Reflection on CS4641 Project

Introduction

When my professor assigned a new project in my CS 4641 class, Machine Learning, I felt panic begin to set in. All I could think of was my unpleasant experience from a couple weeks back. I had never coded for any machine learning project, so when I attempted the first coding project two days before it was due, it did not go smoothly. I had a meltdown because it was all so new and foreign to me and even the coding environment we had to use (Google Colab) was extremely confusing to me. In hindsight, I definitely should not have waited until the last minute to begin the massive project; I had let procrastination win. I had to find a way to turn the situation around, and quickly! 

Now what?

With less than two days left before the project deadline, there was no way I could finish the entire thing. Luckily for me, our class is allowed to utilize up to three late days on any assignment throughout the semester. I could finally take a breath and concentrate on the task at hand. Seeing that I had no clue whatsoever how to begin the project or even wrap my head around the concepts meant that I obviously needed to seek outside help. I went over to my professor’s website for the class and located the TA office hours guide on Piazza and signed up for every single office hour possible. In total, I was planning on going to seven different TA’s office hours during the rest of the week. 

Struggling through the Process

From there, I put my head down and worked until I could not stand the sight of my computer screen. I woke up early and went to bed late working continuously on the project. Thanks to the late days, I had time to go through the project step by step and write down every question I had. With these questions, I went to a bunch of office hours and learned from every single session with all the different TA’s. Through the non-stop work and meetings, I ultimately got my code to perform the desired outcome. That moment could have very well been the happiest I have felt this entire semester. The utter relief I had when it was all over was insurmountable. I had finally finished the monstrous project that I had put off for so long. 

Conclusion

Clearly, the biggest lessons learned here were that when a professor tells you not to start the homework late, listen to them and never be afraid to seek out help. I should never be embarrassed to ask any question I have because there are so many resources out there from GT to help.  Plus, once I eventually understood the machine learning project, it was super cool to see it work in action!