• Olli Machina

Finals Week

Updated: Dec 14, 2020

This has simultaneously been the longest and shortest semester I have had. It seems that August was last week and yet there has been so much to do and so much has happened. I really do miss in-person classes. Hopefully we can make it back there next year.

First on the agenda of the week- I gave my final physics presentation with my group. Our program turned out pretty unexpected. We were making a solar system, and somehow through our process, we turned it into a pendulum. The planets would orbit in a pattern that looked like a Bohr's atomic model and would lose momentum over time. This actually resulted from what we placed in the update functions rather than creating global variables for- as well as the way that the centripetal force and momentum played into the planet's force generator. I honestly think this end result has been super interesting. It was cool to so the research of 'how does this work' and then connect it to 'how did we get from there to here.' Pendulums are also really interesting, so I don't really mind.

I've got a paper due tomorrow as well as my AI project presentation. I am really excited for my AI project results. I had a lot of fun learning about the Alien: Isolation AI and it's been so interesting to try and replicate it, as well as see how all of the pieces came together. I'll be posting another blog post that is more in-depth later today with details of what happened and what it resulted in. (Edit: here it is!)

Everything else really revolves around Friday. I'll be submitting my self-made exam for Vector Calculus, as well as my test for Global IT and Ethics. I've really enjoyed both of those courses, they've been incredibly interesting and great to discuss with others.

As something to do when I'm not working, I've been making a spreadsheet of crystal information for my collection. That's my favorite thing that has come out of collecting crystals so far- it is such an incredibly subject and there are so many things to learn. I love that I can identify crystals now, when a year ago, I knew virtually nothing about them. Their properties and compositions and classifications are endlessly interesting sources of information to dive into. My favorite has always been Labradorite- it was absolutely one of the first crystals that I was drawn to, regardless of knowing absolutely nothing about crystals. The brilliant flashes of color and the way that each one is just so different is mesmerizing to me. I recently got a peach moonstone sphere as well and that one has a proud place on my desk.

I'm scheming of things to try over the winter break. I'm excited to have the time to explore and try new hobbies- or revisit old ones that have been put to the side through the semester. I've absolutely got necklace orders to continue and some new hobbies to try. For some reason, I have a large desire to try making felt hats. No other reason besides they are neat and I think it would be really cool to learn how to do it. I'm excited, nevertheless.

I hope everyone who has completed their semester has a great start to their break and for those of us who are on our final week, I hope the semester has been lovely and this week goes well with all of your final assignments.

Through this virtual semester- it's been very hard to have the feeling of "progress" as I turn in assignments. The routine of sitting at my computer for classes, sitting at my computer for assignments, and then finishing the school day has been repetitive in a way that it's harder to feel that accomplishment through the year.

If anyone is feeling that way as well- I heard a quote that seems mostly directed towards pursuing doctorates and such, but I feel it's helped me remain optimistic about the strange situation we are in. I actually can't find the exact quote, but if I remember right, it was something like

"You're not getting to the finish line, you're getting the hell away from the start line."

That's helped me view my "progress" in a different way that has allowed it to actually feel like progress and not as stagnant.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a lovely week and good luck to those completing finals. We will all be okay.