Apply, Interview, Rank, Repeat

Woah, where did the time go? This term has gone by soo fast! From my experience in university, the term goes by quickly and finals are upon you just like that. *snaps* In no time you’ll have your friends going up to you asking whether you started studying yet for finals, and your confused look will give it away that you hadn’t even though about it yet. Which reminds me, I should be studying instead of procrastinating by writing this blog… : D

When you’re in a co-op program such as Computer or Electrical Engineering like me and Celina, not only will you be spending majority of your time finishing up assignments and trying to catch up on sleep every week, you will also have the responsibility of trying to find a job for the next term. In a co-op program, you will be switching between going to school for four months and working at a company for four months. This involves some planning and work beforehand to actually find a job though. This process is all done on a site called Jobmine, where you do all of the searching, applying, and ranking of jobs in the term before your work term. For me and Celina, this is the time that we are looking for jobs.

So far my experience with Jobmine and looking for jobs has not been terrible at all, as opposed to what some people have experienced. It’s pretty simple, mostly intuitive, and if you get stuck or want some clarification there are always resources to guide you through the process. Basically how it works is that you write a resume and possibly a cover letter (for those jobs that you really want or that require them), you upload it to Jobmine, and choose jobs that you want to apply to. Your resume will be sent to those employers, and from everyone that applied they choose a certain amount of people to interview. Those people then do their interviews, and from that set of people the company ranks those that they would want to hire. For those that got chosen, this is the end of their journey until next term. For those that didn’t get the job, the process repeats. Over and over and over again.

Thankfully I have already found a job for the next term, so I’m out of the job searching loop! What they seemed to love asking me about in interviews though, hint hint, is the extra stuff I did on my own time. All of the people who interviewed me seemed quite interested in a game that me and a couple of friends made with Java back in high school. Don’t underestimate the importance of outside-of-school projects! Spend at least some time practicing skills or creating something, even if it seems silly and worthless at the time. These projects are a great way to show off your skills and may even help you become better at something that you have always wanted.

For those in software or computer, I would recommend writing a program or learning a new language, and then posting an app or program that you made onto Github, which is a code sharing site that enables employers to see your programming style and skill. Don’t worry if it seems confusing at first. You’ll get better, you’ll figure it out. (Also don’t forget about Google – a great research resource where you can find useful tutorials!)

Alright, I’m off to go study/sleep, whichever one seems like the better choice at this hour. I would love to hear about your experiences with looking for jobs guys, whether it’s through Jobmine or outside of the co-op program! What kinds of things did they ask in your interviews? Did they seem more interested in your past experiences, and if you didn’t have any did they seem more interested in your projects and what you do outside of school? Comment below. :)

Marieta
1A Computer Engineering
University of Waterloo

Last Week of Class Thoughts

I’m feeling overwhelmed so I’m sharing some thoughts to get it all out. After all, this blog is to show everyone what life as a uWaterloo Engineering student is like.

So yes, it is already the last week of class. How did the semester fly by so fast? I remember travelling with my parents near the end of August, feeling excited and nervous about life and uWaterloo soon and then it all happened and I don’t even know what to think now.

My days are long; 8:30AM to 5:20PM on an average day, sometimes an hour shorter or sometimes two hours longer, but I managed. The days actually feel short to me now. When you’re busying working in a tutorial or lab, or learning in a lecture, it’s nothing. I just go through the classes, go home to work, eat dinner, then work some more. Basically, I work about 60% of the day. I don’t ever really stop.

So now we’re about to start finals. I’m terrified of the thought of having to write finals, especially when I’m behind in a couple of classes. Fortunately I’ve managed to catch up for the most part but there will be so much studying to do.

I’m still trying to find a co-op job for January 2014. That’s just additional stress right now. Never would have thought that I would still be unemployed after all the stats they gave us on how high employment rates are. We’re still only 30% employed at the moment. What a terrifying fact.

I’m stressed to say the least right now. It all happens so fast. Unexpected but it’s fine. I’ll pull through.

Pre-Midterm Thoughts

Fifth week of classes. It feels like it has been so much longer than that yet at the same time, it feels like it hasn’t been that long at all. Midterms felt so far away but they have quickly crept up on me and now I almost feel overwhelmed. I don’t really know where to start; there is so much I would like to study but which course do I go for first?

Paying attention in class and checking LEARN multiple times a day really helps. On top of that, I also stay up to date by using my planner to keep track of when things are due. I also colour coded everything because I’m just an organized freak like that.

Extra help sessions have been organized to help students prepare for our upcoming week of midterms AKA Hell Week. Here’s the schedule that I’ve caught so far.
ECE 105: Thursday, October 9 from 7PM – 9PM at the Arts Lecture Hall
ECE 150: Friday, October 11 from 5:30PM – 7:30PM at RCH 302 (specifically for new programmers)
Wednesday, October 16 from 1:30PM – 4:30PM at CPH 1346
CHE 102: Every Tuesday from 11:30AM – 1:20PM at RCH 205

There is also a practice midterm later today (October 9) from 7PM – 9:30PM for those in Section 1 ECE in DC 1350. Check LEARN for the location and time of your practice midterm.

