Daniel Mai

First Week of School

Here’s a rundown of my first week of school.

(You can probably tell which parts I got really lazy to write about)

Daniel Mai’s schedule for the fall semester

Wednesday, August 21st

My alarm went off at 6 AM. I left the window open, and I wasn’t under a blanket, so it was pretty easy to get out of bed because I wasn’t tempted to snuggle back to warmth. I had already packed my backpack and prepared my clothes to wear, so my morning was relaxing.

I left the house at 7:30 AM and drove to Diana’s house. Diana came out a few minutes past 7:30 AM, and then I drove to school. Traffic was pretty bad. The traffic lights near school broke down, so police officers were guiding cars around the intersections. Diana was playing her StreetPass games on her 3DS the whole drive to school, so she wasn’t really playing attention to the traffic around us.

The West Garage was so “crowded” that I had to park on the third floor. I usually park on the first floor, if not the second.1 On the way towards the stairs, Thao spotted Diana. She complained that it was hard to park her car, and she asked us if the parking lot lines shrunk or were changed. Diana and I told her that nothing changed, but maybe her car got bigger over the summer (hah). Thao said that that is impossible, and then she told us that she couldn’t fit into her jeans either. Oh how sizes are a-changing.

Fourth floor of the library

We headed to the library, and when we entered Diana redirected us to the stairs (Yes!) instead of the escalator or elevator. Of course, I was happy about this, but Thao wasn’t.

The fourth floor has changed since the end of last semester. The bookshelves are gone and more tables were added in their place. So the whole floor is more of a social/study/computer area than a library. It’s been that way, but even more now.

Michael, Wilson, Jodie, and Jason were already sitting at the usual table. Not too long after, other people started to come too, like Karen, Tiffany, Wai, Raymond, and Justin.

From all the “how’ve you been?” and “I’ve missed you guys!”, this is what socializing at school is. Just people at a table hanging out, not really because we want to. But because we’re already at school and we “might as well.” Getting back into the zone, I suppose.

Most of us at the table had class at 10:30, so we still had a chunk of time to do whatever. Diana was playing Monster Hunter, on a quest to kill a Royal Ludroth. The rest of us… other stuff.

Anyhow, class was about to start so I went down the library with Diana and Karen. We split ways outside, since our classes aren’t in the same direction.

CS 146: Data Structures & Algorithms

I walked up the stairs to the second floor of MacQuarrie Hall and headed towards the crowd of people outside the classroom. I first recognized Alex, and talked and “caught up” with him for a few minutes. He was reading a book, just as he always is, on his Kindle.

The 9 o’clock section of CS 146 was packed full of people. So much that the door was open and people were spewing out into the hallway.

Screams and laughter were coming out of the classroom. (It’s a CS class. What’s there to be rowdy about?) A few minutes later, class was over and people started coming out. Lots of familiar faces: Calvin, Brandon, Tran, Bowen, Johnny, and Matthew, just to name a handful. I chit-chat with Calvin, Brandon, and Tran before going to class.

David Taylor, semester #2. “Normal” first-day stuff, I suppose. People adding the class. Professor talking about the class. Prerequisites. Textbook. Homework. Exams. Taylor tells us that when he took a Data Structures & Algorithms course in college, he got 50 points on his exam, which was out of 150 points. And it was at that moment that he knew this is what he wanted to do with his life.

At least he has a sense of humor.

Near the end of class we play The Game of Nim, tournament-style with one winner in the whole class. The winner played a game with Taylor, and of course the professor would win.

“This is why you learn algorithms. Knowing the secret is how you win.”

TA-10: Theatre Appreciation

I walked over to Hugh Gillis Hall and met up with Henry and Alex outside of the classroom. The door was already open, so we went inside.

The classroom is actually a theatre room. Pretty sweet. I spotted Johnny sitting on a seat on the far left side of the room (the seats are arranged so that the stage is in the middle, and the audience chairs are on three sides of the room). We wouldn’t make eye contact until near the end of class.

