Oct 12

Another day, another musing.

I don’t usually post personal (well, not too personal :P ) stuff here, only because I’ve got my own blog for that. However, with freshbytes circling the drain I think it’s time we made sure that line is well and truly blurred. Here goes.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had an unholy amount of assignments and so on unleashed upon me care of Uni – with the exam period looming large, I feel like there’s some sort of pressure for me to preform.

As I’ve struggled to figure out how to call specific functions in programming, or how to make Javascript write to cookies, or how to determine how to validate forms using HTML, I feel like there’s just no point to all of this. Really, what’s the point? A degree in Computing (whoop-de-friggin-do)? That just seems so far away, and so futile…

Once upon a time I wanted to get into Dentistry. Certain circumstances changed (most on those another time), and now I’m not so sure. That’s not to say that if I was offered a place I would turn it down – I for one know how hard it is to get into those kinds of degrees – it’s just that sometimes, things just seem unbearably hard, you know?

The thing is, I’m not actually sure what I want to do now. Once upon a time Computing was my backstop degree (that is, backup), now it’s my primary one and it’s fast becoming my most hated one. Everything’s just too hard :(

Please don’t think of me as lazy – rest assured, as long as there’s enough reward in it for me, I’ll work damn hard to dot my i’s and cross my t’s. It’s just that now, almost one-third through my wishy-washy Computing degree, it’s like everything worthwhile seems so far, far away…

It gets even harder when you consider that I’m not sure what I want to do anymore. Everyone says to do something you enjoy – I used to enjoy Computing (or more accurately, computers), but now I’m not so sure. The hard question needs to be asked, then: what do I enjoy doing?

The sad thing is that I’m not quite sure I have an answer; computers are still fun, I love tinkering around with stuff like that, but as for making a career out of it? Video games, I love playing them, but again, making a career out of it?

Then there’s my real job. Ah, Apple. Apple stuff is cool, for sure, and I’d work in an Apple Retail store in a heartbeat, but again, I have relatives who have been salesmen their whole lives, and while they’re not too bad off they’d certainly be better off if they had a degree. I know that degrees give you excellent career opportunities, licenses to travel the world, etc, etc – it’s just going through the rigmarole of getting them that hurts the most. So yeah, retail isn’t a career path I’m willing to take – stupid ignorant customers took care of that pretty quickly.

Where to from here, Benny?

That, is the real question – one that I’m not sure I have an answer to.

(Apologies for the somewhat moody post again. Blame Uni. Blame whoever you want – I couldn’t care less.)

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , , , , ,

Feb 22

So, UTAS, huh?

… A year ago, the mere mention of the name would elicit a muffled giggle from me. Not because I thought the name was funny, or because of the way it was spelt, or anything like that. Nope – it was because it wasn’t one of those Uni’s that struck fear into the hearts of all that entered it hallowed halls, you know? They say that it’s in the top 10 Uni’s of Australia. Then they go on to tell you that it’s number nine. Out. Of. Ten. :o

In other words, it isn’t one of those respected/well-known Uni’s, like Monash, or Swinburne, (RMIT, etc – the list goes on) – certainly not by me, in any case.

You see, the “master plan” for a while now has been to go to the University of Adelaide and study Dentistry – Adelaide because they produce the best dentists, and dentistry because medicine is overrated, or something to that effect.

If you’ve been reading freshbytes lately, though – you would have seen that I just wasn’t good enough. With a TER of 88.9, and some embarrassingly awful UMAT results, I fell well short of what I needed to achieve. Even UTAS didn’t want me to do medicine!

I’m kind of over that now – the UMAT results hurt more than the TER (missing out by 1.1 points still sucks a lot, though). So for now, it’s the “time to do something random for a year and then apply again for next year” time.

My idea of something random is something I would enjoy, but also be able to do decently in – for higher education entry, I need a credit average or higher, with a solid UMAT score.

