Daniel Mai


This semester is probably going to be really busy. The courses I’m taking are demanding, and I’m going to be working as well.

There’s advice to “say yes to everything.”1 I guess I can say that I’ve been following it. “Want to hang out?” Sure. “Want to watch this movie?” OK. “Let’s program something!” Alright (My friend did most of the work. Good for him). “Do you want to be a grader this semester?” Sure. OK this, OK that.

Last week my professor asked me if I could fill in for a CS lab instructor a couple of times throughout the semester for two of the sections where the professor wouldn’t be able to show up. I said OK. I mean, two-and-a-half hours in the evening a couple of times throughout the semester shouldn’t be too bad. It would be great experience interacting with people and refreshing my mind to introductory computer science concepts.

But today, she asked me if I’m interested in being a lab instructor. (I have no idea what’s going on with the faculty/staff in the CS department.)

I was already surprised about being able to be a substitute. But now I’m being offered a position to be an actual lab instructor. Now granted, I don’t really “instruct” in the labs. I would just be there, take roll, and be a helper whenever someone asked a question. At least, that’s what my lab instructors did in the past. Update: Looking at the instructions of what I’m supposed to do, it does seem like a lot more work. Being behind-the-scenes is much different than what I saw as a student.

I would decline the offer, but when I think about how fortunate I am to even have the opportunity to be a lab instructor, it’s hard to say no. I have this chance to do something, so I might as well do it.

So, I’m a full-time student, a grader, and a lab instructor.2 Hopefully I don’t get overwhelmed this semester. But I probably will be.3

  1. I’m probably biased ’cause I’m a fan of Aaron Swartz. He did amazing work.

  2. As far as I know. The semester just started, and it’ll only get harder from here. Things are moving kind of fast.

  3. But that’s okay. because there’s advice telling me that this experience is beneficial to me, despite the stress.