Overheard at CS50’s Widener Office Hours

By Y. Kit Wu

In case you haven’t heard, Widener Library is now open until midnight to accommodate CS50 office hours every night Monday through Friday. Desperate to spend time with stressed-out freshman experiencing the magic of coding and to know exactly what “This Is CS50” means, Flyby spent some time in the room and this is what we heard:

Official-looking woman in a teal blue shirt and a “CS50 Staff” Lanyard:

“So how do you think you get through big spaces?

“I don’t know.”

“Think about the big spaces.”

“I don’t know.”

A group of girls, all dressed in blue:

“I finished in half an hour.”

Another group of girls, dressed in grey:

“We spent thirteen hours on this on Saturday.”

A group of two people, both with MacBook pros, seated at a table at the far end of the room:

“Wow, this is great!”

“This sucks! It’s cold in here.”

They fall silent as a CS50 staff member walks by.

“There aren’t enough TFs.”

Long silence as the two expert coders turn back to their screens. Eventually, one looks up.

“I wish David Malan didn’t say ‘This Is CS50’ so often. I sort of like, know where I am, you know?”

“I like it. It helps remind me of where I am and what I am doing with my life.”

“Yeah, that’s true.”

Both appear undisturbed by the idea that a class might serve as a reminder of identity and purpose.

Two boys huddle together over a small computer screen, covered in stickers that say “EPIC.”

“T zero. Zero. Zero. Zero. Is that even possible?”

“You’re just typing zeros. I’m not sure why you would ever want to do that?”

They look at each other, and fall silent.

A boy and a girl sit across from each other. The girl appears focused on her work, but the boy appears distressed, rubbing his eyebrows and mumbling.

“Just sit down and someone will come over to you, they said. I’ve been here for fifty minutes. Where is my help? Hello? Can someone help me? This is right, why isn’t it working? They told me this is right. What am I doing? Hello?”

A boy and a girl are laughing loudly at a table. Curious, I walk over.

“I just realized I was missing C-type H! And I didn’t need string.h!”

“Yeah, Dean and I just spent twenty minutes just figuring it out. Haha!”

I don’t know what is so funny about this. I leave.

At this point, a CS50 staff member walks up to me and quietly requests that I sit down and wait for someone to help me with my code, or to leave. Another TF walks up. I am asked to leave when I explain my journalist intent. So long, CS50!

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