Archive for October, 2012

postheadericon Shy then Engineers or Engineers then Shy?

It’s become an accepted stereotype and is typecasted in television and movies and is even evident on our own campus. Engineers are shy. Engineers are introverted. Engineers don’t have many opportunities with the opposite sex. But which came first: the shyness or the career?

There isn’t nearly as much excitement on the first day of a new semester as there was my freshman year here at Tech. I no longer get to class early just to see who would come in and sit next to me whether they were great friends or friendly strangers. Since my courses consist of all computer engineering classes I know what to expect: around 40 guys and maybe 2 girls. Even stranger, no one will ever talk. Nobody attempts to make new friends or even answer questions from the professors! Sure there are exceptions, but for the most part, engineering classrooms are extremely quiet and incredibly awkward! Did the workload and stress from our pursuit of an engineering degree drive us to be this introverted and closed-off? Or has everyone in these classes been shy since they can remember? Is grouping scores of introverts driving each other further into their shells?

Personally, I’ve been trying to have a better social life but it’s been hampered by a junior level CPE workload. So the majority of social opportunities comes directly before, during, and directly after classes. However, it seems as though most are just fine where they’re at; they don’t mind if they go from dorm to class to dorm to West End to dorm to sleep to class to dorm to West End to dorm to sleep and so on. But why is that? Why isn’t there a visible social progression as classes go on?

So feel free to give your opinion on the origin of this stereotype in the comments below.

postheadericon Technical Textbooks or Lack-There-Of

Once again I’m amazed by Zed Shaw’s exercises for learning Python; you can find them for free here:
http://learnpythonthehardway.org/book/

It’s a surprisingly very intuitive way to learn the Python language. From start to [I’m at the half way point right now 26/50], it’s been a great progressive increase in difficulty and even coolness! However, this makes me wonder why can’t more books or courses take a page from this guy’s book? So many, in fact too many, college textbooks are not effective at all as teaching tools. That’s why I enjoy taking programming classes, especially ECE 2524, that doesn’t require buying a $150+ book which may or may not be effective and efficient. Intro To Unix definitely has its syllabus nailed because I actually enjoy doing exercises from the class’s “book”. Every other class, however, is a whole other challenge!

My advice: rent books for just the semester from places like Amazon.com and never ever buy from the on-campus bookstore without checking prices online! Also, unless you just enjoy the convenience at the end of the year, don’t sell the books back to the bookstore; once again, check online to see what retailers are offering for your edition.

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