How to Succeed in CSE at UCSD

The academics here at UCSD aren’t easy. With that in mind combined with the rigorous load that Computer Science has to offer, it might be hard to stay on top of your game here at UCSD. Here are a couple of things I do to stay on top of my game in my computer science classes.

1. Read the text when it is assigned!

Many people in CSE that I meet underestimate the importance of reading the assigned text! I don’t know why they don’t read. It’s easy and only requires a basic understanding of logic and mathematics. Reading the section before class allows me to understand what the professor is lecturing about, which in turn doubles my understanding of the topic. Also, quizzes are usually given on the reading, so that’s just free points right there. Read the text, people!

2. Practice programming after doing the reading.

Now I don’t necessarily program all the time, but once in a while I would practice writing code just to experiment. Sometimes, I might even discover new things or ways to make coding simpler. This is definitely a must because it builds on the understanding of the class and the language. Sometimes, I would alter a picture just for fun and show it to my friends, telling them I did it without Photoshop or anything else. Of course it’s just basic stuff and your friends most likely won’t be impressed, but they don’t know about the magic behind the code!

3. Make friends in CSE!

This aspect is probably the most important one out of all the other ones. Why? It’s because the friends here are the ones who support me in my most stressful times in CompSci! Not only that, but I can even talk about programming with them, which also enhances my understanding. This is actually not nerdy at all, it’s just like talking about chemistry or biology with your friends. Friends are definitely a must to succeed in computer science.

Each of these points are very important in having success in CSE here at UCSD. These points, however, are things that I have been trying to build on. There are plenty of other things that I do need to work on to fully succeed in CSE!

For one, better time management is definitely a must. Today, I had to work on a Problem Solving Assignment that was assigned last week with a partner just a few hours before it was due. What I didn’t know was that the project would most likely take me 5-6 hours. Knowing me, I panicked because of the major time crunch and desperately needed to finish the project. As of right now, I regret not managing my time better to work on the project in increments, so definitely plan ahead!

Just to build off the last point, have/do something to relieve stress! Computer Science can be a very demanding and stressful major, so knowing how to manage stress is also very important. What I usually do is take breaks, maybe go for walks or play sports/exercise. Maintain a balance with academics, social life, sleep and even yourself.

Well this is all I have to offer to succeed in Computer Science. What I can tell you is that I really do enjoy the major. It may not sound fun or easy at all for someone, but with the right amount of effort it could be. But what leads to my success and want to do more is that self-righteous and victorious feeling after successfully compiling and running a program that has been such a pain to edit, and celebrating that feeling with peers who have had to do the same thing. Whether it gets to late nights, or early mornings, it’s that periodic feeling of success that keeps me motivated to succeed.


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