Posted by: idm04 | 2014/10/28

October 28th, 2014

I know I said I would stop posting, but I guess I’ll be here a little longer…


This term, I am taking CPSC 110, CPSC 121, SCIE 300, and MATH 307 in the second-degree UBC Bachelor of Computer Science (BCS) program.

Overall, classes are going alright. I kind of wish we weren’t using Dr. Racket in CPSC 110, but I can’t say whether jumping into a ‘real’ language now would be good further down the road. CPSC 110 is also a lot of work. I am not finding CPSC 121 too interesting, because of my previous overlapping coursework (MATH 220: Mathematical Proofs, and PHIL 220A: Symbolic Logic). I probably should have asked if I could skip CPSC 121, but I think the answer would still be no. MATH 307 is pretty fun, but challenging.

I genuinely wish I didn’t have to take SCIE 300, which is a lot of work. If you’re in the BCS program, I personally highly recommend against taking SCIE 300 for the Communication requirement. I’ll post syllabus information after the course is over, but it’s basically way too much work for what you get out of the course.

MICB 421, a previous course I took, was a lot of work because we had to design and carry out an experiment in microbiology from scratch, and then write a paper on it. It’s more work than SCIE 300, but at least it was worthwhile, and the work was always relevant. On the other hand, in SCIE 300, a bunch of work is just thrown at us, most of which seems pointless/repetitive, and not interesting in the slightest. For example, last week we learned about metaphors and similes. Not interesting nor useful, because most people already know what metaphors and similes are.

However, SCIE 300 isn’t a completely pointless course — I’ve learned some useful writing conventions (although I could have looked them up), and at some point bibliography/reference managers like RefWorks were covered (although I did already know that from MICB 421). That being said, I feel that the little benefits I get out of the course are not worth taking the course.

This is because there are too many tasks in SCIE 300. This course has weekly pre-class and post-class quizzes on Connect; mandatory blog posts every few weeks (you’d think I’d be interested but no, not when it’s not of my own volition), plus mandatory comments on other’s blog posts; a Science Investigation Project which involves collecting and analyzing data, then writing a paper; regular journal entries about the wonderful things we’ve learned; interviewing a researcher and creating a news story with video, podcast, and blog post; in-class individual and group presentations; in-class worksheets almost every single class; filling feedback forms for others’ assignments; and finally, writing a paper on all the things we’ve learned in the course.

Now, some of the things I admit do actually seem kind of fun or potentially worthwhile, like the Science Investigation Project, and the interviewing-a-researcher project. Many students in Science don’t get to work with actual data, and the Science Investigation Project provides an opportunity to collect and analyze data and draw conclusions (ie. do actual science!); and then get real feedback. However, this was poorly executed in this course — I felt that the feedback we received was fairly minimal, and it was way too rushed. For example, we were given about a week to collect our data.

In summary, I believe SCIE 300 is poorly designed and I strongly regret taking it. It tries to cover too much ground, and the majority of the work is not useful. Not sure if the alternative ENGL 301 is better, but it seems more practical: some people have mentioned that their resumes/cover letters were much better after taking ENGL 301.


I forgot to mention in my last post, which was long ago, that my bike was stolen from my apartment locker :( I figured it may be worthwhile posting a picture of it here, but I’m fairly convinced it’s lost forever. I did check Craigslist and whatnot somewhat regularly after the theft, but to no avail. Soooo I ended up buying a new bike! And by new, I actually mean a used bike on Craigslist. It’s a vintage bike from the 80s, and it rides really well, but brakes really poorly especially when wet. I tried to see if the Bike Co-op could do anything about it, but was told probably not, without having to replace a lot of parts.

Kona Dew Deluxe (2009?) which was stolen from my apartment locker in August 2014. The locker itself had a strong padlock on it, and the bike was locked in the locked locker with a Kryptonite U-lock (Evo 4 series) and a cable. The locker room can only be accessed with an apartment fob… let this be a warning to others.

