Circuit Breakers

My Favorite Course in Interactive Media Major

Name: Simran Parwani
Country: USA
Year: Class of 2021
Major: Interactive media and computer science 
Course: Circuit Breakers!

This class teaches the basics of using electronic components and soldering to be able to build circuits that produce sound and light. The professor fosters a DIY ethos and sense of hardware hacking to empower us to build our own circuits.

Why This Course

I took this course because I intended to get a minor in interactive media. I was really nervous because I had never done any physical computing course before. I had thought of myself more of a software than a hardware person.

A Typical Day in This Class

A typical day for this course was usually part lesson and part practical, applying what we had learned. Professor Jonny Farrow would teach us about some electronic component like a variable resistor, or show us some cool projects often interjected with funny personal anecdotes.

Then, we would use the remainder of class time to work. The class took place in the interactive media lab, so we were always around each other asking things like "What are you working on?" or "Have you thought about doing it this way instead?"

What I Loved About This Class

The first project was to make a contact microphone and I remembered feeling so confused and unsure of whether I should stay in this class. It took me a whole hour to solder two wires and I also asked for help from a classmate because I was so unconfident!

I am so grateful that I stayed because the class was so empowering.

By the end of the course, I challenged myself to build a 10 step analog sequencer. It was a stark difference from the person who could barely solder and doubted myself so much that I would always ask my classmates if I was doing it right.

This feeling of empowerment was my favorite aspect of the class and it made me a lot more confident in my learning abilities.

Simran Parwani, Class of 2021

After taking this course, I decided to add interactive media as a major rather than a minor, and it's been one of the best decisions I have made at NYU Abu Dhabi.

Tips on Navigating What Major or Course to Take

1. Persist through any doubts and find a new niche that combines various things you are interested in, no matter how unrelated they seem.
2. Take advantage of the add and drop period to try out new classes in new topics. But if you don't have space in your schedule, remember there's always opportunities to learn outside the classroom at NYUAD. For example, there are many guest speakers or workshops here by student interest groups and departments — so sign up for their mailing lists.
3. Don't feel obligated to do everything. There are many things happening at any given time at NYUAD so it's easy to get overwhelmed or feel like you always have to be "on." Explore at your own pace.

Why NYU Abu Dhabi

I decided to come to NYUAD because I was excited to learn more from my peers than textbooks, and feel more comfortable engaging in a dialogue with people who had different opinions than me.

I really liked how relatively new the University was, and felt that it was possible to effect change and leave a positive impact. I also admire the emphasis on learning outside the classroom, and was excited by the prospect of participating in groups like Women Empowered in STEM (weSTEM) and Girls Education Network (GEN).