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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 :)