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Software Engineering, University of Waterloo

Halfway Through 1A Waterloo Engineering

Hey everyone! Sorry that I haven’t posted anything in the past month. School and life has been extraordinarily busy! Remember when I mentioned how time flies? Well, it’s exactly how my life is right now. It feels as if the beginning of October was just yesterday.

Here’s the highlights of my second month at Waterloo Engineering.

Assignments, labs and, quizzes

In our five core courses, we have weekly assignments, labs, and quizzes. Assignments are either done on paper or through online assessments. Some of them are quite challenging and tricky; however, each one is only worth 1%. Quizzes are written during tutorials and test your understanding of the concepts. They’re usually only worth 1% each as well. As you can tell, assignments and quizzes make up only a small portion of your overall mark. This doesn’t mean you should fool around and not take them seriously. They are important because they test your knowledge and understanding of concepts, before the major midterm and final exams. If you’re doing poorly on them, you should immediately seek help and review your studying habits. Since there’s assignments, labs, and quizzes every single week, it always keep you busy.

Midterm week

From Tuesday October 14th to Saturday October 18th, I had 5 midterm exams. Thankfully, we didn’t have any classes during this week. I personally thought that the midterms were quite representative of what we learned in class. The questions were all very fair. I don’t want to dwell into too many details, but I learned a lot during midterm week. I will definitely prepare and study harder for the final exams. As long as you maintain a strong work ethic and do the practice midterms, you’ll do well. I’m looking forward to the final exams in December, which is spread over two weeks. Hopefully, I can learn from my past mistakes and improve my final marks.

Scribbler Project

For our Software Engineering 101 course, we are required to program a robot to perform certain features. It’s an interesting project; however, it’s super difficult to operate the Scribbler smoothly. There’s so many issues wrong with it such as high dependance on battery level, poor censors, and glitchy motors. My group recently demoed our bot for the Object Avoidance test. It seems like a simple task, but all of the previously mentioned problems makes it a pain to work with. Our next step is to program the Scribbler bot to perform any desired function. Our group’s idea is to make the robot follow different paths and then play the appropriate music notes. We will be using key features such as line following and colour recognition.

Engineering Society Events

What makes Waterloo’s Engineering Society so awesome is the fact that they run so many events throughout the year. In October, there were some really fun events such as: Coffee House at Bomber, charity pancakes, hockey night, First Year Mentoring Conference, Middle of Term party, Women in Engineering Yoga, pumpkin carving, all nighters, costume contest, programming workshop, Change4Change, and the list just goes on and on. I would highly recommend everyone to get involved with EngSoc because not only are the events incredibly fun, but you also build upon your soft skills and get to meet new people.

Enactus Waterloo

Oh man, running Enactus Waterloo has eaten up so much of my time. I briefly discussed about my involvement with Enactus Waterloo in my previous blog post. Our core executive team met several times and brainstormed about project ideas. Now that I think about it, coming up with a brilliant idea and executing it is quite challenging. We also launched a recruitment campaign for the executive positions. We used social media and word of mouth to spread the news. By the end of the week, we received almost double the number of applications that we had initially expected. I was quite impressed by the applicants’ qualifications, willingness to learn, and most importantly their passion for social entrepreneurship. However, choosing the applicants for an interview was not an easy process. There were so many qualified applicants, but our team can only afford so much time to interview.

Over the past week, I was at Tim Horton’s interviewing applicants every single day from 6:00pm to 8:00pm, with some additional interviews in the morning and afternoon. I must say it was quite an interesting experience being on the other side of the table. As the interviewer, you really get to know each candidate on a personal level. I particularly enjoyed listening to each applicant’s unique story and their passion for changing the world. There were many tough decisions to make, but I’m glad the stressful selection process is all over (for now).

Since Waterloo has a co-op program, students typically alternate between school and work terms. This makes choosing the executive team an even trickier decision because people come and go every four months. Therefore, we decided to recruit two sets of alternating executives. We are very happy with our newly selected executives and anticipate it’s going to be one heck of a year.

So that’s what happened in the month of October. I still can’t believe I’m halfway through my 1A term. To be honest, time is flying way too quickly, I wish I could just slow down the clock. Oh wait, tonight is the end of Daylight savings time, so we’ll have to turn back the clock by an hour. Awesome, I guess my wish just got granted! Anyways, until next time.