Goodbye Undergraduate Studies
Posted 11 Apr 2002 at 16:39 UTC by shlomif
I have joined the Technion from the sole intent of becoming an able
Engineer, where I was only proficient in programming before. I believe I
able to be good at doing research or development in EE-related fields,
natural help from my colleagues. There are lecturers who can testify for
However, I discovered that the Technion's administration cares only
two statistics: the total number of points that were earned and your
grade. If you have earned enough points you get your diploma. If your
low enough, you may have to leave. Does it sounds like an assembly line
Electrical Engineers? It sure feels like that.
My problem is not that the Technion is too good for me. The opposite is
fact. I wish to be tested not as a student, but as a teacher, which is
ultimate form of student. And I wish to be tested by five or six Doctors
Professors of the faculty and of my choice, and be able to convey to
a message that I am a fully capable engineer in their field. As good as
graduate or perhaps better.
What does the Technion's diploma indicate? Does it indicate that I have
passed so and so points with an average of so and so? Or does it
indicate that I am
a professional hard working developer and thinker who is capable of
any task that can be given to me; who understands every layer of what
computer does in the complex operation of running a function in a P-Code
language (from semiconductors to the interpreter); and who prestigious
work-places can employ knowing the Technion made certain he is such.
If you believe the average/total points tuple better than you value the
approximation and opinion of some of its qualified, fully competent
than you overestimate the power of statistics.
I like to work hard, but I'm also a human being. I cannot afford to work
only to get a grade that is slightly above the passing grade. I am tired
hard tests that are compensated only by a factor that makes the
distribution of the grades look perfectly nice. I can longer think that
all my anxieties are caused by something that is wrong in me, when it
was obvious that when I used to work for info-tech firms, I had much
fewer. I am tired of people telling me that the Technion is actually a
good place to study in, and which I'll remember fondly a few years.
But why don't I think so highly of it now.
So I decided to fight in order to get the lecturers to qualify me in
don't think it is standard procedure but it feels so. I actually liked
studying some courses in the Technion. But I find studying more
I feel that I have studied what I came to study, and what I did not yet,
in the future. I always study new things, even when I'm working.
Workplaces seem to care about the Technion diploma too much. I kept
thinking that I should not throw 8 semesters of my life down the drain
I had to study a 9th and a 10th. But I'm tired of hard work when I have
play into the Technion's statistics-based game. I wish to get an
degree. So, why does the Technion cares only that I prove how much abuse
The Technion makes claim for 24 hours and 7 days out of your time.
I have ideas for fictitious stories to write, but don't have time
supposed to be studying. I have ideas for philosophical yet perfectly
practical essays. Again, the Technion does not allow me to have the time
them. There are software or otherwise technical projects that I'd like
work on some time, but my parents tell me that I should focus on
instead. Hell, I desire a girlfriend, but it is obvious that I cannot
enough attention, being a Technion student.
I actually wish to be a good student. But I know my engineering skills,
much less my personal self-growth, is much more important than getting
extra points in the test. Which indicates absolutely nothing about your
Even if we live in a digital age, and we are amazed by the power
digital communication has given us, we must still remember that it all
down to people. A written test, no matter how objective and fair, cannot
approximate a student's skill better than the objective opinion of a
professional. Some people who are not very intelligent can get by the
by working hard and earning their grade. They deserve to get a B.Sc in
But should I take the blame for being above average? For having spent
time working on DOS, or Basic, or C, or Linux? For genuinely wishing to
knowledge? Did I not work equally as hard while still enjoying myself?
the Technion process me like another one of those intelligent but not
brilliant students, who are just seeking a certification? I came to
enough Electrical Engineering to be a capable engineer. Even if I "drop
of the Technion, I would be snatched away for being a capable and
I'd like to live one day as a tiger than a 1000 years as a sheep. I'll
them how much they approximate my skills. I only want a graduate degree.
of the Technion lecturers are good. But they are too afraid of each
get things moving. But I'd rather know I quit from a badly designed
than try to take more abuse it had to offer me.
