From One Senior To The Next

As a graduating senior from Staten Island Tech who has been Mr. Whalen’s student on three separate occasions, I find it fitting to offer some advice to his future students. Freshman year I took regular computer science, sophomore year I had Mr. Whalen for CAD (but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t teach that anymore), and senior year I took his AP CS principles course.

I walked into the first day of high school with almost no computer experience aside from your basic skill set feeling thrilled about learning to code and becoming tech-savvy after getting accepted into a class I had to apply to (luckily Mr. Whalen had a 50/50 gender equality policy).

I recommend taking the class as early as possible for several reasons. First off, you can meet upperclassmen that may later become very good mentors who can guide you through your high school experience. Shoutout Dejon and Rob! Another reason it may be helpful to take the intro class early is because it opens up the opportunity to take more advanced classes in later years. I only took AP CSP but I know that Mr. Whalen’s been working on some newer comp sci courses that dive even deeper into all that nerdy code stuff than his AP class; and let me just say,

This class was definitely as tough as it is.

Essentially, everything you learn in regular comp sci is enough to pass the AP test with flying colors. So, the AP class doesn’t really follow that curriculum but goes over the rails to something far more difficult. This is primarily because Mr. Whalen cares more about preparing us for jobs in the real world over a meaningless AP test.

And it really is meaningless because almost no college gives you credit for it and it’s surprisingly easy to pass with just a solid understanding of logic.

Now when it comes to the actual class,

Don’t be lazy.

Especially not in the beginning because then you’ll fall behind and it’ll be really hard to catch up. Believe me, I’m speaking from experience. Also, the biggest piece of advice I can give you is to have a good set of friends who can help you out whenever you need it. If you’re struggling, always reach out and see if they can teach you anything so you’re better prepared for future work. But most importantly, try to enjoy this class.

You end up having a much better time if you see it as a privilege rather than a burden.

I had that experience until I didn’t and it wasn’t great but when I opened my eyes a little, it was June and that’s probably my biggest regret. All I can say is make the most of this class.

This is Nika, signing off…