My blog title becomes very relevant

You may have heard that UWaterloo has a large goose population. Some people describe it as a goose problem. Through my experience from September to March, I didn’t consider the geese to be a big problem. I often reassured prospective students that the geese here really aren’t bad. But I think my opinion may be changing.

The university has a great site, http://goose-watch.uwaterloo.ca/ , that provides tips on goose etiquette and where their nests are located. During mating season, which is right now despite all of the snow we’ve been getting (in April?!), the geese get extra territorial and quite intimidating.Snapchat-6730268015291551702

Now, don’t worry, nothing as extreme as a goose attack has occurred (as far as I know). We have just started to adjust our routes according to goose presence occasionally, and to steer clear of their nests.

In other news, I’ve secured a co-op placement for the summer and final exams start tomorrow! I cannot believe how fast first year has gone by. I’ll be back soon with more updates. Feel free to comment or message if you have any questions about Waterloo, Engineering, Nano, etc. 🙂

 

FYIC 2016

Two weeks ago, I had an amazing weekend attending the First Year Integration Conference at Ryerson University in Toronto. The conference, put on by the Engineering Student Societies’ Council of Ontario (ESSCO) and the Ryerson Engineering Student Society, hosts first year delegates from Ontario engineering programs.

The theme for the weekend was Roads to Success, and the conference’s main focus is to encourage the involvement of first year engineering students in their Engineering Student Societies. This was accomplished through presentations by various student leaders on a wide range of topics (eg: an introduction to engineering societies, crisis management, tips for campaign speeches, and professionalism). We also heard from keynote speaker Drew Dudley, and representatives from OSPE and PEO. The talks allowed us to gain perspective from many VP Externals for different Engineering Societies, to learn more about engineering in Ontario, and how to get involved in societies at our schools.

I really enjoyed learning more about ESSCO and how I could get involved with their organization, and/or Waterloo’s Engineering Society in the future. The other thing I loved about the weekend was meeting so many great people! Engineering conferences are ideal for meeting like-minded people who are really fun and just as interested in engineering and leadership as you are. I’ve heard that I will likely continue seeing these new friends at conferences in the future, and I’m really looking forward to it.

So, as I’ve said before: conferences are great opportunities. FYIC had a big impact on my goals for involvement and leadership during my undergrad, and I got to hang out in Toronto with a lot of cool people from my school, and from around the province. A huge thanks to everyone who helped organize FYIC 2016! 🙂

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Volunteering at IIE

Waterloo IIE 2016 took place January 21-24 right here in Kitchener-Waterloo. The

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IIE infographic from waterlooiie2016.ca

conference was excellently organized by UW’s International Industrial Engineering chapter, composed mainly of Management Engineering students. The weekend included speakers, competitions, and great food. I signed up to volunteer at IIE and it was a blast!

I love volunteering around campus in general. Usually I help with outreach events through Women in Engineering or the Engineering Ambassadors (eg: Open House, Shadow Days, Go Eng Girl). My experience volunteering at a conference was different from others, and very enjoyable. My volunteering responsibilities included assembling swag bags, facilitating coat check, tallying competition scores, and the general role of ‘floater’. I had the chance to meet a lot of students from other engineering disciplines and years at Waterloo, as well as other industrial engineering students from around the country. I put my French-speaking skills to good use, and learned a lot more than I knew before about industrial engineering.

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Nanos take on coat check

Great amounts of effort went in to making the conference successful. I was really impressed by the organizers, and glad to be a part of the great team of volunteers. I’m heading to FYIC (First Year Integration Conference) this weekend. It was interesting to see the behind the scenes of conference organization before attending my first engineering conference. I’m learning that conferences are very cool, and I’m really looking forward to FYIC! If you hear of a conference that interests you, apply to be a delegate or to volunteer! You will likely find yourself surrounded by cool people like you.

 

Justin Trudeau and Jobmine

Hello! It’s been a busy week!

Last Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Waterloo and visited campus to announce government funding for the Southern Ontario Water Consortium which includes research being done at Waterloo! I am a big fan of the PM, so I deemed the occasion one of the few reasons to ever skip class, and went to see him. I was very happy to shake his hand and hear him speak, and then returned to class with many of my classmates who had also gone to see him. My blurry cell phone pictures are below, but also here’s a real article about the visit.

Most of the past week and weekend were spent preparing my resume and applying to jobs on Jobmine, UWaterloo’s internal job board for co-op positions. The application process was hectic, I wrote many cover letters in very little time. Luckily I had lots of feedback on my resume before applying, through Engineering Society Resume Critiques, upper-year nano students, my parents, and CECA. Overall it’s a pretty exciting time! I’m looking forward to co-op, I’ll just be a lot less stressed once I get a job.

Another round of Jobmine postings open this weekend, and I’m also volunteering at Waterloo IIE, an industrial engineering conference. Mix in some coursework and it should be a fun and busy weekend! So that’s me signing off from a very snowy Waterloo! Happy Thursday!

1B!

I’ve made it to my second term of university! 1A was a great start, and I’m optimistic that this term will be even better. I feel like I’ve finally built up the study habits I need to be a better student while balancing a social life and some clubs.

The first day back to class was definitely different from our first day of 1A in September. We’re more comfortable with our classmates now, and also less intimidated by new professors and the whole idea of university in general.

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Finishing 1A like
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Reuniting with nano squad for 1B!

Along with our heavy course load, we also have to find a job for our first co-op term that will take place this Spring. I’m really excited about co-op! And nervous! It kind of snuck up on me that we will be applying in two weeks, but luckily there aren’t many assignments to do yet, so I can perfect my resume and get ready to apply.

