Monday, September 21, 2009

A giant bag of stupid

It seems that lately, whenever I try to do anything remotely important or useful, a giant bag of stupid prevents me from doing it. Now, I imagined that going to school in a different country would have it's difficulties, I was prepared for that. What I wasn't prepared for was unjustifiable amounts of sheer and brilliant stupidity. Let's compare.

Getting a Student Card

At Home:

Email the school a photo of myself in June. Arrive to the school, for the first time ever, in September. Receive envelope at the housing office with keys to dorm and student card in it.


Arrive to the school for the first time ever. Wait for one week. Get in enormous lineup on Monday morning (luckily in the front). Realize in the lineup that I was supposed to bring my acceptance letter and passport with me. Also realize that this was the first time I had been told this. Go to little side room to print off acceptance letter. Get back into the front of the line because luckily I was with a friend.

Station #1: Get asked for passport. Kindly explain that the school already has photocopies of my passport on record (A fact I'm none too pleased with) and if they wanted to see it, they could look at those. The guy says that's okay, stamps my letter and sends me to Station #2.

Station #2: Get asked if I'd paid tuition. Kindly explain that I'm on exchange and paying tuition to my home institution. Wait five minutes as guy messes around on computer. Get told to go to Station #3.

Station #3: Get stopped by lady at station three. She claims my letter isn't stamped. I show her the stamp on it, she claims it's the wrong one and asks if I'd been to Station #2. Tell her yes. She asks if I'd paid tuition. Kindly explain again that I'm on exchange and don't need to pay tuition. Go back to Station #2 with the nice lady, get the stamp that the guy forgot to give me, go back to Station #3 with the nice lady. Get my picture taken. Wait for Student Card to print.

Enrolling in classes


Around May or June, carefully create worklist online so as to have a reasonable timetable that I'm happy with that has no scheduling conflicts. Around July, click the 'register' button to register that entire worklist. Realize that one of the labs I have to take is full. Spend ten minutes rearranging my entire schedule based on which labs/lectures are full already while still trying to make sure there are no conflicts and that I'm in all the classes I want. Realize at the end that this timetable is much better than the one I carefully constructed.


Pre-register for courses in June.

September 6th:

Arrive at school

September 8th:

Go to a 'Supermarket' session to talk with people about certain courses in each department. Realize that the math department was too busy with 'being a bunch of dicks' to show up. Talk to the statistics dept. about a probability course. Learn that the course ends in December but that the final is in May. AWESOME! Email guy in charge of Maths exchange students with list of courses I want to take. Get email back. Realize that some of the courses I want to take (and am pre-registered for) don't actually exist. Way to keep your internet up to date guys.

September 9th: Go to maths building. Pick up a booklet detailing courses that are real. Find ones I want to take. Email prof. Book meeting with prof.

September 10th: Have meeting with prof, hoping to clear everything up. Realize during meeting with prof that some of the courses I want to take are way above me. Change courses and schedual new meeting with prof for the 15th. Also, I am told that most of my courses won't start till the 28th. Also also: I am told that 3 of the courses I'm taking in the first semester do not have finals until May. AWESOME! Check internet registration and realize that I'm now fully registered for the courses that I pre-registered in. Except for that some of those classes still don't exist. Realize that, man, fuck the internet.

September 15th: Go over new courses with prof. Ask prof how to enroll in courses I want. He gives names of two profs to talk to about enrollment. Visit prof #1 but he's not in his office. Visit prof #2. He's also not in his office but I put my name down on his sheet for a meeting the next day

Septmeber 16th: Meet with as-of-yet-unmentioned prof about doing a project. She explains pattern formation to me in brief and seems to be the first person I've talked to who understands anything. Meet with other prof. Ask him how to register in the courses I want. He says just go to the classes. On way out of the math building, notice poster on bulletin board giving times and places for enrollment for every year of maths. Figure out that I have enrollment on the 17th, 21st, and 23rd.

September 17th: Go to enroll in Maths 2B. Waste an hour of my time as some guy talks about completely asinine things. My favorite was how he read us a couple lines from a German poem in fucking German. Cause, y'know, a room full of math majors is bound to be plentiful in people that speak German. Luckily, he translated. Slowly though... like, translated each individual word slowly ("Blumen = Flower"), then read it in German again and then in English fully. That really added to my academic experience. Then he talked a bit more about stuff that was so obvious that it really doesn't need mentioning. Then he brought up how if you hadn't done the Maths Qualification Exam that you were going to have to take it. I asked if exchange students did and he said probably. Fuck that man. Finally, we filled out a little card detailing which courses we wanted to take. The course I wanted was Wed and Fri at ether 10 or 11 am. I picked 10 am. After, I told him I wasn't writing a test on first year material and that they could look at my transcript and maybe come to the conclusion that the fact I've gotten fairly high marks in 2nd and 3rd year maths courses might mean that I'm qualified to take a 2nd year maths course. Thankfully he agreed.

September 21st:
9:15 am

Registration for 3rd year honours courses (These are the ones with the exams in May even though some of them end in December). Go to the room, have a guy talk about the same pointless stuff as last time (no German this time though). Get a little card, fill it out.

9:30 am

Hear the guy say that classes start this week. Get thoroughly confused because the other guy said they started the week of the 28th. Assume that the guy at registration probably knows his shit. Get angry because they failed to bring course schedules to registration so I can't check if I have any class today.

10:05 am

Arrive back at my dorm. Check to see class schedules. Realize that I had a class that started five minutes ago. It's a 20 minute walk to where the class is so fuck that shit. Also realize that I have classes at 10 am every day of the week. Make mental note to change previously enrolled class to the 11 am block.

11:00 am

Registration for Probability. See that Probability runs at 11 am Wed and Thur. Realize that fuck, whatever I do I have a conflict with my fucking algebra class. Accept the fact that I'll just have to skip half of my algebra classes due to idiot planning on their part (Algebra is super-easy, Probability maybe not so much). Fill out little card. Leave, seriously pissed.

September 23rd

Registration for Maths 3P. Hopefully (though probably not likely) there will not be any conflicts with any of the other math courses I'm in. I mean, it'd make sense to never ever ever run two maths courses at the exact same time unless one was a pre-requisite of the other but I think the people here have already shown what they're capable of.

UPDATE: The lectures for 3P don't clash with anything but the tutorial is at 11am on Wednesdays. So now I've got Algebra, Probability, and an Analysis tutorial all at the same time.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Thoughts on Glasgow.

So, I've been living in Glasgow for almost a week right now and here's some brief thoughts about it.

Awesome Things

- Fucking Castles
- People I've met
- Ceilidh's
- Oran Mor
- Irn Bru
- Coffee Shops

Pretty Cool Things

- I haven't been ID'd once (drinking age is 18)
- How you can pay for stuff in exact change. (If a sign says 4 pounds, it costs 4 pounds. No tax added after going to the register).
- The 78
- Cool looking trees out here.
- Cheap liquor
- Cheap cell phone rates (I caved and got one. Only 7p a minute to call Canada which is cheaper than calling Canada from inside Canada).
- Rad little cinema place having all night Indiana Jones this Saturday starting at midnight.

Kinda Bad Things

- The park I live near is pretty notorious for muggings and rape.
- My building is made out of stupid.
- I killed my clock.
- Rain (Though the last couple days have been nice and though I usually enjoy the rain, there are limits for everything.)

Really Shitty Things

- Fucking registration
- How the Math department decided that they didn't need to send anyone down to the information session.
- How I'm still not even remotely registered for any classes and how I'm fairly certain that half the classes I wanted/needed to take, don't exist this year because apparently keeping your website up to date is too fucking hard.