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Things My Computer Science Classmates Do and Don't Know

- Aside from the math prereqs, I didn't know anything about the material before starting the course. I spend a lot of time reading the textbook and looking over my notes.

- When working on Homework #3, I went through over 35 sheets of scrap paper before I had solutions worth typing up. (I know this because I xeroxed 35 copies of a quiz before recognizing a fatal typo; I used the backs of the entire stack -- and more -- when trying to figure out the problems.)

- It came up at one point that I started college as an English major. They asked me what made me switch to math, and I talked about the abstract algebra course that I took my sophomore year of college.

- What I didn't tell them: The abstract algebra course had 17 students in it. At least 11 of them outscored me on the first exam, including one who beat me by 48 points (his score was more than double mine). That's the course that led me to become an algebraist.

- If I wasn't taking this class for a grade, I wouldn't be nearly so motivated to do my best.

- They do know the amount by which I outscored them on the first exam. If this class were cribbage, I would have skunked most of the class.