Okay, confession time: I didn't write a week 10 entry this summer. I wanted to leave it for late during the last week I would be in San Diego, but between packing all my stuff, finishing up the tag search, and writing my final report, I just never got to it. I put all of my stuff in boxes mostly during one epic packing session between the hours of 10pm and 6am the morning before I left the apartment. Thus I'm writing this entry from a slightly different perspective, one that includes the ability to examine this past semester at Mudd and how my summer experience shaped it.
The week and a half before I left was pretty relaxed. One Friday was the last tango class, so there was a field trip to the local milonga the evening, which was super fun. Also at some point I took the bus to a salsa lesson, which was a bit of an adventure. James and I (mostly James) finished the tag search and display of found slides after several days of beating php. It was very satisfying to finally see slides with the searched-for tag displayed in a pretty grid. I came in late most mornings on the very last week, after spending some time writing my final report on the couch at the apartment. I didn't quite get it done before Friday, which is partly why I'm finishing this up much later -- my semester at Mudd started off stressful and never slowed down, and I didn't have much of a chance to finish either the final report or this journal entry until much later.
There was a lot that was frustrating this summer. I frequently felt like I was in over my head and not contributing much to the project, despite assurances to the contrary. Beth couldn't be in San Diego for a few weeks, which meant that our meetings had to be via webcam and email. I loved most of the people that I met, though, and I was really sad to have to leave. I got to see Liz at Grace Hopper, which was awesome, and if I end up going to the dance competition that UCSD hosts I'm going to try to visit. The CS department was really welcoming, and made me feel like I fit. I got sort of a sense of what being grown up, with an apartment and a social group and a job, feels like. I did not get to see the difficult bits of being a grad student, because no one I spent a lot of time with had deadlines during these ten weeks except Mona. I guess the fact that I rarely saw her in the couple of weeks before she left sort of points to those difficulties.
It all ended up being learning experiences, though. If I want advice, I have to find someone to ask. If I'm having trouble with a project, I have to either figure it out or find someone to ask. If people don't get back to me, I have to ask them again. Getting attention and assistance doesn't work automatically like it did in high school. No one knows that I'm having problems or what they are unless I make it clear to them. People are more understanding than I usually give credit for. Women like me do exist in the CS world, and they're really fun to talk to.
As stressful as it was at times, I don't regret doing the DMP at all. If the goal was to convince undergraduate women in CS that they want to go to grad school, in my case, I think the program worked.