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Wishing everyone a great start to the new year, see you soon!

Reflecting on exam season

Good news! I have successfully completed my first term at the University of Waterloo!

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It seems like the semester itself was so long ago since the last two weeks of it were spent studying for and writing exams. Fortunately, those two weeks gave me the opportunity to actually gain study skills and do decently well on exams!

You’d think that having no classes for two weeks would mean you have some more free time, but it ended up being just as busy as during classes. I spent most days studying by myself for a few hours at home, then with friends on campus for the rest of the day. I felt really lucky that my class gets along so well and we were always around to help each other in the QNC.

I’m not saying exams are easy. Most of them were really challenging, and I’ve accepted that my grades are not as great as they were in high school, but I’m still doing okay. It’s amazing what you can shove into your head in the few days before an exam, but I really would recommend to start studying as early as you can. Also, make sure to take breaks for snacks or naps!

It was great to go home for the holidays, but I’m excited to tell you about the start of 1B in my next post!

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Your brain on Linear Algebra, courtesy of Alan.
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Gingerbread decorating makes for a nice study break!
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Profs that bring pizza to review sessions are great

 

Updates!

Hello hello! It’s been a busy few weeks and it’s sure to get even crazier as classes finish and final exams begin (IN TWO WEEKS?!?!) Through all the insanity, life at Waterloo has been pretty sweet!

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Open house was a blast! It was really cool to talk to high school students, parents, and other UWaterloo students and staff throughout the day and to give tours for my program. I’ve also had a few shadows this month (high school students who follow me around for the day), a very fun time as well!

Something I’ve realized even more in the last few weeks is just how awesome my professors are. They are so willing to help whenever they can, in person or on class discussion boards. My professors just want to teach us and help us out, and it is greatly appreciated.

Of course, I can’t forget to mention the support of my class! Waterloo Engineering has a cohort system, meaning you take almost all of your classes with the same group of people for the entirety of your degree. We’re about 120 students in the nano program, and we have a great dynamic of helping each other understand and practice the material. Not to mention our knack for hilarious jokes and memes throughout the semester. I’m hopeful that the next 5 years with my class will be just as enjoyable as this semester!

TL;DR: Waterloo has a bunch of cool people that are nice.

ALSO we got some snow this weekend! 🙂 Bye for now

 

Midterms

Hello! My short disappearance from blogging may give you an idea of an engineering course load at UWaterloo. This week was my first set of university midterm exams. It was…interesting!

Our set-up was pretty convenient as we had no class this week with exams on Monday, Thursday, and Friday. Next week, we have our regular class schedule with two more exams. Not all programs have this exam schedule, some are more spread out over a few weeks or all fit into one week.

The exams themselves weren’t much different from high school: about two hours in length, some multiple choice, some short answer, etc. The biggest difference I noticed was the large amount of material covered in just the first 5 weeks of classes, and the race against the clock while writing the exam. Despite it all, they went okay. I’ll have a better idea of how well they went when I get results back next week.

The amount of information I have shoved into my head over the past week is crazy. I’ve been having dreams (or are they nightmares..?) of acids and bases and matrix multiplication. The weekend will definitely be a nice break from exam writing, but it will also be busy. I’m volunteering at a museum and playing a trivia tournament.

I’ll be back sooner rather than later!

My overused phrase of the week
My overused phrase of the week

Getting Involved in University

Hello all! The first three weeks of classes have been great. Some courses are challenging, but they’re all interesting! I have been very busy, not just due to classes but because there’s just so much to do on campus. During the second week of classes, the Student Life Centre (SLC) hosted Campus Life Fair and Clubs Fair. These were great occasions to learn about everything going on around campus

Clubs Fair reminded me of Pitch Perfect
Clubs Fair reminded me of Pitch Perfect. There are several a cappella groups at UW!

Most teams and clubs will hold open practices or meetings during the first few weeks of term, so you can try everything that interests you without deciding to commit right away. As we’ve been told in any academic situation, it’s important to get involved outside of class. At university, I’ve found that joining teams is a great way to meet first years and upper years. Also, doing something that you like is rewarding and a nice break from assignments.

So far this term I’ve joined Quizbowl, Concert Band, and the Engineering Ambassadors. I’m really enjoying it so far! These groups occupy about 5 hours of my week, which I find manageable.

A list of the clubs available at Waterloo can be found here. Don’t see one you like? You can always form your own with the help of Feds, our student union. Tell me in the comments or a message what you’re involved in at high school or uni, or what you hope to join in the future! 🙂

Orientation Week!

Picture this: a week of long, sunny, carefree days. Learning at least 20 names a day that will take you another few days to retain. Cheering all the time. Eating free food. Always having something fun to do.

8066131Orientation week at Waterloo was a blast. Almost each day of last week, there was faculty programming during the day, followed by fun events for all first years at night. Engineering students were split into

Purpled! #EngPride
Purpled! #EngPride

colour groups (DARK GREEN BEST TEAM!) to compete in several events. My favourite part of the week was the activities to earn my yellow hardhat, a tradition for first-year engineers.

Events for all new students included Choose Your Own Adventure Night (one of the best nights to get free food all over campus, as my roommate and I did), World of Waterloo (a super fun self-guided tour of Uptown), Monte Carlo night, and Black and Gold Day.

The week was crazy busy, but definitely encouraged spirit for the school and my faculty, as well as meeting some really cool first years and upper years. I had more time to hang out with my roommates and find my way around campus, but very little time to call my parents. The start of class felt a bit too soon after such a jam-packed week, but hey, that’s university. Good luck this week!

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Black and Gold Day