Olympic Break and School Term Impressions

I turned this website into a blog a month and a half ago in order to encourage myself to write more, but that hasn’t worked out so well. Anyways, for next two weeks, I’ll be spending nearly all my time at home. This is because of the Winter Olympics, which prompted my university to extend our usual one week break to two weeks. The break is by no means vacation though, since I have three projects and a couple of assignments to work on. Still, not having to commute to school and go to class should free up some time for me to watch the Winter Olympics… on TV. Having lived in Canada for so long, of course I’m rooting for the Canadian team, and also the Chinese team as well since I’m Chinese. I certainly hope Canada’s “Own the Podium” program will produce great results, but if that doesn’t work out, many of us Canadians will probably be happy if Canada wins the men’s hockey gold. GO CANADA!

For the rest of this post, I’m going to give my impressions on my school term so far. Break time is probably the best time to write these kinds of posts. I can’t believe it’s already been six weeks since the start of my final undergraduate school term. Just three more months until I graduate. For this term, I’m taking six courses, and here is what I think of each of them thus far.

Product Development Management
I’ll be honest: I took this course for the sole reason of getting a day off in my schedule. The course teaches about the engineering product development process and what’s involved. The marks mainly come from a big group project which my group has just started. Haven’t really done much on the project so far, but that’ll change over this break. Since there are no assignments or tests, the class is kind of relaxed, but I don’t know how long that’s going to last.

Power System Analysis 2
This is a continuation from the power systems analysis course I took last term. It’s also taught by the same professor as before, and he is a pretty decent instructor. For this term, we are learning more about transmission lines, symmetrical components, and power flow analysis. The material thus far hasn’t been too hard, and the first midterm was pretty easy. Hopefully this trend will continue throughout the course :D .

Power Systems Topics
Another power systems course, but this course doesn’t really focus on any particular topic. Instead, we have lectures on various power system-related topics, from renewable energy to wall plug in residential houses. There are also guest lectures on power-related topics. The main component is research project, which takes some time to prepare but in this case, I think it’s better than having a final. I am always partial to courses where I don’t have to pay too much attention to the material… yeah, I’m terrible.

Power Systems Protection
My final power systems course for the term, this course is about power protection equipment and strategies. Power systems protection is an important field in power engineering, and I think this course provides some useful practical knowledge. Unfortunately, this course is taught in a single three hour session in late afternoon one day every week. The schedule makes it hard to pay attention, especially during the second half of each lecture. After about two hours of lecture on the same subject, my mind just starts to wander. I probably should pay more attention though since there is a midterm and final for this course.

Engineering Economics

A required course for all students in my department, engineering econ is mostly about number crunching and deciphering questions. From what I’ve seen so far, the math isn’t hard (formula sheet and calculator functions allowed), but understanding the questions and properly using the formulas are trickier. The midterm was a little long, but not hard. I think I’ll be okay if I don’t slack off too much.

4th Year Engineering Project
Continued from last term, I’m still working with a professor on some power systems simulations program. Haven’t gotten much results yet, but I’m working on it.

So that’s all I have to say about my school term. I’m hoping things will go well for the remainder of the term. I still haven’t heard from any of the grad schools I’ve applied to, but hopefully things will go well on that end too.

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