Goodbye, Undergraduate Studies! Hello, World!
You took up a lot of space but seemed to veer wildly away from a point.
It seems that you've quit college because you think you're too good for
it. Are you telling prospective employers that you are "professional
hard working developer and thinker who is capable of handling any task
that can be given" to you, but lack the self discipline and motivation
to actually follow through?
You are "tired of hard tests that are compensated only by a factor that
makes the distribution of the grades look perfectly nice." What will
you do when facing a genuinely difficult problem in the real world?
Give up and look for something easier?
A diploma is many things, not least a sign that you are capable of
finishing what you start. You may think employers care too much about
the diploma, but what they really care about is completion. Projects
which don't get completed don't succeed in the real world.
One final hint: in the US at least, electrical engineering is often
licensed profession. You cannot call yourself an engineer in some
states without a PE license. (You can't even call yourself a "software
engineer" in some states.) In that light, you clearly have not
"[studied] enough Electrical Engineering to be a capable engineer". You
haven't even studied enough to be an engineer in training in most
states. Take a look at NSPE for instance.
According to them, were you here you would need another 8-12 years of
professional experience, because you chose to quit college.
You may have made the right choice for you. Only time will tell. But
be aware that the portrait you are painting for others is that of a
self-righteous dilettante, not a professional.
thats college, posted 12 Apr 2002 at 03:31 UTC by ishamael »
I speak here from a strictly American background, so I apologize for any
generalizations I make that do not apply to your situation.
Perhaps you had reason to expect something more from higher education,
but I'm not sure why. School is an assembly line, theres no doubt about
it. And administrators do care mostly or only about numbers, its a
You say you wish to be tested as a teacher, what do you mean? Tested by
half a dozen professors of your choosing? Damn, I wish I could get a
degree like that. I'm sure I could buddy up to a few of them and
bullshit the rest. Hell, why don't colleges do that? They'd be able to
get us in and out much quicker.
A diploma, to me, indicates that youre responsible and inteligent enough
to have survived a couple of years of being force-fed and regurgitating
bullshit. A diploma does not speak for specific skills, how could it?
Thats what a personal interaction, and to a lesser degree, a resume are
for. A diploma is just a peice of paper with a school's name on it,
giving you their endorcement as "yeah, this ones good."
The school does not make you. Make yourself ;) Schools and their
administrators could really care less about you, I've found. You're
paying to be there. You're paying to get their name on a peice of
If you want an engineering degree, go earn it. Stop whining. School is
hard, its not like you can go to the local supermarket and pick up a
As for your points about tests. Sure, tests aren't fair. But neither
are professors. If you expect all professors to be perfectly objective
in their opinions of the students, you're rather deluded.
Professors are people too. They're biased, bigoted, misinformed, and
make mistakes. Tests are not.
Some people who are not very intelligent can get by in college by
working hard and earning their grade. These people earn the EE
degree. You're giving up: this is too hard, I'm going home.
Please, you don't deserve a degree. You deserve a swift kick in the
Bleh. I'm sorry. But grow up, please. College is hard.
As a student currently going through college in the U.S, my opinions
may be slightly biased. Ok, they're probably completely tainted.
First, a blatant ad hominem that you might want to think about a
little: why are the tests hard if you are as smart as you think you are?
You're worried about hard tests? College is all about being stretched
and challenged and made to learn. Hard tests do make
you think and solve problems under a fixed time constraint. They check
that you've learned the material you have studied in class, and can
apply it or regurgitate it, depending on the type of the test and the
type of class. I would
question that you've learned the lessons that college is supposed to
teach you if you think that tests are supposed to be easy. Yes,
practical real-world stuff rarely has a direct connection to a test. You
typically have more time to solve problems in the real world, are not
limited to the constraints of your memory, can ask coworkers questions,
and have dozens of other advantages. However, consider for a moment the
scope of a test. A test is going to be on subject matter at the very
least tangentially related to what you've been talking about in class.
