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Ricardo Harrow

What was university like for you guys?

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Posted · Original PosterOP

So, I'm a uni student currently majoring in Computer Engineering(BE) and even though it's been four semesters, I feel like I've barely learned anything of use except for learning how to code in C++ and what exactly the RISC-V architecture is. Besides barely learning anything, my uni also gives me unnecessary stress with teachers acting as if they're doing us a favor by teaching us. What about you guys? What was your uni experience like?

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I've been out of university for several years, with a non STEM degree (nursing) from a private university in the US.

 

My professors were absolute monsters, especially those that accompanied us into the hospitals for our clinical hours, which was 7A-7P or 7P-7A 2 times a week. Many of my classmates would be made to feel stupid and would often be found crying. There were biweekly essays and clinical write ups that would often be just 70-90+ pages of dumb, soul crushing busy work. I do not miss university at all.

 

 

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Yeah. You need that degree. Unless you go to Ivy League or community college, good luck. 

 

You really need to self learn. Just pass. 

 

Even then, Ivy League and community college may not work. 

 

I recommend talking on the forums. I learned sooooo much from this forum’s programming subforum. I’m super thankthful for them all. Very very helpful. 

Textbooks are also rad. They literally tell you everything. 

 

Just finish the degree. Finish it. 


Don’t take any of my posts seriously. 

 

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college is meh. I'm a sophomore at a California State University

I don't like my higher level math and comp sci teachers.

my IT degree has way to much BS and Fluff in it. I don't need discrete math or assembly programing.

On the other hand my Stats teacher along with Poly sci and history were great.


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I did an undergrad in mathematics. A lot of university is about teaching yourself, and the sooner you make that realisation the more you'll get out of your program. I learned to treat every class I attended as either an introduction or a recitation of the material I already taught myself or planned to teach myself.

Of course there are some professors whose teaching style will match your learning preference and you'll be able to learn effectively without much, if any, self-study. But for the vast majority of your post-secondary career, you're the only person responsible for your success.

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One proverb that sums up college pretty well for me is that in a job, you need a hammer.  College, however, teaches you the theory of the hammer.  

So your experience will not be very different from anybody else's from an academic perspective: the purpose is not to teach you job skills, but to teach you to be an academic.  As you're discovering, being an academic is not, in itself, entirely useful, unless you're planning on studying for a living -- such as being a researcher, lawyer, doctor, etc.  Just seeking a job as an IT professional really shouldn't require a single second of college.  It's more of a trade.  A more difficult trade than many others, but still a trade nonetheless.  

If you feel you need the degree (and that depends entirely on the job market in your area and, more importantly, your connections), just get out of it what you can, try to enjoy the process, and try to squeeze in some extracurriculars of actually learning the trade you want to be in, be it computer programming, network engineering, or whatever floats your boat.  


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I love university. I would rather be there studying and learning than at home or at a job making someone else rich.

 

I chose physics as a major. As much as it drives me insane I still think it's just awesome. 

 

I am going to keep going with school until I can't anymore. I am comfortable and happy in academia even if I am broke. 

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Took some classes, ended up not being able to afford it. It was boring, though. I was aiming for engineering, but the beginning classes are dull. Teachers make their classes more difficult than it needs to be. I didn't enjoy highschool, other than making friends, because it all felt so simple and pointless. Going through the motions etc. College was exactly the same but everyone thought they were way more important than they actually were.

 

Ended up getting into an HVAC apprenticeship. 5 year program working full time in the field and going to class, mostly in the evenings, two to four times a week. The work is interesting, with a lot of different specializations you can get into. It also gives me a head start into a Bachelor's in Science if I want to pursue that later. Plus you make good money at the beginning and end with a six figure job with great benefits and retirement.

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2 minutes ago, Demonic Donut said:

Took some classes, ended up not being able to afford it. It was boring, though. I was aiming for engineering, but the beginning classes are dull. Teachers make their classes more difficult than it needs to be. I didn't enjoy highschool, other than making friends, because it all felt so simple and pointless. Going through the motions etc. College was exactly the same but everyone thought they were way more important than they actually were.

 

Ended up getting into an HVAC apprenticeship. 5 year program working full time in the field and going to class, mostly in the evenings, two to four times a week. The work is interesting, with a lot of different specializations you can get into. It also gives me a head start into a Bachelor's in Science if I want to pursue that later. Plus you make good money at the beginning and end with a six figure job with great benefits and retirement.

Trade schools are underrated, it seems like. The occupation you get into pay good money and you don't go into much debt like college.


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3 hours ago, Rybo said:

One proverb that sums up college pretty well for me is that in a job, you need a hammer.  College, however, teaches you the theory of the hammer.  

So your experience will not be very different from anybody else's from an academic perspective: the purpose is not to teach you job skills, but to teach you to be an academic.  As you're discovering, being an academic is not, in itself, entirely useful, unless you're planning on studying for a living -- such as being a researcher, lawyer, doctor, etc.  Just seeking a job as an IT professional really shouldn't require a single second of college.  It's more of a trade.  A more difficult trade than many others, but still a trade nonetheless.  

