It's official. I am an Aggie. Whatever that is.

This week was... well, in one word, epic. It was not epic in a boring or difficult-to-follow way, like in poetry, but epic in the way that it seemed to be a never-ending journey, full of silliness and fun in every chapter.

This week, I moved to a different state. The state that I moved to, Texas, has much warmer weather than my home state of Nebraska, or Minnesota, where I go to colllege. Texas is very hot and very humid. I learned that "slimy" air is normal. It is also normal for roads to become foot-deep rivers when there is a lot of rain.

This week, I got the key to my first office. I am very excited about this.

This week, I met my research group and realized that I could not have hand-picked a better group of kids. We laugh and joke and deconstruct our cubicles as a "productivity investment". We always make a little time for Wii-search at the end of the day. I did not expect to enjoy them so much, or to have so much fun.

This week, I became one of the hair-color majority for the first time. There are a LOT of redheads in our lab. I have never seen so many redheads in one place, ever. My mom refers to our lab collectively as the Weasely family. I am proud to be among the ranks, even if I don't have magic wizarding powers.

This week, I learned that the impostor's syndrome is alive and kicking in my heart, but also that it can be overcome. I was so nervous about entering the program because I didn't think that I would be able to keep up with the project for a whole list of reasons, but it turns out that I was right where I needed to be in my ability. I was worrying for nothing, and believing that my gender, or my small university, or my lack of research experience would hold me back and prevent me from succeeding. I realized (and will likely need to realize again) that my determination will overpower any of my weaknesses, and I will be just fine in whatever I decide to do. I simply need to believe in myself.

This week, I learned quite a bit about sketch recognition. I knew nothing about this field before, but now I am REALLY excited about it. It combines art and computer science and psychology and those are three of my favorite topics. I get to work with all three this summer. I feel so blessed to be here, to work with these people on this awesome topic. Thank you, from the whole of my heart, for this opportunity.

This week, I met my mentor, Dr. Tracy Hammond. I like her a lot. She has shown me that the stereotypical image of a computer scientist is 100% wrong. A person can have a Ph.D. from MIT and drive a motorcycle to work and show enthusiasm and be brilliant, all at the same time. I am so excited to learn from her and her lab this year. I am in awe.

This week, I wrote code to recognize an arrow using the existing frameworks. It is very likely that the readers of this blog entry will have never thought about what exactly the geometric properties of an arrow are. I know that I hadn't. Once conceptualized, though, they are fairly easy to implement. This week I also made a few modifications to the user interface. The part I am most proud of is the one that should have been the simplest, but it took me several days because of existing bugs that were invisible until I started meddling with the features. What I worked on was highlighting a whole shape when it was hovered over, rather than simply the stroke. It is finally working, and I think it will definitely help with the intuitiveness of the software.

Finally, this week I became an Aggie. My campus tour guide said so. She also said that Aggies are Aggies for life. So, if you'd like to know what happens in my second week of Aggie-life, stay tuned!