My Illustrious Undergrad Career

Six years is a long time to spend at any institution, and it was a journey worth taking.

  1. elected president of business student club. It was a trial through fire. I loved meting other motivated students.

  2. sales job, which started around the same time as university. I was a contractor, and sold knives from setting up in-person product demonstrations. Overall I lost money, since my grades dropped and I lost a scholarship. Nevertheless I gained a valuable skill: networking.

  3. life drawing: I showed up regularly to sketch the models. After a semester I became the vice president of the club, which meant paying the models with club funds. My involvement dropped down to nothing these years, because other priorities. Still, it shows university is not 100% about career growth; there’s always room for get-together of like-minded people, to practice their craft.

  4. stopping bagpipes and dropping out of the band. I had a wonderful time with the band throughout my teens. I was drawn to the instrument since twelve years old, and had competed in Scotland when at 16 years of age. I never practiced bagpipes at home, since we lived in an apartment. I used to practice playing at SFU as early as 6am. Nevertheless as I approached my twenties, career and figuring out what to do with my life took precedence over making music. So I dropped out of the band and locked away the bagpipes. This opened large blocks of time, which fueled my programming as a hobby.

  5. Switching from business to computing science. This blindsided my mom. It felt the right thing to do, given how bored I was at business classes, and my growing interest in programming. early on, I was drawn to computing science because there were smart female comrades who were into programming. Even initial courses’ grades were poor, I stuck through it, because I was part of this cool female comradeship called WICS(Women in Computing Science). Even though I knew early on that what I wanted to do was not taught in class, I continued to take computing science classes. Now I near the end of the degree, and am happy with the change.

  6. taking 4 16 months of co-op: link to top 5 highlights. These were fun, and are the source for most of my learning. The variety of workplace added to the spice of life; the first co-op was at the large telecom, where a teammate worked for 33+ years. The second at a private Vancouver company which is more turbulent economically. I started my toastmasters journey in the former, and started learning foosball skills in the latter. My last pre-grad programming gig was at Salesforce, where I spoke at Toastmasters and played foosball. You can say I ended up with a bit from both of the worlds.

The takeaway? expand your network, expand your experience, to expand your world.