SCOOPS Mentorship Night

I signed up again as a mentor this year. I signed up last year but couldn’t make it in person, but for some reason they kicked me out of the program. This didn’t make a lot of sense to me, since all of the mentors are co-op students, and co-op students who are on a co-op term will often be off-campus, and it may be very inconvenient or perhaps virtually impossible to make it to such an event on time. Plus, such a mentor could easily be paired up with a mentee who was unable to show up either.

Anyway, this year I was able to attend. I was pleased that there was food (I don’t remember it being advertised), but the event was fairly chaotic. The attendees were basically waiting on the stairs in Ladha waiting to be registered, for a long time. I’m not sure why it took so long, but it did. People were basically waiting in the stairwell for 30 minutes, and the event started at 6, although it was supposed to start at 5:30. It was also unclear at which table we were supposed to sit, and the tables were labeled with letters in the wrong order, which was confusing.

My mentee ended up not showing, which was fine, because one of the SCOOPS people told me I could contact them by e-mail or be given another mentee. The mentorship part of the event involved the mentors rotating around the different tables and then talking to the mentees at that table for a few minutes. Strangely, we didn’t have much time to talk to the mentees we were assigned. There were also not enough chairs at many tables, and some of us had to kneel down on the floor. After the mentorship portion, there was supposedly something like a jeopardy game to be played, so I ended up leaving early.

MISA Mentorship Night

I also signed up for this, but wasn’t able to attend the event in person. Seems like the marketing was better this year, as there were only 5-6? mentees who showed up last year, and this time there were around 15 who signed up, and slightly fewer mentors. I find it strange that MISA changes their e-mail every year, as if they don’t want their old contacts to e-mail them or something. I’m going to see if I can register for the next year’s e-mail ( and see what happens. I also find it strange people still don’t know how to use BCC when e-mailing lists of people. Of course, this reminds me of jPadGate, in which UBC IT sent an e-mail to everyone in the Faculty of Applied Science without BCC, creating an e-mail storm.

FoodSoc Main St. Event

I was going to go to this event, but after finding out we were mistakenly put on the waitlist (instead of being given a spot), the person I was going with decided to boycott it after we were moved off the waitlist. Lol.

edit: Forgot to mention, I’m currently reading the light novels for Spice & Wolf :)



Posted by: idm04 | 2014/09/07

September 7th, 2014 – Back to school

Hello there!

It’s been quite a long time since my last post…

First of all, there’s a new UBC blog I’ve been asked to promote – Micro Inquiry – written by a third year UBC Microbiology & Immunology student! :D

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m probably not going to update this blog very often anymore since I’m graduated. Furthermore, a lot of my posts are becoming quite outdated, so I’m considering slowly taking them down. If there are older password protected posts you want access to, just drop me a line. Aaaand if you want to follow other UBC blogs check my blogroll in the sidebar.

You’re probably wondering what I’m doing with my life post-grad. Well, I took the summer off and went on a 6-week backpacking trip to Europe. First arrived in France, then went on to Italy, Austria, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden. I mostly stayed in hostels, and I was traveling with a friend. Upon returning, I briefly joined the Richmond Olympic Oval to play basketball/badminton and do a tiny bit of weight training. I also went on a lot of hikes for the first time ever, including the Grouse Grind (4-5 times), Garibaldi Lake (which was gorgeous), Stawamus Chief, Sea to Summit, Eagle Bluffs & Bowen Lookout and Quarry Rock (Deep Cove). Also marathoned some anime: Clannad, Clannad After Story, Psycho-Pass, Suisei no Gargantia, Hanamonogatari, and Shin Sekai Yori.

Anyway, I am currently back on campus — I’ve decided to take some more courses, this time with Computer Science.




I’ve also been taking a look at the first year UBC groups on Facebook, and noticed today that someone shared my files with the Sciences group and seemed to take credit… tsk tsk.



Anyway, that’s all I have to say for now! I’m pretty sure I was supposed to say other things too, but my memory isn’t serving me well at the moment…

Garibaldi Lake

Garibaldi Lake




Posted by: idm04 | 2014/05/12

Fifth-year courses in UBC Sciences!

Courses listed here were taken between September 2013 and April 2014. The more I think about it, the sillier my naming system for these posts seems…

Other posts of potential interest:

First-year Courses in UBC Sciences!
Second-year Courses in UBC Sciences!
Third-year Courses in UBC Sciences!
Fourth-year Courses in UBC Sciences!

