Tradeoff

Engineering is all about tradeoffs.

[crickets chirp]

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.

Comments

  1. Mookle Kloon - April 5, 2006 @ 13:28

    Try having ECE316 on Friday, ECE324 this Monday, followed by ECE332 and ECE342 both this Tuesday. At least you are in 4B.

  2. Allen George - April 6, 2006 @ 21:29

    Paul G. can testify that we’ve had ugly, ugly schedules like that. The department can be very cruel.

    Heck, I’m in 4B cause I suffered through the hell that was 3A. We all put in our time.

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