mathNEWS Issue 82.4: Friday, March 8, 2000

Tales from the Arts Side

I got a lot of feedback on last issue's journey through bitterness. It's nice to know that the whole faculty agrees with me. But there's one little bit of administrivia I need to take care of:

NOTE 1: The opinions of the writer, particularly as they pertain to CS 354, (Operating Systems) do not not necessarily reflect the opinion of the members of her OS Group.

NOTE 2: This column is for entertainment purposes only.

With all of that out of the way, let's get on with the column. This week, (or rather last week — excuse the time-travel) is a rather interesting one, since if I was only in Arts, I wouldn't be here.

It's called Reading Week(end).

What's the difference between an Artsie holiday and a Mathie holiday? They get 3 more days, we get 3 more letters.

We prize efficiency so much in CS, that we condense a week-long vacation into a mere 2 days.

Frankly, when I think Reading Weekend, I think "Yes! More time to get work done without all those pesky classes getting in the way." And then I think about what my collegiate experience has become and I sob. (Actually, I just get real pissed off and kick things, but sob sounds better.)

Of course, 2 days after the Arts students come back from a refreshing vacation is the vindication.

It's called Ranking Day. The day when Arts students run around begging "Please God. I hope I get a job this term," and the CS students start to strut and holler "SHOW ME THE MONEY!"

Okay, so if this is your first co-op term, or your a PMATH major looking for PMATH jobs, maybe you sympathise with the Artsies at the moment, but if you're in your last co-op term of CS (like me), you're cruising.

Actually, if you're me, you're really indecisive, so the whole multiple-offer thing is pretty distressing.

Better yet, if you're in your last term of CS (like my roommates), you get to COMPLAIN about the fact that companies want to fly you all over North America for interviews, because darn it, all those trips take time.

Mind you, a lot of tech companies are under the impression that if they are going to shower you with money, you are going to brainwash yourself with the company.

I recently had an interview with a large software company whose crack team of lawyers inspire me not to mention their name. The thing that impressed me (or really, depressed me) the most was the number of times I had to tell them that a particular API I used last term had NOTHING to do with their proprietary version of the technology.

And I was really annoyed with the fact that the interviewer was clearly looking for a particular answer to his questions, and would keep asking and re-asking until I sputtered out the answer.

Another company I interviewed with did the same thing by asking "If you are in a group, where do you like to see yourself in relation to the other members?" There's really only one answer to that: the leader. I mean, if you just have a general group, there really aren't any other defined positions. At least, not any that don't sound demeaning. (It reminds me of that commercial: "When I grow up, I want to underappreciated, and I want to work my way up to middle management.")

Leading questions suck, unless you're writing a sales letter, in which case you only want to use questions that lead the reader to the answer you want and nothing else. (A little bit of ENGL 210F for you.)

Of course, I was talking to an Arts student today, who told me about her friend who got a double honours major in Religious Studies and Philosophy, and now works as a Cosmetician at Shoppers Drug Mart. That's a career that'll pay off that $40,000 student loan in no time.

For me, it's a tough choice. So I went with both, which makes me an overworked English student, who has the money to party constantly, but not the time. And it makes me an overworked CS student... which I would be even if I wasn't doing the Arts degree... and even if I dropped out now, I have enough work experience to land a decent job...

Ummm... Why am I STILL here?

Sonal Champsee

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