Thursday, January 06, 2005

winter break

ex 3

This winter break was one of my more mixed and interesting ones. I finished 407 , and had a 5 days break before the ECE exam. The first three were spent sleeping. the next two were another frantic attempt at finishing what i should have done ages ago. anyhow, two days some hardcore studying was done, and into the exam i walked feeling as confident as a fish on land. the first 20 questions on the ece exam were one word answer types. I looked at the questions and no word came to my mind for almost any of the questions. i was soon pulling words and answers out of a hat, and had already begun to despair. and this was supposedly the easy part of the exam

the next two questions dealt with avr programming and from the experience with the midterm fpor the course was a whole different story altogether. i looked at the first question and it made little sense to me. trying not to panic, i moved onto the next question hoping to get a start. I read something called "terrons" and measuring "terrorist levels". I was absolutely positive that i had gone cuckoo. at that moment somebody asked a question regarding the previous question and prof Mann proceeded to "explain" what the question really meant. his explanation at first was totally sanskrit to me. i stared at him, looked at a few other faces in the class and simply laughed at myself. i had not a clue what either question was asking.

in times such as these, when all is lost and you are resigned to the fact that you are a dead man - or in this case about to receive an ostrich egg on your exam - a certain sense of calm comes about you and your thinking capacity becomes a lot more clearer. thats exactly what happened to me. all of a sudden prof mann's explanation made sense. the question actually started taking meaning . soon i was drawing a diagram on my paper. when i had a finished i actually took 2 minutes off to marvel at my creation. next thing i know , i was writing code and actually thinking of a way to answer the question, and withing about 45 minutes i think i had what could be called a solution to the question.

with this renewed confidence i moved on to the next question, and i found that , that too , beneath all the layers of terrons and terrosity level was actually a simple concept that just needed to be wired up and coded. and thus, i had managed to salvage another seemingly hopeless situation. to be honest i had more than enough time, and i made use of most of it, lookiing around, trying to gauge the panic and reactions of my fellow classmates and ashamed to say it delighting in everyones misery and feeling it almost like my own. i drew neat diagrams, erased unwanted lines used a ruler. i hadnt done a better job in my art classes back in middle school. anyhow, i was satisfied with my effort only about 10 minutes before the end. i handed in my papers ad walked out, to have a conversation with prof mann who was waiting outside having bailed on us half an hour earlier.

having survived both the project and the midterm i found that all feelings of malice and irritation i felt towards the course and prof mann and all the ta's in the course had completely vanished and i was filled with a new found admiration for the man and all that he had achieved. and i actualy realized what an in teresting course this had been. (nothing like feeling you have done well, to change your intire perspective on things).

anyhow, alls well that ends well. mamun and i walked out in the freezing temperatures and tried to find things to do. we settled on a game of ping poing at the international center. needles to say i was totally and comprehensively beaten by a very talented player. at one stage i actually had some smashes going and i was congratulating myself, but once we actually played a game i was smoked beyond belief. another of his frnds showed up and watching the two geniuses at play i slowly eased myself out and made an exit. whew!

to celebrate my new freedom from an exhausting term i made a qyuick trip t o erindale to meet all my other frnds who were still struggling with thier exams. call me sadistic, but i really had nothing better to do, so there i was gloating about having finished my exams. but then i took pity and made an exit from there as well and went home to my warm bed and spicy curry chicken. curry chicken.

that was the end of my exams and the beginning of what i thought would be a productive break. in fact the very next day i was back at school, attempting to mark what was left of the 108 asissngments. i made little progress, since i also had to create test cases. it didnt help that some of the sample code i was given seemed to have bugs in it and i had to debug that as well. when things dont seem to go your way you tend to slack off and thats exactly what i did. i slacked off then and i never really recovered from it. i was soon watching television at odd hours...

1 am


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