So you know what to expect. Secondly, you've been in class the entire
semester, so you know what the professor expects in terms of a solution.
Third, the test is going to be designed so that you can solve, or at
least come up with a good approach to solving it. That 30 extra points
on the test doesn't say anything about your real-world skills, but it
sure as hell says something about your real-world ability to adapt to
tasks. If you can't get a good grade on the test, what's going to happen
when you get given a problem 10 times as hard and are told to solve it?
I'm getting too frustrated to be constructive, so I'll just
quit while I might be ahead. I apologize if this makes you feel bad, but
I think that you really need to think about college more carefully. It's
not supposed to be easy, and it never has been.
Poor shlomif, posted 12 Apr 2002 at 06:06 UTC by tk »
Just to change the atmosphere a bit:
Poor shlomif. I think I can sort of understand what
through. I'd prefer college any time though: my impression is that the
is a much, much harsher environment than one can imagine.
College life should be both fun and hard work. Fun in the sense you get
to join so many organizations, like clubs and varsity teams. Hard work
in the sense you'll be taking home a minimum of 7 600-page books to
read in one week. Performing experiments in the lab by yourself, making
sure your concepts is all straightened out. That was my life when I
went through it. And if I was given a choice, I would go back and take
it again, simply because it was fun and hard.
OK, so you think EE sucks, that's fine, you can step out and take a
breather. But don't go away, you must go back and continue the game.
Sometimes, the road gets rough and walls tend to become so high you
can't jump it in one take. Perhaps you might want to transfer to
Computer Science and immerse yourself with CS concepts. Try something
new; take Accounting or Chemical Engineering, whatever that interests
you. The main point is, like most of the people around me were saying:
don't quit. Just do it!
Maybe you want to test yourself, challenge yourself by taking your
midterm exam in only 50% of the allotted time and still pass it. If you
can do it, you'll fly through it and graduate without even knowing it.
But don't do it all the time, it's not fun challenging yourself always.
The secret of getting through it is by spending a lot of time in labs
and libraries. Spend at least 3 hours a day in the library; reading
about the lecture and related stuff and you'll be in good shape. Before
you know it, 4 or 6 hours has already passed.
Students today are very fortunate they have access to the Internet
where they can Google all they want, even retrieve necessary
information within seconds. Gathering information today has become
like ``magic,'' so to speak. In my time, there was no Internet, only the
plain and simple rows of shelves in the library. Kind of boring to see
all the books neatly organized, mostly QA prefixes were my favorites,
though. But nowadays, who cares about QA prefixes, Google is much
Friends, you'll have many friends if you join an org or team. Make sure
you have at least a buddy you can always go to.
Come on dude, four or five years of fun and hard work isn't that bad?
Here's the bad news, I've seen a lot of students give up. And it wasn't
fun, I'll tell you that, not fun at all seeing them go.
Take it easy and enjoy. But don't quit.
I am currently in the third year of my PhD, and to be honest, it has
been a hard slog. I am not that interested in my subject any more, and
get more enjoyment from developing free software. Of the many people I
have talked to, pretty much everyone says that doing a PhD is a test of
endurance more than anything else, and the same could well apply for
any course of education (of course, exceptions exist).
Also, I'm not sure about having academics rate your work - tests are
designed to get around any biases they may have (and every one of
them will have plenty). I will get this for my viva, and I often wish that
there was a more objective way to be rated, but at the cutting edge of
science, it is impossible to construct good tests when the information
being tested is new.
See if you can take some time off to relax and think for a couple of
days (or even weeks) before you commit to a decision. If you cannot do
this, my advice is to stick to it - the time will fly, and you may have a
qualification at the end which is unlikely to count against you.