April 4, 2006 by Allen George
Engineering is all about tradeoffs.
Well, I guess that wasn’t too profound. It is however, a core component of engineering – we juggle tradeoffs every time we evaluate a design, make a recommendation or implement a solution. I think engineering is unique because of the explicit emphasis it pays to tradeoffs.
Now Waterloo makes you consider more than just design tradeoffs. Every term I engage in the cynical exercise of time tradeoffs between subjects. “How much time should I spend on course X vs. course Y?” “What’s the incremental benefit of putting extra time into this exam vs. that one?” I have to balance the time I have available against completing projects, studying for finals, doing my taxes, finding a job, finding a place to live, fixing my resume… The list is endless. I try to avoid choosing between subjects, try to avoid consciously letting one slide to boost the others. I hate the thought that I’m not putting my best effort into a course. But, truth is, that’s not always possible.
Now, with two days to go till my exams begin, I’ve already put one course on the chopping block – SYDE 348. It’s going to get the short shrift. There’s no way to equitably distribute my study time and something’s got to give…so this term it’s the Systems course.