Is it just me or is it kind of difficult to manage assignments and extra study sessions sometimes? By the time I finish all my assignments that are due in the next day or two, it’s usually already 11PM. I guess that’s what happens when you get home at 5:30PM at the earliest every day. At least I’m making sure that I eat enough before I start working.

Time to get back to the studying. Good luck to everyone on your midterms!

Celina
1A Electrical Engineering
University of Waterloo

Midnight Thoughts On Class So Far

It’s 2AM on a Saturday night Sunday morning and I’m sitting here writing a blog post because I need a break from the ECE 105 assignments. I’m sitting in a room with two of my classmates and we’re all sleep deprived. I caught a bug and I feel ill but the work needs to be done. I’m really not making ECE sound fun, am I?

I’ve actually been loving ECE so far. Not going to lie, it’s hard work but it’s worth it. Having classes from 8:30AM to 5:20PM Mondays to Thursdays isn’t bad at all. The time goes by so fast that it doesn’t even feel like I sit through four lectures in a row in the afternoon. Tutorials are actually incredibly helpful when you want to sit down and do the work with classmates and get help from the TAs. The only problem is that if you want to work on an assignment in a tutorial, it’s probably not going to happen because usually assignments are due during the tutorial. Oh well.

All my classes feel manageable at the moment and I’m so glad I took Calculus AP and programming courses in high school. If there is anything I would recommend for high school students to take if they have the chance to, it would be to take Calc AP and learn a C-based programming language such as Java, C++, or C#. I learned Java and C++ in high school and now C# in ECE 150; it looks great to know more than one programming language on a résumé when you apply to co-op jobs and it’s even better if you’re familiar with them. Calc AP has helped me learn everything up to week 10 in MATH 117 and there are only 12 weeks. Everything in that class is now review for me. Calc AP was worth the work and learning Java and C++ was worth the time.

I’m back to working on the ECE 105 homework now. We’ll see when I’ll have time to sit down and write a proper post soon. Don’t forget to keep asking questions because I love answering them.

Celina
1A Electrical Engineering
University of Waterloo

Ballin’ On a Budget: Rez Essentials

Over the past couple of weeks, Ikea and Walmart have become some of my favourite places to shop for rez essentials. Coming all the way from Vancouver Island in BC, I have set a limit for myself so that everything I own will fit into two big suitcases and two carry-on bags, just to make flying more manageable. With the rez essentials, I’ve gone for products that are light, compact, and affordable.

THE BED
I’ve always had a twin-size down duvet from Ikea. It’s light, compact, warm, and affordable at an average price of about $70. I managed to roll it up and fit it into my suitcase. My duvet cover and pillow case are from Ikea as well and those can go as cheap as $10 for the set. Fitted sheets were from Bed Bath and Beyond for $20. A good pillow is important and I purchased mine from The Bay. I don’t remember how much it was anymore but it was definitely affordable. I didn’t purchase a mattress pad but lots of people recommend it. I would say that a complete bed set can cost anywhere from $100-200, depending on what you go for.

THE CLOSET
I don’t own much and I like things neat. In MKV, each room has a closet and a dresser. In my closet, I got the SKUBB organizer with 9 comparments for all my scarves, hats, and other winter accessories. For the dresser, I went for the SKUBB boxes which can be folded down when not in use. Both products are light, compact, affordable, and easy to clean.

THE DESK
I have to admit that I’m a little obsessed with nice pens and pencils so I have too many. Way too many. I have a cup that I store my extra pens and pencils in and the rest all fit in my reasonably sized pencil case. I also have sticky note pads, tape, a ruler, scissors, and a stapler. A printer is nice to have but isn’t completely necessary because you can pay to print in other buildings at school.

THE BATHROOM
The bathrooms in MKV come with shower curtains but other than that, there’s nothing. You will need towels of course and I would also recommend a bath mat. Don’t forget the toilet paper!

THE KITCHEN
My roommates and I talked about what we would bring so we wouldn’t end up with too many duplicates of things that don’t need to be duplicated. I recommend Corelle bowls and plates because they’re affordable and sturdy so even if you have to travel with them, you don’t have to worry about them breaking. Cutlery, knives, pots, and pans are also essentials but in addition to those, my roommates and I also have a toaster, blender, and baking supplies.

It sounds like there’s a lot to bring but my roommates and I managed to figure it out before we arrived so there’s just enough for what we need on a daily basis to stay organized and get things done.
If you’ve stayed in rez as well, let me know what you brought, especially if you lived in a traditional-style rez!

Celina
1A Electrical Engineering
University of Waterloo