The professor came in. Dr. Kathie Kratochvil2. Standard green sheet stuff. As far as first impressions go, she seemed really nice. It’s going to be a good class, I hope.

Got out like fifteen minutes early. I got hungry, but I had to head to my next class. I didn’t bring any snacks.

AAS 33A: Asian Americans in the United States Historical and Political Process

Walked with Henry and Alex (T.) to the Engineering Building and met up with Alan and Alex (D.) in front of class.

There are two professors for this class. One’s loud and not-Asian, and the other one is more calm and is-Asian. I’m not entirely into history, government, and economics. Maybe they’ll sway me otherwise. Nonetheless, I hope

I ended up walking to the Student Union to head to the cafeteria area to buy a Veggie Burrito. Turned out that they don’t serve pinto beans anymore. So I can only get burritos with black or refried beans. Saaad. Pinto beans are tasty. I asked the girl preparing the burrito and she said that pinto beans are gone for the rest of the semester.

Diana texted me that her 3DS R Button isn’t working. Well then.

After I got my burrito, I headed to the fourth floor of the library, where Calvin was. He was reading the 146 book.

Cecilia, Jason, and Michael came by as well. Diana came later, and handed me her 3DS with the broken R button. I told her I thought that the spring inside broke. The button was stiff and had to be pressed down abnormally hard in order for it to register. Diana was sad the whole time, and she kept on searching for ways to fix the button, like the suggestion to take a clean, dry toothbrush and scrub around the button. Sigh.

On the drive home, Diana was still sad. I was able to make her laugh by telling her about the spider that’s living inside my left rearview mirror and making spider webs all of the time. No matter what I do, it’s still able to living there. She had a good laugh out of that, and she smiled and was happy—temporarily.

Thursday, August 22nd

I offered to drive Diana to school today as well, even though we agreed for me to give her rides on Mondays and Wednesdays only. I didn’t want her to miss the light rail, and I wanted to help her because she’s bummed about her 3DS breaking.

Diana had 7:30 AM class, so we got to school pretty early. She went to class and I sat on a bench outside the library (library opens at 8 AM) reading the Steve Wozniak interview in Founders at Work. Spencer got out of class early and sat down on the bench with me, which followed with “catch up” talk. Diana came out of class a little bit after, and then Michael, Wai, and Raymond came by as well. Diana took the bus home; she was only in class for half an hour and then she left.

I stayed in the library with Calvin until his CS 49C class started, which I planned to add. We were typing with a Dvorak training website most of the time.

CS 49C: Programming at C at 10:30 AM

Crooowded. We got there early enough that I was able to get a seat.

The professor checked roll and said that there’s no room to add, but there’ll be room if people who are enrolled don’t show up. At the beginning of the class there were two people missing, and seventeen or so people who wanted to add the class.

Two people came in late and it wasn’t until halfway through the class that the professor asked them who they were—the two missing enrolled students. So, no adding this class for me.

MATH 32: Calculus III

I sat in the back corner with Henry. The only person I recognize in this class besides Henry was Arjun.

Today’s lecture was about parametric equations. Oh man, I’m so “rusty” with calculus. I should review trigonometry and whatever.

Homework in this class is “optional”—meaning that its assigned but not graded—but I still want to do it because pop-quiz questions are pulled directly from the homework, or so I’ve heard.


After class ended I went up one flight of stairs to my next class.

CS 49C: Programming in C

Alex was on this floor, reading on his Kindle and waiting for his Calc class to start. I talked with him for a little bit, as well as with David when he came up. David tried to add the other CS 49C section at 10:30 to no avail.

The mystery professor that was labeled as “Staff” on MySJSU was finally revealed. A woman who seems really smart, although maybe a bit hard to understand sometimes.

I think I’m going to like this section more than the other one. The textbook is free off the Internet—The C Programming Language by Dennis Ritchie and Brian Kernighan, the authors of C. I have a academic reason to read this “classic” programming book, now. The other section requires an expensive, thick textbook. We’re going to use the command line more than the other section, which is using MS Visual Studio instead. Time will tell, though.

