My (Second Half of) Third Year of University

Before starting at my next co-op term I had about three weeks of Christmas vacation. This was my first extended vacation in about a year, and I basically stayed home and relaxed… and shoveled snow. The place I live usually doesn’t get a lot of snow, but last winter we got the biggest dump of snow I’ve ever seen since my family came to this region. In total about 80cm of snow fell over the Christmas season and there were about 40cm of snow on the ground for two weeks. People living in certain regions might scoff at 40cm, but to us it was a huge dump of snow. I think my family and the neighbors shoveled the drive way and sidewalk at least half a dozen times during the snow season, whereas in previous years we only had to shovel maybe once or twice. I’m not really a winter sports person, but I think the time I spent shoveling snow last weekend should definitely qualify as winter exercise.

There was still snow on the ground when I started working for my current co-op employer. Even though the company is really large, the office I work at is small with only about 40 people, and there were four co-ops including myself. The location isn’t as nice as the utilities company I worked for in my third co-op term, but it is pretty easy to get to by public transit. Once again I sat in a shared cubicle with another co-op, but this time we are positioned near the windows so we had a nice view. As for the work, I was assigned to writing test scripts for the last four months, while the other co-ops worked on different assignments. The work is fairly interesting and challenging since it is development and not just repeated QA tests, but of course writing code isn’t the most exciting job in the world. Supposedly in my remaining four months I will have more hands-on experience with testing hardware, and hopefully I won’t cause too much damage with the soldering iron.

Moving on from the work, the atmosphere at my current employer is pretty casual and friendly which is typical for a small R&D office. However, compared to my previous employers, my current employer doesn’t hold nearly as much company events. In all my previous employers we had something at least every other week, but at my current employer the only “fun” thing I remember doing was the company curling event. I guess the lack of events is probably due to the tough economy these days and all the company are cutting back non-essential spending. On the plus side, all employees including co-ops have access to the fitness room in the building, so nowadays I work out about four days per week during lunch hours. You might think that I’m not working hard enough spending so much time working out, but I always make sure I get my work done first though. There is also a group of people who always go out for lunch, and I tag along with them on Fridays, but of course I have to pay my own share in these instances haha.

That’s about all I have to say about my previous year as a university student. I still have less than four months left at my current employer and then it’s back to school for two terms for my fourth and final year as an undergrad. I’ll probably be busy in the next year as I’ll be working towards my graduation and also applying for grad schools. I sort of a list of schools narrowed down, but I’m not sure what specific area I want to do research in. I also need to get references from professors when I go back to school, and that could turn out to a chore since I’m not the most socially active person around. I’m still optimistic that if I work hard then I’ll be able to get into a decent grad school. Wish me luck and thanks for reading this long-winded article.

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