My Artistic and Creative Endeavor this summer was to research components to build a personal desktop computer. I then used that computer and its significatant performance to record myself playing a song on the saxophone. Then, I edited that track and added some effects. Additionally, I use the computer for academic and other personal purposes, and it has been highly beneficial in all areas.
During the course of this project, I had to make many decisions regarding which components to use, how to go about building the PC, and deciding which audio program and which songs to record. Evaluating myself during these decisions is interesting, because I can see how I approach situations and how I move through the decision process. It really helped me to understand where my strengths and weaknesses are in that area, and in that way this was transformational. The project also allowed me to get up close and personal with the hardware, which, as a Computer Science and Engineering major, I do not get as much experience with through coursework. It provided me with an opportunity to learn about things first hand which I would not otherwise have a chance to experience. At the outset of this project, I expected the marrying of my two passions, computer science and music, to be exciting, but I had no idea just how phenomenal that experience would be. It was so much fun to record myself and to play with the editing software, and see how my new computer affected that process. This is something that I will continue throughout my life.
I was able to interact with several people throughout this process, including several of my friends, my brother, and my dad. I also discussed this project with a professor, who I still keep in touch with today. These interactions were enriching in several ways; for one, the building of relationship around the project. We still talk about our PCs today, and the process of building and maintaining and using them is something we can bond over continuously. During the planning phase, I was in contact with multiple people regarding the choices of components and the pros and cons of each choice. I spoke with my brother, who built his own PC a few years ago, and it was fun to go back and forth with him about that. Also, my roommates built their own PCs, so being a part of that group during the selection process was enriching as well.
During the building part itself, I worked with my brother and my dad to assemble the different parts and add the software to make the computer run well. The six or seven hour process was educational and enriching, both technically and relationally. I was able to ask for help when I needed it, and seeing the different components go together how they are supposed to go together was very enlightening and educational for me as a Computer Science major. Physically putting the components together and into the case was an opportunity that few are fortunate enough to get, and it will be highly beneficial to me in my career.
Finally, the recording part was a personal experience that I am very grateful to have had. I love playing the saxophone, and having the ability to record and listen to myself is invaluable to my growth as a musician. I also enjoyed using my computer to be creative, because I using a computer that I built to do what I love doing. It was a highly enjoyable and transformational experience, because it showed me how I can combine two passions that I love.
Computer Science and Engineering is a highly technical field. Having this ability to add some creativity and musical art to my life will be incredibly valuable, because it can be a stress reliever in the midst of all the technical things. Like I have said, playing music is a passion of mine, and I know that it will continue through my life, but combining it with my career passion and my love of computer science opens the door for more creativity and fun in the future, which is significant for me. Academically, this project opened the door for more robust projects; even now, I am working on a project for my job which I literally cannot do on my laptop because my laptop is not powerful enough to run the project. In that way, this project allows me to do things academically that I was unable to do before, and this will really benefit me in my future career. Overall, this experience was completely invaluable and transformational, for me personally, in my relationships with other people, and for my academic and professional futures.