Designs for Programming A Scholar:

chart showing linear search algorithim

When one is planning a complex program, and wants to do it well, one must put advance planning into it. Too this end, people use a few tools. One of the most useful tools for organizing one's thoughts before committing to the operation is called psuedocode. It is essentially, what it sounds like, a non-standardized statement of logic in english syntactically similar to code. Considering the type of person I have become (a curious, scholarly one who searches unyieldingly for knowledge), a good program to consider as an analogue for my development is a simple linear search algorithm:

			For each item in the list:
			  Check to see if the item you're looking for 
			  matches the item in the list.
			    If it matches.
			      Return the location where you found it (the index).
			    If it does not match.
			      Continue searching until you reach the end of the list.

			If we get here, we know the item does not exist in the list. 
			  Return -1.	
		

When one in is in the planning stages of such a project, one has the luxury of such fantasy. Similarly, back when I was in the stages of development before I launched into the operation of high school, I too was comfortable with taking advantage of fantastical possibilities. As a reader, I enjoyed Science Fiction and Fantasy as my favorite genres. During this time I read some classics of the genre such as Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy and Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. Though it might be overstatement to say that either shaped my personal philosophy directly, if nothing else, they helped me later to be able to relate to contemporaries in geek and nerd subcultures (where I myself at times could be included, especially in middle school). Though I had actually already gotten into computer programming a little bit, I used these skills in attempts to write a computer game with my friend. Writings of the literary variety were equally fantastic, writings of this period were creative, imaginative stories with a little bit of poetry sprinkled here and there.

Just as it is true that it takes plans to write a program well, I didn't develop into the person I am today without some planning and help going into it. Just as there are standard algorithms like the linear search above to depend on, I too drew on the wisdom of my elders. The first and foremost credit amongst those who helped me along my development, must go to my parents. They made sacrifices to provide a good learning environment, always supported academic pursuits, and were always willing to lend a helping hand. Consistent with research on intelligence, I remember being read to quite a bit as a child. A love of reading was instilled mostly by my mother. Other important figures to my development as a reader, writer, and thinker were my third grade teacher, Mrs. Taylor whose Rainbow Valley classroom always focused on story time as a major aspect, directing us in such sophisticated works as Gary Paulsan's The Hatchet, Theodore Taylor's The Cay, and Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Shiloh. My fourth grade English/Social Studies, Mrs. Tremble read our class her unpublished novelization of her childhood adventures—which I found quite inspiring. She also prompted us to write a multiple chapter novella and even helped some students submit for publication. Mine never went anywhere, but it was an inspiring prospect to even contemplate. Finally, my 8th Grade English teacher, Mrs. Buffington, for better or worse, really shored up my grammar and mechanics. She also once complimented me on my potential, stating that I was one of the few natural writers she had seen in her long career.

As, with the help of others, I escaped the planning stages, so too when one has worked out the logic of a problem, they have to move onto...


Psuedocode retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_search
Linear Search Chart retrieved from http://www.logiccoder.com/SampleFlowcharts.htm