Something random would also need to be able to be turned into a career later on down the track.

Naturally, the only thing that fits both of these criteria would be a Bachelor of Computing. Sure, some general science degree would have worked as well, but some people I know are already doing Computing. Being one to follow the crowd, I am now doing Computing as well.

Orientation day for us Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology guys was on Thursday last week, and it wasn’t too bad. A tour of the facilities, lunch, sitting down in lecture theatres, and all that kind of stuff that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

You learn a little – but, just like high school, the most informative sessions is always a chat with mates, or with past and/or present students. They’re the ones that can tell you what you can and can’t do, what to do and when to do it, and more!

Final word?

UTAS seems okay. I’ll still miss Calvin, though*.

Comments below.

* Actually, I might have to go back on that. Stay tuned.

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jan 18

What a day. I’m starting to sound like Benny (apologies in advance :) ).

Wednesday, 14th of January. The ‘Acceptance session’ day for the University of Tasmania. Students-running-around-with-parents-day.

Basically, a day where you go and the Uni reps talk to a whole group of people interested in enrolling in Uni for this year. This day was specifically for the previous years’ grade 12’s (like me).  The main lecture theatre wasn’t exactly full, but there were enough people to feel ’surrounded’. Having at least 4 sessions throughout the day accounts of the apparent ‘lack’ of people. The Uni guys talked about the usual stuff, and then split us into groups based on degree areas. For example, the group whom I was a part of was one surrounding the computing department, and this included computing/info systems/game development and most likely others.

This was the spot where things got a little interesting. See, I had organised the day with my friend James to make things easier for the both of us. Now, once we were split into the computing group,James and myself were the only ones in it! SCORE! That, personally, made me more comfortable in the various wanderings around the department buildings. Dells and Macs. Meh.

The second ‘score‘ was the quick visit to the office of the degree coordinators’ office. Various thick textbooks on stuff like XML, but the one that really stood out was the textbook on UNIX! And this was after she mentioned that she teaches Computer Security!

Oh yeah, and for Benny’s sake, she has a mac laptop.

Then was the supposed final part of the session, the so-called E-tour (basically an online guide on how to enrol and do bits and pieces). After initially going into one wrong location, and then being given a location that had previously had the tours earlier (the signs pointed to it), we were finally told the final location of the tour. At this point, James decided to leave, and we were informed that the staff that directed persons to the specific areas (the guys out front) were misinformed about the location of the E-tours in the first place!

At least I (and my father) got a good tour of the Uni. I no longer feel like a ant on approach to a hay bale, if anything a human now on approach to the said hay bale.

During the session, I saw something on the computer in front of me to make me think of this day as weird in every sense of the word. Where , on the Uni site, they would usually have a picture of a student to ’sure-up’ the reality of going to Uni (or something like that), I saw a picture of a person familiar to myself and one of my good friends, Martin P. It was his (this is not confirmed, I am assuming this by previous data sent to me) sister-in-law. WOW, I couldn’t believe my eyes. And thus did the E-tour begin.

Now I thought that after this had finished, we had finished up for the day. How wrong I was. The most important meeting was about to begin.

On my way out from the computer room in which the E-tour was being conducted, who should I see at the entrance but two of the Calvin 2008 leavers, Ellen and Amber. They had a quick chat with me, and then we parted ways.  It took about 10 mins after we parted ways for me to finally realise something that was mentioned in great depth to me before I graduated from Calvin.  “You’ll miss them, You’ll miss the leavers”. The first time I actually realised this, was this day, the UTAS day. Was I really that close to the students in my grade that I’ll actually miss their presence?

That left me in a state of thought that I did not escape from for at least 2 hours afterwards. I still think about it to the present day. I must have been blind that day, ’cause I know I was the day I last saw the leavers.

And that was my day, the UTAS day, Wednesday 14th January ;-) .


written by Chris Jacques \\ tags: , , , , , , , , ,