If you feel you need the degree (and that depends entirely on the job market in your area and, more importantly, your connections), just get out of it what you can, try to enjoy the process, and try to squeeze in some extracurriculars of actually learning the trade you want to be in, be it computer programming, network engineering, or whatever floats your boat.  

College teaches you do do what college was actually designed for - Academic Research. If you are planning on Pursuing post-doctorate education or performing R&D then the information you learn in Undergrad is essential for your job. But this idea that everyone has  to go to college including a secretary, Journalist, or filmmaker is a load of BS.

 

I don't actually blame colleges for this. I blame government and companies thinking college is an effective way to teach someone how to do their job. 50 years ago companies would be happy to provide on-the-job training to get you up to speed. But now we've move into a time where companies not only want you go to school first, but also want you to train yourself outside the classroom. It's a unfair advantage that puts people like me who can both afford to go to school on someone else's money and afford to pay for expensive projects to teach myself on own time ahead of everyone else.

 

If more people refuse to go to college, then tuition prices will be forced to come down. colleges may create more up to date skills based degrees, or both will happen. 

 

If you do decide to go to college, go to community college first. It's a very affordable way to see what you like and most importantly, the Professors job there is to actually teach you unlike other universities where profs may be more concerned about their academic research. Third, choose a Major with earning potential. I'm sorry, but nobody cares about your History as much compared to Engineering, Finance, or Computer Science. Markets don't value passion, and neither should you.

 

But about that "Free" College you keep hearing people talk about from Countries like Germany? I'm using Germany as an example because I had some German Roomates last year who I got to talk to about this.

Spoiler

You may have heard that Germany and Other Nordic Countries provide "Free College" to everyone, and this is only a half-truth. Germany for example has free college, but the STEM majors are extremely hard on purpose to "weed-out" people so the degree does means something. Same goes for Humanities Majors like philosophy, Political Science, ect. This is How Germany keeps their college "Free" so they look good Internationally while still providing a quality education, By systematically denying 95% of their population from attending School in the first place. This approach is actually very similar to how the Military Academies in the US work. We're gonna make everything free, but it's gonna be nearly impossible for the average person to get in and then once you are in, we're gonna make your curriculum mind-crushingly hard. Germans for Example take classes on Real and Complex Analysis for Engineering, something no Engineering degree in the US requires. Meanwhile Everyone else who couldn't make it through goes to a three-year trade school that teaches them how to actually do their job. This seems like a far more sensible approach to me.

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My university time was just fine. I had a family and full-time job on the side, so not much time to socialize with my fellow student. But I ended up finishing with an LL.M and got a job in my desired field. 

 

4 hours ago, CircleTech said:

By systematically denying 95% of their population from attending School in the first place

Where are you getting that number from? 

I obviously can't speak for Germany, but when I worked at the University of Copenhagen as an external lecturer, we were working with a dropout rate of roughly 5% per year among the student I taught (mainly undergrad pol.sci students). And when I attended the same university, the dropout rate for the entire five year degree, in my selected field, was hovering around 10%. 

Not to mention that the entry requirements in most fields is about a 3.0 GPA. Some fields, like medicin, is obviously higher, but a lot of fields don't even have a GPA entry requirement. And that's only at the University of Copenhagen. The GPA requirements tend to be a tad bit lower in the other universities.   

 

Also, I don't see a massive difference between the educational level of, say, the Nordic countries and the US: According to OECD, the percentage of Americans age 25-64 with a college degree is 48,3, while the average of the Nordic countries is 43,95. That's only a 10% difference.


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University was good for me, although it helps that I had excellent professors in my English program. My BA taught me to improve my writing, and helped with critical thinking. My MA was arguably more valuable, though — it gave me not just a better sense of how to analyze and explore concepts, but provided a healthier mindset rooted in postmodernism. That is, learning to accept that people are perpetually "unfinished" and will have contradictory aspects to their personalities.

 

In other words, it's not really that university taught me what to think, it's that it taught the value of thinking.

 

I'll agree that university isn't for everyone, but nor would I say it's a bad idea. Goodness knows there are many, many people these days who get sucked into conspiracy theories and fake news because they either lack stringent critical thinking skills or don't understand basic scientific concepts (and you don't need a science degree for that).

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I've subscribed to a school that I didn't want to subscribe

Because of family misunderstanding (more or less..)

I will look for a way to get most of my money refunded.. if not I guess that I should follow it just because throwing some money into the bog is a waste

 

I really don't like the whole school system, for me is just a massive scam

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It took me a while to finally figure out what I wanted to do and by that point I had burned quite a bit of money on student loans and whatnot which I still regret to some extent but without it I probably wouldn't be where I am today. After I got my associates in networking I spent a few years getting experience and now I've finished my Bachelors degree online and it was pretty decent. It was a lot of writing papers for each class but I got to put experience to work so I would say that's a plus. I don't feel like I learned a lot of networking for my bachelors BUT I think the program offered was well rounded at least and helps students get to where they want to go even if it was a bit lacking on the primary focus of the concentration imo but it at least gives people a foot to dip into the field which is good.

