Friendship and Waterloo


Today (I should really say yesterday – since it is 12:50 Mar 26) is probably one of the most significant days that I’ve had since coming to Waterloo. It’s been so important that I’ve chosen to ignore my regular schedule and do what I have to do with regards to this situation…

I really don’t know what to think sometimes about situations like this. But I _can_ say this – my depression has returned full force. Great. Not _only_ that, but I didn’t have a spectacular day at work either. I had to feild questions from a PEY about mail servers. I guess he _really_ doesn’t like the setup I have with regards to mail. I guess its a case of an ideal technical solution being trumped by human factors and (a lack) on my part of adequately explaining the benefits of my system. Sometimes I really do dislike life. Perhaps even hate it.

As of 6:15 today I learnt that an extremely good friend of mine, and one of the very few friends I have at Waterloo emailed me with the news that after some soul searching, he had decided to switch from Computer to Electrical Engineering. Needless to say I was stunned and saddened. I’ve always enjoyed spending time with Geoff, and his good humor and the memories of times that we’ve all spent together are the best things I’ve taken away from Waterloo. It’s also important for me to note that Geoff is by far the only person whose comments have helped me combat the tide of depression I often feel in Waterloo. I knew he was considering a move to Electrical, but I’d honestly thought that it was more of a speculative comment. I’d hoped he would stay – but that was because of my own desire not to lose a friendship. A selfish desire I know, and I’m not proud of it. Realistically, I know he made the right choice. He wasn’t enjoying Comp and I hope that his switch to electrical will prove to be the right one.

Then, to make matters worse, when I returned at 10:00 I receieved an email shortly after from Barry, informing me that he too had decided to switch to electrical. My day had not gone well (issues at work, Geoff switching) and now this floored me. In one day, with one fell swoop I had lost exactly 2/3 of the good friends I had in Comp. These were the people I hung out with in Comp and actually _enjoyed_ spending time with. I never felt inferior to them or out of place/touch. It’s a good feeling being with people you can trust. I’m half afraid right now of Allister telling me tomorrow that he’s switching to Software – and then I’ll have lost all my good friends in comp. No I know that can’t happen, Allister already signed up for his 2B courses.

It is saddening to think about the fact that last term (2A) was the last significant amount of time I’ll ever spend with the three of them. I joined them relatively late and in our class it was common for them (later us) to travel together. I was truly looking forward to spending time with Geoff, Allister and Barry during the summer. I guess I ever really expected them to switch. An error I now know. In my mind at least, it would have been a great time. Now, all I really will have are memories. I know that’s its hard to keep a friendship the same when you’re split over different places. Its just different when you meet and hang out with the same people every day vs. when you meet the person (if you’re lucky) twice every term. I have to admit, it really is deeply depressing.

Ever since I’ve come to Waterloo, it seems that every good friend I’ve known has managed to split off offstream from me. Kurt, Fady and now Geoff and Barry are all offstream. I feel kind of cheated sometimes. I rarely put a lot of effort into making friends, but when I do, I don’t do so lightly. Now another two of my friends are no longer instream. Its almost as if Waterloo is conspiring against me. I guess I am bitter – coop at Waterloo has been an exercise in frustuation. First its no where near as effective as Waterloo likes to claim it is, and now because of that system I can’t even make and keep friends for a consistent period of time. [I know I am being somewhat unfair, but I am quite unhappy right now]

Everyone says that university is a time that you will get to know people and that you will make friends that last a lifetime. I guess I will have something different to say. I’ll be saying:

“I met some great people and got to make friends with them, but through circumstances and coop I was denied the opportunity to _consistently_ hang out with them and do fun stuff.”

I am determined not to let these friendships fade, so I’ll be keeping in touch. Altough I wonder sometimes about the efficiacy of my actions. As I mentioned to Erik today, of my high school friends – he is the only one I actually keep in touch with. Somehow I’ve lost contact with everyone else. Is this what happens to everyone else as well? Not only that, in some ways it seems like Justin and I are (perhaps?) parting ways. He seems pretty distant. I’m not sure why though… Its kinda discomfiting, all of this happening during this work term. Just when I thought my job was working out ok, my personal life decides to step in and take a beating. I guess its too much to ask…

Bah, its 1:30 I’m tired, thoroughly depressed and I’m not looking forward to tomorrow.


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  • Did your “ideal technical solution” stick or did the PEY have their way?

    What is PEY stand for?


  • Second question first:
    PEY stands for “Professional Experience Year”

    U of T students do not take 4 month coops like we do. They get one long (12 – 18 mo.) stretch usually after their third year. There are of course, advantages and disadvantages to this approach.

    So far I haven’t displayed the “ideal technical solution” to the heads of my department. I’ve been using it myself however, as a test of its capabilities. I’ve avoided saying anything to higher ups until I can show them the entire _working_ package.

    The PEY is extremely experienced (in terms of time worked and knowledge of the code) and his opinion will be valued by the individuals there. However, since he hasn’t worked on this problem, I don’t think he appreciates the different issues involved.

    The second issue is that I come off as defensive when questioned about my work. I think a part of it revolves around the fact that I came up with the “overall idea” and am now working with a coop student to implement it in its entirety. We’ve spent almost 2 weeks of solid work on it and have had to deal with stuff that we’d never heard of before coming here. Along the way there have been many problems.

    This problem was one I felt _especially_ proud of solving because it involved a lot of leg work and effort to ensure that it worked correctly. I suppose I had a lot tied into it.

    In the long run however, I am willing to sacrifice this “ideal technical solution” in order to get the whole scheme adopted by my department. I may not like it – but if thats the case, so be it.