The Christmas Holidays & Other Blurbs

Last year and the year before I spent my Decembers studying for final exams. This year, I’m on co-op, meaning I actually have time to be in the Christmas spirit. I joined carolling at work – we’re actually planning to go around and carol to our customers in downtown Toronto in a few weeks. We’re doing 3 and 4 part harmony, which is pretty awesome, especially because we aren’t entirely serious about it. We’re doing it entirely for fun. I haven’t officially been in choir for a couple of years, so it feels great to be singing in a group again.

And I’ve even decided to take part of 3 secret santa events – 1 with my university friends, 1 with my high school friends, and 1 with my coworkers. Now, technology has come a long way… there are now websites that help distribute the names (like Elfster and Drawnames), and allow participants to create wishlists so that people can actually get what they want for Christmas. I remember back in high school when we used invitations printed on paper with fancy font, and we’d distribute the names manually (and run into possible issues like picking your own name).

Ah, those were the good days.

In other news, I finally visited The Microsoft Store at Yorkdale! Now, I’ve been to the Microsoft Store in Redmond – they all look the same.. but the awesome thing was that I got to demo some WP8 phones. As some may know, I already have a WP7. They only have the 920 and 8X available right now in Canada. The 920 is a bit large for my liking, but the 8X is a very beautiful phone. The interface on both are even faster and smoother than my WP7 (probably due to faster processor). A huge speed improvement was on app startup. The official Facebook app takes at least 5-10 seconds to start up on my WP7, and it took 2-4 seconds on the WP8 devices. Both devices have beautiful cameras – even the front facing camera. I almost want to buy an 8X right now because of the default settings on the front facing camera. I played around with some new features like Kids’ zone and Rooms, pretty cool features but I probably wouldn’t use them often. All in all, really impressed.

This past week, I also completed a Korean drama called Reply 1997. It’s a unique romantic comedy that is structured similar to How I Met Your Mother. A group of friends have a high school reunion and reminisce about the past. The story focuses on an H.O.T fangirl who has a very upbeat personality. A Pink’s Eunji is such an amazing actress. I’m impressed because she doesn’t have too much experience, either. The unique thing about this drama is that the OST is hand picked depending on what year we are in during the drama. Tons of 90’s music is played, and there are lots of 90s gadgets that they put in. Just goes to show how much technology has advanced since then.

So my co-op term ends in 2 weeks. I’m kind of sad to go because there are a bunch of things happening in the new year at work. Freshbooks is definitely a place I want to work full-time if I plan to stay in Toronto. Also sad to leave Toronto – had a great time in this wonderful city. It’s too bad I didn’t really go to Markham or Scarborough that often (kind of inconvenient to commute during the cold weather), but there’s always a ton of things to do downtown.

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4 thoughts on “The Christmas Holidays & Other Blurbs

  1. hi elisa. I’ve applied to Waterloo and I was wondering how hard are the math courses, such as linear algebra, differential calculus, etc. when compared to high school math ? I have low to mid 80’s in math right now, so will i be able to handle the uni math? thanks

    • they ramp you up at a pretty steady pace in your first school term. the math courses are not difficult and are fairly manageable. your first calculus course will be half review, half new material. linear algebra is pretty brand new for most students, though, but it is quite straightforward as a whole.

      • ok thanks. also is your program 5yrs? and how hard was it to find a co-op placement? i hear that its quite hard to find one and that if you don’t find co-op you have to do written assignments. lastly, do the professors use the curve marking technique?i read somewhere that it really affects your marks. sorry for asking so many questions.

        • if you plan to do co-op, it will be 5 years minimum.

          co-op placements are seemingly difficult to land in first year simply because many students do not have relevant technical experience. after youve completed your first co-op term though, it’s significantly easier.

          there are professional development courses that all co-op students must take during their work term, whether or not you find a placement. there are no written assignments, as these courses are held online. for CS and SE, you are given 6 co-op terms, and you must complete 5 of them to graduate.

          many profs curve marks if they do not meet a certain standard, but it really depends on the course and prof. it is pretty typical for a class average to be at least mid 60s, or the prof will get in trouble for failing too many students.

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