Read More…

Posted by: idm04 | 2014/05/05

May 5th, 2014

Woot done school forever. Just kidding, will be back this September, although I don’t know what I’ll be doing.


The exam was alright — we got the 3 potential exam questions in advance, and Dr. Bedke just picked one of them to test us on the exam. The exam itself only lasted an hour, and I left early. As of writing this post, the mark for this course hasn’t been released on the SSC.

MICB 421

The exam was pretty easy, or so I found, although there were a few questions I didn’t know because I am bad at memorizing things. I said that casamino acids were the result of the enzymatic digestion of casein, a protein found in milk, but it’s actually the acid-hydrolyzed product, and there is no enzymatic digestion as far as I know. I wonder if I should view my exam for funsies :3

Ended up with a 89% in the course. Good enough…

Read More…

Posted by: idm04 | 2014/05/04

Involvement & Extracurriculars

My posts are generally quite heavy on academics, so I thought I should talk about my non-academic UBC activities to let other students know what kinds of opportunities are out there. For each position I’ve held I try to mention things I liked/disliked, and what I would’ve done differently.

If you have any specific questions, please comment below or e-mail me (idm04wordpress(at)


Being involved on campus is a great way to develop skills, meet other people, diversify your experience at university, and have fun.

See Get Involved for a fairly comprehensive list of things you can do to get involved. I recommend joining a club or two that interests you. From that list, I myself have been involved with my Faculty, Athletics, Clubs, Orientations, Peer Programs, Research, Service Learning, Work/Volunteer.

EDIT: Unfortunately, the above link is no longer a list and you’ll have to explore several pages to learn about all the different involvement opportunities.

The UBC Birdcoop is a fitness facility available to students for $25/term. It is subsidized by your student fees; and unfortunately it is often crowded (but better than nothing). UBC REC is also a place you can go to exercise — they have free drop-in basketball/badminton/volleyball and they have classes (martial arts, yoga, etc). They also have competitive leagues (different levels) for those sports and others, including soccer and ultimate. The UBC Aquatic Centre also has a fitness centre and pools obviously, and they are both free for student use. If you look at the list of AMS clubs, you’ll see that some of them are dedicated to exercise related activities, such as the Quidditch club (lol), Weightlifting/Powerlifting Club, Fencing club, Tennis club, etc.

There are several ways to get a job on UBC. For starters, I recommend looking at CareersOnline and Student Services – Build my career.

1. Co-op
2. Work
3. Campus Engagement
4. Physical activity

Read More…

Posted by: idm04 | 2014/04/09

April 9th, 2014

Despite the last day of classes being yesterday, it was quite a stressful day, especially towards the end.

Read More…

Read More…

Posted by: idm04 | 2014/03/28

March 28th, 2014

Read More…

Posted by: idm04 | 2014/03/15

11 Reasons Why I Don’t Like UBC REC

This post is long overdue, but at last, here it is! 11 reasons why I don’t like UBC REC — you know, the organization that you, and each of the rest of the UBC student population are paying $200 (yes, two hundred dollars) of your student fees to. Every. Single. Year.

This list is in no particular order.

1. They get their dates (and other information) wrong on their website.

For many webpages for their events/schedules, the UBC REC often has misinformation or wrong dates. Taking Day of the Longboat as an example, the UBC REC page had, at some point, THREE different dates for the Day of the Longboat start of races day! And the wrong year as well.

Many other things were confusing on the Day of the Longboat webpage: in one section, it said 8 people needed to attend the mandatory practice clinic — and yet in another, it said only 7 people were needed. Confusion galore.

2. Broken links

Broken links everywhere. Nuff said.

3. Navigating their website can be a slow and painful process.

Sometimes, the layout simply makes no logical sense. Sort of like my blog layout.

4. Drop-in hours for sports are occasionally inaccurate!

I have come into the Rec centre several times looking to play badminton or basketball, commuting all the way from Richmond, just to find out that the gymnasiums upstairs were booked by some external party or by UBC Varsity. Why not update the drop-in schedule on your website so that it actually REFLECTS the real schedule? Wouldn’t that be fantastic?

