Well as promised, I’m updating my blog tonight, after what has seemed like a very long time. I mean that last post definitely doesn’t count for a post at all. It was like 4 words. So I promise, you get to read lots and lots of stuff in this post. It’ll be so long in fact, that you’ll probably want to go grab dinner before you start. And off we go.
Why have I been neglecting my blog? Well, to tell you the truth, I’ve been totally utterly swamped with work. Do you remember back in high school when they told us they were preparing us for university and the whole shebang? Well, let me tell you, either they don’t know what university is like at all, or they were lying. Coming to UWaterloo has felt basically felt like running full force into a semi-cushioned wall. The initial impact isn’t too bad cause you’re kinda still in the soft area and then you bottom out the cushioning and you find your face being owned by the solid concrete blocks. You then kind of bounce back a bit only to feel totally dazed and confused. I’m in the dazed and confused part right about now. Frosh week was like the cushioning. It was a shock to be in such a different environment, but it was generally still a pleasant experience, meeting people and getting acustomed to the student life. Starting about two weeks ago would be the portion of time characterized by the face-smashing and total utter pain of life. There were so many projects and assignments on the go that I couldn’t even think about bed until at least past 1AM. Now I can’t say I’ve been super efficient in my time usage, but it’s a lot better than back in high school let me tell you. I’ve learned to do my assignments the day of getting them or the next day. That way you can get the majority of it done and you don’t have to worry about trying to cram three assignments into one night.
I’m now on to the dazed phase after the initial shock. Classes are tough, concepts are somewhat abstract and generally we have to figure things out for ourselves now. Problems on assignments are regularly extremely difficult with a slight grounding in what we’re doing but we have to apply real problem solving skills to answer them. I’m not at all ashamed to say that I honestly don’t have a sweet clue how to do some of them. For the most part, I’ve never had that problem before in high school, but it’s common now. That’s not to say I’m doing poorly, far from it. In fact I’m more willing to learn than ever before. For example, I’ve never actually done any programming in my life (no, HTML does not count!) but I received a 38/40 on my first graded C# assignment. It’s just not like high school where you could slack and still do well. I’ve been working hard and being rewarded by decent results. Oh, I’m definitely not getting a 99% in anything, but I’ll be happy if I can get an 85%+ average.
Midterms are coming up soon, in about a week. I’m extremely unprepared for them, but I’m going to take advantage of this coming long weekend to get some reading in. Sure it’s nerdy to study over Thanksgiving, but I’ll need it. I’m also asking for help more now. At first it felt somewhat awkward to do so, but I feel so much better getting that help. I couldn’t have done as well as I had on that programming assignment if I hadn’t gone to a tutoring session for C#. It was extremely helpful.
I’ve been building pretty good relations with the professors and teaching assistants which is probably good. They even know me by my name and not student number now. =P We had our first divisional meeting with the professors and first year’s office people. We traded some comments back and forth and I generally felt we got a lot accomplished. I can already see some of our suggestions being implemented by the professors. For example, I had been having a pretty bad time of it in physics, but we suggested that he explain his methodology more when doing problems. He’s already starting doing that and I’ve been following much better. I feel more comfortable with what he’s doing now.
Wow, I just had a long chat with one of my fellow classmates about a huge project we’re undertaking at this moment. See with co-op, you have to write work-term reports which basically documents the work you’ve done during that job. So to prepare us for that, we’re writing something of a technical work report right now. Basically it’s the most complex and rigid piece of writing I’ve ever attempted to do. Being an ‘engineer’ we’re liable and responsible for peoples’ safety and well-being. So we can’t take shortcuts on a design cause we’re lazy. We have to account for all the needed factors and document any factors we’re ignoring and explain why. It has a very strict layout and references are essential. They’ll nail you for plaigerism just like that. The problem given to us is quite complex, the design of a circuit for a battery to inverter connection that needs to take into account load, voltages, temperature and opterating environments as well as minimizing cost. There’s quite a few variables we have to account for that just makes it that much harder.
So we’re done of applying for the first set of co-op jobs here. It’s really tough being a first workterm student to find a half decent job since employers greatly prefer the upper year students who have already had work terms under their belts. In any case, I applied to a bunch of jobs and have 1 interview and 1 alternate so far. There’s still 13 jobs that they haven’t screened yet so I’m hoping for the best. The interview is at a place that does mostly web stuff which isn’t too bad (it’s not gonna just be like a tech call center 😛 ) and my alternate is at ATI Tech with the Apple Product group. If someone doesn’t go to that interview that I’ll be in and I’ll poop myself. I’ve also applied to two other ATI jobs which haven’t yet been screened so I still have a chance to get an interview there. That would be awesome. But to be totally honest at this point, I’ll settle for just about anything tech related at this point.
So basically school’s been really challenging. However I hope I’m up for it and I just need to discipline myself a little better. I mean this post alone has taken me two hours of on and off writing. But tonight’s my rest night. I got all my projects and assignments done for tomorrow and it’s a long weekend coming up. I’m heading home tomorrow so I can (hopefully) get a bunch of work done there. So that’s it for now.