Once class ended, I talked with Johnny and Bowen outside of MacQuarrie Hall while waiting for Cecilia to get out of class.

Cecilia and I went to the bookstore to look for the AAS books, which were out of stock, and one of the workers said that it’s unlikely that there’ll be anymore of the AAS books. Blaaaah. I walked with Cecilia towards her the North Parking Garage, which is where her car was parked, and then I headed towards the other side of campus to my car to go home.

But on the way there, I ran into Meredith, who I haven’t seen in a long while. She was standing near the Cesar Chavez Monument in the shade.

“Hey Meredith!”
“Hi David!”

… Yeah. After correcting my name to her (hopefully she won’t forget again), I asked her what she was doing waiting around here. She was waiting for this extremely late guy to sell a textbook to her. We talked about our class schedules and CS classes. When she mentioned that she was waiting around to get a COMM 20 book, I offered her the one I had from last semester. So, free book and no waiting for some dude who made her wait because he was adding a class. Yay.

So instead of heading home, I hung around with Meredith, mainly in the Math Club room, where I haven’t been before. There, I also met Tony, Phi (?), and Belinda.

We talked about work, programming languages, text editors, version control and other nerdy computer stuff.

Friday, August 23rd

I woke up from my alarm at 6 AM and got ready to go to school to try and add yoga class.

Since I’m driving alone today, I didn’t take the freeway to get to school. Luckily, the construction zones on Mabury and Taylor weren’t there to bog down traffic.

The parking garage was essentially empty. Only on Fridays.

KIN 61A: Beginning Hatha Yoga

The instructor wasn’t going to add anyone except for graduating seniors on the first day of class. And there were a lot of people trying to add, so I essentially have little chance of getting into the class. Calvin and Brandon were disappointed.

The instructor is incredible, though. He’s truly a people-person. He definitely has a lot of stories to tell, and wants his students to have fun and relax. It’s yoga, after all. He has some quibbles about modern society with all the negativity from marketing and technology3. He’s totally rooted in the humanities and spirituality.

We spent of the class time meditating (with him talking about meditation). It was pretty relaxing, but my foot got numb.

Maybe I’ll be able to take the class with him in the future.

Anyway, after class was over I walked to the library with Calvin and Brandon. We went up to the fourth floor, and Michael was sitting already there at a table sitting by himself. Calvin and Brandon were like “Which one is that? Wilson? Or Michael? That’s Wilson. Right? No. I can never tell! What color is he wearing? Wilson’s green, I know that. I think. What shoes does he have on?” Oh boy.

The three of us sat at a different table from Michael (didn’t want to bother him). Calvin and Brandon thought I was crazy for buying applications for my computer. “I’m not made of money, man.” But I got Calvin interested in LastPass, but he had trouble signing up for it, so he got a bad first impression. “This thing is loading forever. Is this supposed to happen?”

Brandon left, and Calvin and I talked about a lot of topics while doing homework (for 49C and 146).

We ate lunch at the Student Union. The veggie burritos that we got were “small.” “They just keep on getting smaller and smaller. The school’s cheapening out.”

We went back to the library and did more talking and homework, and then we left the library at around 3 PM (or was it 4?) and went home.

I’m still having trouble with computing n log n for CS 146 homework. Sigh. The Lambert W function keeps on popping up when scouring the Internet for a way to solve for n, but I no comprendo. It looks so complicated. nn = 21000000, why must you be not-easy to solve!

  1. But I usually come before 7:30 AM. This time I got to school at 8.

  2. The “ch” is silent.

  3. He told us about the recent security hack on Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook profile, and to be careful with what we put out for the world to see. If someone can get through Zuckerberg’s account, then someone can get to anyone’s information. And that’s why he “doesn’t use any social media.” Heck, he doesn’t even use email.