Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Worst Semester Ever...

...or is it my best semester ever?

Another title for this post could be “Obligatory post about school,” as I always have something to complain about school. Right now, it’s the middle of Week 7. Middle of the semester. Time flew by pretty quickly. SFU’s reading break or “mid-term break” ended yesterday, but I got an email this morning from the prof announcing that today’s class would be cancelled, so woohoo, extra day for me to catch up on stuff! And catching up is not an understatement…

One reason why this might be my worst semester ever is because I’ve fallen deeply behind in my readings. I’m doing three courses. One of the classes I’m all up to date and everything is fantastic there, however, it is an elective class (ASC 302: Selected Topics in Chinese Studies: Popular Culture and Cultural Production in Contemporary China).

Semi-tangent: I took my first ASC class way back in my first semester waaay back in first year, and I fell in love with ASC stuff. Ironic how I haven’t done a minor in it, but I’ve still taken buttloads of ASC courses. They’re great. ASC 302 is great too cause it’s basically a film class. Watch Chinese films, do some analysis, relate it to contemporary society/change/etc (which I already love to do) and did I mention we get to watch movies? Watch movies as homework? Done. It’s actually pretty relevant on a social perspective though. Very insightful.

As for my business classes (the other two out of the three) that I need to take in order to graduate with a business degree, I have done almost none of my readings… In fact, last week I finally took off the plastic wrapping for one of my textbooks in order to skim a case that was going to be discussed the next day. I won’t talk about how much I hate the bookstore or how much I hate textbook publishing companies, but I will say that these books are again, boring (business textbooks… pfft).

Most of the lectures (or seminars as they’re called… hey actually I just realized, all of my classes this semester are officially seminars… interesting) for my two business courses usually end up with me trying to pay attention, but naturally drifting off into daydreams, goofing off, or boredom and confusion. Sigh.

So why might I consider this semester my best? Despite not doing almost any of my readings, I’ve gotten all my work done on time, getting decent marks back on work submitted, and I don’t hate any of my profs! I genuinely respect all of them. I’m quite sure that’s a first for me at SFU.

I’ve woken up extra early on certain times to get work done among other things, as well as stayed back after classes to again, get things done. Before, my intention was always to sleep in as much as possible, get up and rush to school, sit in class, and then rush home as soon as prof dismisses to crawl back into bed (figuratively). In this being my last year as an undergraduate, I finally feel like a real university student… I’ve even bought food to eat while on campus out of necessity and scheduling, because before, I always used to bring my own food because it was so expensive. Now, prices have become reasonable thanks to new services, but a word of warning: Chartwells, your day of reckoning will draw near. I’m serious.

I’ve also been doing a lot of reminiscing. In some ways, I can’t believe this is my final year at SFU. I think a lot about who I used to be, what I used to do, what things were like when I was a first year student and what kinds of things first years experience now. I sometimes stare at buildings and think, “that used to be a parking lot,” or at renovated places on campus and think, “this actually looks nicer now… too bad I didn’t get to enjoy these facilities before they replaced the disgusting 40-year old carpet.” I sometimes wonder if all my previous years were wasted, if I could have done more… in everything. But that might just be wishful thinking. Or it could be true too. I think it’s a little of both.

I miss sitting in big lecture halls, specifically the big science ones you have to enter in the South AQ hall. Poking my head in there makes me feel nostalgic, because 3/4 days this semester, I’m in the same, tiny, seminar room with crappy, broken, squeaky seats in WMC 3250. The other day (which would have been today), I’m in RCB 6136, which is also another tiny room with several annoying concrete pillars that can block your view depending on where you sit. I also got lost trying to find that room during the first week of the semester. A silly place to put a classroom, right on the end of a hallway full of offices.

To wrap this obligatory post about school up, Simon Fraser University is a good university, but compared to almost every other university (maybe?), I think it is a bad university. I’m quite apathetic to what happens here, because of poor administration, poor student politics, poor management, and too many bad experiences in classes that should have been enjoyable. I’m proud in one way to say that I go to SFU, but in another way, I’m ashamed at how it’s not the most student-friendly place in the world. I blame poor money management. I can’t imagine how much is wasted due to poor choices by the idiots who are given the responsibility to steward funds.

I used to hate UBC so much, partly because I didn’t want to go there, partly because it’s so far away (but my parents made me apply there anyway and they denied my application so hurray, another reason to hate UBC), and partly due to the SFU/UBC rivalry (which come to think about now… does one even exist?). Now I see how foolish I was.

As weird as it sounds, I’ve already planned out my decision for when future students working part time call to ask me, as an alumni, donations for SFU. My answer? No. Stop calling me.


Please Note: This post was mainly about my feelings related to my educational/student experiences at SFU. I may post in the future about how my time at university has been the best, most valuable growing experiences I’ve ever had, aside from all the cool people I’ve met, and what God has done in my life.


Anonymous said...

Grass is always greener on the other side mate. We at UBC think SFU is a much better school.

Anonymous said...

it's funny; i just met a girl last week whose job it is to call alumni for donations for scholarships and bursaries.
and i too applied for UBC, but it's ridiculously far away. 3 hours/day of transit vs. 40 minutes/day? it was a no-brainer.

Tim said...

ricolapak - good sir, you are so wrong because i know for a fact that your old alma mater has a mcdonalds. UBC HAS A FREAKING MCDONALDS!!! I SAW RONALD MCDONALD AND HE WAVED AT ME!!! IT WAS NUTS!!!
(ok, i made that last part up)

jill - hmmm that changes things a little, bit... i didn't know donations go to stuff like scholarships/bursaries... that i would probably consider supporting. SFU in general? no.
ironically, i have some neighbours two houses away from me and they go to ubc, except that means their house is two houses closer to the bus stop that they would take in order to go to ubc (and i live closer to the bus stop that i would need to wait at to eventually get to sfu)

Bernice said...


btw.. Ricky, we do not think SFU is better! well not all of us... I don't. for one thing... my program isn't offered at SFU. so BOOOO!!! also, we don't get snowed in... and we get a reading break! (muahahah!) and we have mountains, ocean/beach, and city right next to us! and the campus isn't dead by 5p.

*achem* I'll stop...

Johnson said...

ahh.. i've had my share of terrible experiences with chartwell as well

here's just one: when i first moved into SFU residence in 2006, i didn't know how to cook so i bought their $1350 meal plan. near the end of the semester i had about $200 left. but little did i know that there is no carrying-over of that remaining amount to the next semester. so that's $200 unused credit into the chartwell pockets! if i had known i would've at least bought all their overpriced candy bars

i blame the chartwell management for not informing the students/their customers about that! makes me think that they want to rob money from students

of course, i don't go near chartwell anymore!

ps: i get a grin reading negative reviews about chartwell in the peak.. muahaha

Tim said...

bernice - part of me winced at your comments.... but then part of me cheered wildly

johnson - thats plain thievery. chartwells is a plain money-grubbing, money-loving evil business. i was just reading wikipedia, turns out chartwells has poisoned people too. idiots.