford is awesome in engineering, so I thought Id have to do engineering to get the best out of Stanford. Also its lucrative, theres a boom, theres prestige associated with it, its seen as a more rigorous academic track. People might dog anthropology, but never CS.
Also, its a very Indian thing to do. Its a very Indian man thing to do definitely, its an easy default.
Whyd you quit?
Most importantly it wasnt intellectually stimulating enough. I felt like.. I didnt feel like I was thinking the way I wanted to be thinking. I dont know how else to put it. It just wasnt intellectual. I like thinking about people and social issues, and this was just problem solving. Thats just it. The second thing was I didnt feel it capitalized on my strengths, theres a certain way of thinking, a problem solving mind you have to have for CS, and mine is more
its a logical argument kind of mind. Third, is my personality is,.. Im aggressive, I like winning, I like to see a lot of myself in my work and I thought I could do that better thinking about ideas and transmitting them to others, rather than writing code. And the CS industry didnt seem that glamorous, I felt like it would be easy to just become a cog in a wheel. I thought there were fewer opportunities in the fuzzy world, but in those you could shine and rise and encounter new and different challenges. I thought the CS world would get kind of old. Theres a limit to the coding I can do, but no limit to the issues that are around that I can think about.