~ By Ruchi Chheda
Ruchi and 2 others attended a summer camp on Theoretical Computer Science in the Princeton University last year and she shares her experience in this article. She topped Shishuvan school in the Std Xth (ICSE Board Examination 2012).
“How will you prove this statement?” asked Professor Rajiv, drawing a graph on the board. And for the next hour, 16 of us, high school students, proposed ways to solve it, applying concepts from mathematics and computer science that he had just taught us.
This was a summer program, on Theoretical Computer Science, held in the Princeton University. Six of us from Shishuvan were selected after attending extra classes on Saturday after school. Unfortunately, 3 of them couldn’t make it due to visa problems. Anusha, Shagun and I decided to go for it; and we landed in a room full of students working, doing math. Some were drawing graphs on the board, testing out algorithms. Others were staring intently at a piece of paper, thinking. The students were working, but also having fun, and the room was bursting with excitement of discovery. This was where we were going to spend the next two months, learning and experiencing.
Studying at a university had a different feel to it altogether. The atmosphere was that of enthusiasm, exhilaration and friendliness, as we tried our hand at computer programming, solving undergraduate level problems and slowly mixing with the other students.
We also gained an insight into the field of computer science, and realized that it is not only about sitting on computers the entire day, but also mainly about designing fundamental algorithms on paper.
Making new friends and interacting with them was an enjoyable experience along with being an enlightening one. It was fun getting a peek into the lives of high school going American kids, who were very bright and brilliant at their work.
We were also in constant touch with our friends and teachers here at school, getting updates on what was being covered in class. This way we were able to study and stay at par with the rest of the class.
Time flew rapidly and we were back home soon. But we still talk about the course day in and day out. It was truly a great experience. We learnt everything from solving complicated math problems and writing elaborate codes to managing our time well. It definitely was hectic, having to do homework of the course as well as of school. But it was worth it and we all enjoyed a lot.
Only Rajiv and campus
Ruchi, Neha Chheda, Shagun Chheda, Anusha Chheda – well, not all of us are related
Our Computer Lab
Computer Science Building-the one in which we worked.