5. Drop-in sports sometimes closes early without notice.

Great, I came all the way here to play for 30 minutes.

6. The wait at the front desk can take up to 15 minutes during peak hours.

Sometimes, there’s no one at the front desk at all. Or even worse, sometimes I see Rec staff casually stroll by behind the front desk, but they don’t help anyone because they’re not on front desk duty. Even though they’re so clearly not doing anything except chilling in the back.

7. The (new) locker system sucks.

Before, you could just bring your own lock to use at the Rec centre. If you didn’t have your own lock, you could borrow one from the front desk. But now? You HAVE to use their lock, which means sometimes, you have to wait 15 minutes for it. Congratulations, things are now 50% less efficient.

8. Drop-in is crowded.

Waaay too crowded.

9. Birdcoop is crowded.

…And there are only two full squat racks. WHY ARE THERE ONLY TWO FULL SQUAT RACKS. And, the sign-up process at the beginning of term takes forever because of the gigantic line. If there was an online registration system, things would be much smoother (if there is one, it hasn’t been advertised at the Birdcoop centre.)

10. Terrible campaigns, like Build the Walls.

I appreciate the frequent e-mail spamming campaign and the accompanying heartfelt messages, such as:“By putting your name to the new walls, you can help inspire future generations of UBC students to come together as a community and do the same.”

But if you think that will persuade me to pay between $100 and $2500 just so I can have my name in tiny font on the new walls that are being built, you are insane. (Their default donation options have a minimum amount of $100). I mean, didn’t you get the $200 from my student fees every year? Yes, you have other crap to pay for, but how much does it cost to build two 12 foot wooden walls that you’re going to be reusing for the next 30+ years?

11. Terrible planning, and terrible coordination.

Back to Day of the Longboat. It was an absolute nightmare changing my practice clinic day. I went in person, so the process would be expedited — sadly, they said it was NOT possible to change it in person, and I had to go home and e-mail them. Great. So I did. And then they didn’t get back to me for a few days. So then I went back to the front desk (my practice clinic was in a few days), and they said they would try to get it sorted out. And then they actually did! But then a while later, the person who I e-mailed a couple days back changed it to some other date/time, and chaos ensued.

Most UBC REC intramural games are announced approximately a week in advance. However, our FIRST playoff game was announced literally the night before. No one was expecting a game, and UBC REC had e-mailed captains saying that games wouldn’t start until the following week. And then suddenly NOPE, THEY START TOMORROW. And no e-mail notifications either, it was only by chance that someone on my team was checking the website the day before, and then saw we had a game the next day. Needless to say, most teams didn’t show up at all, and UBC REC was forced to reschedule the games (and hopefully reflect on their foolishness).

And those are the 11 reasons why I dislike UBC REC.




Posted by: idm04 | 2014/03/09

March 9th, 2014

Wow, it’s been several weeks since I last blogged…

MICB 421

Overall, it’s going fairly well so far. Our media has a lot of weird white specks floating around in it, which is suspicious, and we threw it out. However, when we made new media, the new media also had the same specks as soon as we had made it T_T so iunno we’ll see if anything grows up lol.

There were a couple days where I had to stay really late in the lab, for example last week my group was supposed to finish doing some prep by 2 pm or so; however when I was done my work at 3 pm, apparently they hadn’t done anything or it had failed T_T so I came in and stayed with them until 9 or so to finish it.

I’m planning to forego the optional midterm on Tuesday, because there are a lot of other things I’d rather take care of. Furthermore, it’s kind of late to start studying (although not impossibly late).


There’s an essay due Wednesday… technically, it’s optional, but I skipped the last one so I should really do this one. We’re talking about egalitarianism, and different interpretations of it such as equality of resources, or equality of welfare, or equality of opportunity of welfare, or equal access to “advantage”. It’s fairly interesting, but the readings are quite difficult for me :(

Post grad plans

I am planning to pursue further education.  One of the two programs I have applied to is the 2 year Bachelor of Computer Science program. If I don’t get into any programs, I’ll probably just start working somewhere, but who knows..


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