Why I fear Computer Science courses

Just because you can’t read it, doesn’t mean it won’t kill you.

This fall, I am doing something f***ing crazy. It’s on my senior bucket list, but it’s not the Naked Donut Run (been there, done that), and no, it’s not the SciLi challenge. What I am doing is way more hard-core than that.

I am enrolled in CSCI0150: Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming, otherwise known as CS15.

While not everyone will be doing coordinated stretch breaks with Andy van Dam this semester, a lot of you have probably toyed around with the idea of taking a computer science course before. Banner stats currently put the registration numbers for CS15 and CS17 (another introductory course) at 394 and 214, respectively.

That being said, a lot of you have also wimped out. No shame, we totally get it–computer science is scary! The cold, gripping fear of sitting down in the Sun Lab (or more recently, your own computer), and having no clue how to go about your assignment–it’s enough for anyone to drop.

All of the concentrators will tell you that’s silly talk. Sure, it will be a lot of work, but you’ll be capable of it! Essentially, the fear of CS is irrational. I am here to tell you about my own fear of computer science, which is irrational, but for very different reasons. These are all the things I’m afraid will happen if I take CS:

  • I will undoubtedly awaken an internet demon that will manipulate me into freeing it from its digital prison, and wreak havoc on campus a la Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It will name me as its co-conspirator on Reddit, and everyone will hate me.
  • The complete lack of sunlight will cause my appearance to shift into something like this:

    Deep sea Angler fish

    Smile for your graduation picture!

  • The tech bubble will burst upon my graduation, and I will still end up jobless and alone.

  • I will code myself into one of the video games I compose. I suck at video games, so I will inevitably become like Robin Williams’ character in Jumanji, and have to wait half a century for some future brats to bust me out of the virtual hell-scape. I do not look cute in an unkempt beard.
  • The only explanation for Andy van Dam aging so well is that he is a 1,000-year-old vampire. THOSE CALVES!


  • Full immersion in coding will cause me to forget what little English I have mastered, and henceforth I will only speak in Java, ex: me.getOutOfHere(“help”);
  • My performance on projects will be so horrible, the Head TAs will decide to nominate me as a human sacrifice in the basement of the CIT. (Blood rituals are obviously the main source of energy for the CIT and its habitants.)
  • I will become so enamored with the new YURT virtual reality system that I will become unable to distinguish reality from high-tech retina display. Fifty years later, I emerge from 180 George to find that there has been a nuclear apocalypse, and the only people who survived are myself and the guy who owns Plouf Plouf. He refuses to lower the price of the $60 burger. Damn you, damn you all to hell!!!
  • On the contrary, I discover that I have been within the matrix all along. I emerge into my bleak, new reality covered in slime, with a bunch of those weird holes on my body, and I am bald. I spend the rest of my life listening to Keanu Reeves try to assert that he is a talented actor.
  • I develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Spoooooky.
  • I will fall deeply in love with the voice of my computer, and both of us experience a level of passion hitherto unknown. We’ll go through our ups and downs, but in the end, she’ll leave me to be with a higher life form.CaitlinJonze
  • I become a coding prodigy, and then subsequently sell my soul to Google/Microsoft/Apple/next ominous mega-corporation. I wear non-prescription hipster glasses, drink exclusively craft beer, and live off of bitcoins in Silicon Valley until the end of days.
  • After successfully navigating an instance of AndyBot through a maze, I will think I am a coding prodigy, and drop out of college to launch my own start-up. Eventually, I will remember that I hardly knew what I was doing when my TAs gave me 90% of the code. Brown refuses to let me re-enroll, and my mother thinks I’m a failure.
  • Voldemort returns. For the “nth” time.
  • I will realize that I actually enjoy coding, and become doomed to spend the next ten years at this university, doing posthumous requirements.

If I don’t make it out of this semester, at least the readers know what happened. If I survive, I finally have a retort to the question: “do you even code, bro?” Yes, I do have a limited understanding of Java, so suck on that!


Images via, via Taylor DeRosa ’16, via, and via Jokichi Matsubara ’18.

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