Yesterday, a bunch of dressed up, half drunk engineers invaded our lecture room to pronounce their last day before the Iron Ring Ceremony, a ceremony that (almost) all engineering students look forward to. The symbolism of the iron ring itself is best left to another article at another time, but in the context of the engineering program at Waterloo, the ceremony marks the culmination of 5 years (or more) of hard work and harder complaining.
As I sat there, glad for the temporary respite from circuit fault testing, I realized two things:
- I will probably be amongst those raucous engineers in a year.
- I will probably be amongst those raucous engineers in one year.
It’s now one week before the end of lectures of the 3B semester, and it seems such a short time ago that I was writing about the approach of midterms and reading week. This semester, more than any so far, has veritably flown by – projects, labs, and assignments have contributed to the feeling that I wrapped up my semester at Indigo but a few days ago, when in fact it has been 3 months. I sense myself growing tired of so many things about where I am, and whereas during any other semester, I’d simply look to the approaching co-op, I only have another 4 months of school to look forward to this time. I’m finally experiencing what a typical university career feels like.
To keep myself from going insane, I’ve been injecting little bits of interest into my every day life. What I didn’t consider but a year ago now keeps me content: photography. It’s one of those activities that allows a curious mind to wander and look at things in a different light. It’s possibly the single biggest thing I’m looking forward to in the summer. At least the drab greyness that is Waterloo in the winter will be replaced by some color. With only 4 courses (and 1 additional slot for work on the fourth year design project), my schedule has large swaths of emptiness, pretty conducive to going out and shooting some photos.
I’m also spending some more time researching topics of interest outside (or extensions) of course material. Among the topics are semiconductors, processor architecture, and some program management related fields. I recently picked up two books on the third topic, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie and Making Things Happen by Scott Berken. These two books were recommended by Joel Spolsky at the end of his wonderful article on program management and were very well reviewed at Amazon.
Making a proactive change to my schedule, I’ve begun studying for final exams already, starting with ECE 327, Digital Systems Engineering. There’s about 300 pages of lectures notes to go over since midterms. Split into little chunks, it’s my hope that I’ll be able to properly digest it by the time the exam rolls around.