What I do not regret for one second is going to community college and getting my associates and some certifications first (once I figured out what I wanted to do), that was the biggest success of my life so far when it comes to school as that literally put me with the company I work for today.


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Posted · Original PosterOP
On 9/27/2020 at 6:46 AM, Caroline said:

This pretty much sums it up

How Do You Describe College? I'm Teaching Myself a Class That I'm Paying  for | College Meme on ME.ME

The fact that someone with a PHD in Electrical Engineering can't teach a simple circuit analysis class worries me.

 

 

On 9/27/2020 at 5:17 PM, Rybo said:

One proverb that sums up college pretty well for me is that in a job, you need a hammer.  College, however, teaches you the theory of the hammer.  

So your experience will not be very different from anybody else's from an academic perspective: the purpose is not to teach you job skills, but to teach you to be an academic.  As you're discovering, being an academic is not, in itself, entirely useful, unless you're planning on studying for a living -- such as being a researcher, lawyer, doctor, etc.  Just seeking a job as an IT professional really shouldn't require a single second of college.  It's more of a trade.  A more difficult trade than many others, but still a trade nonetheless.  

If you feel you need the degree (and that depends entirely on the job market in your area and, more importantly, your connections), just get out of it what you can, try to enjoy the process, and try to squeeze in some extracurriculars of actually learning the trade you want to be in, be it computer programming, network engineering, or whatever floats your boat.  

While I do agree with the fact that colleges are meant to teach you the theory behind stuff, I just wish they did a better job. Thing with me is that I can't even squeeze in extracurricular activities into my schedule because of how crazy my schedule usually is. Worst of all, due to how bad some of the professors are at my uni, I have to literally go home and squeeze in time to teach myself the lessons I took that day. I know that's how uni is, but I just wish I had more time for internships, learning a new programming language, and learning what exactly cybersecurity is.


I'd become a part-time student, but my uni doesn't even offer the option for that. I don't even have the option to switch unis.

I apologize if I seem like I'm complaining. Just trying to give you guys an idea of what uni is like for me.

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Nothing to add here... I over paid for my private college diploma. Luckily after years of working various tech jobs, I built the experience to get me where I am today. 

 

No, I'm just here to say nice avatar @Ricardo Harrow... my fellow Sunnyvale resident.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
2 minutes ago, Bad5ector said:

Nothing to add here... I over paid for my private college diploma. Luckily after years of working various tech jobs, I built the experience to get me where I am today. 

 

No, I'm just here to say nice avatar @Ricardo Harrow... my fellow Sunnyvale resident.

Congratulations on becoming successful.
 

Guess what comes around is all around after all!

Also, congrats on getting a picture with Ricky himself!

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4 minutes ago, Ricardo Harrow said:

Also, congrats on getting a picture with Ricky himself!

Funny enough,  my old manager of the current job I am in, knows the boys personally. He invited me to their Liquorman Whiskey release party when one of his +1s canceled on him. I got pictures with all of em :D... 

 

just stick with it, that little piece of paper will open more doors than it will close. I learned that through denial and error ;) 

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US here. 

Undergrad - Went from a city college to a "public Ivy" the latter was a good school but not a great school. Studied something mathy but not engineering/CS. 

I was busy, worked A LOT, cash strapped and always felt like I was the under dog when it came to getting a job, at least for undergrad. Definitely sleep deprived. Without being too prideful I was smarter than most people but definitely busier and I had fewer resources than most. I felt like I had 2 years to get my resume in shape for job hunting and I was pushing my limits (think full time classes + 25 hour internship + 25 hour part time job + 10 hours of club activities + relationship at my busiest)


 

Grad school - I worked full time, I was also trying to apply to MBA programs (Harvard, Stanford, Penn-Wharton, MIT-Sloan, Chicago-Booth, etc.) and had a goal of keeping a 3.9ish GPA. I knocked out the GPA goal but failed at getting past the interview stage (SO MANY INTERVIEWS). Ended up getting the job I wanted around a year after graduating, without the MBA... so I saved $140k in tuition and 2 years of lost income. Protip, if you want to go to Harvard Business School, get enough sleep the week before your interview. 

 

 


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Posted · Original PosterOP
3 minutes ago, Bad5ector said:

Funny enough,  my old manager of the current job I am in, knows the boys personally. He invited me to their Liquorman Whiskey release party when one of his +1s canceled on him. I got pictures with all of em :D... 

 

just stick with it, that little piece of paper will open more doors than it will close. I learned that through denial and error ;) 

Thanks for the advice! Already started my third year. Just one more year left to go. 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
7 minutes ago, comander said:

US here. 

Undergrad - Went from a city college to a "public Ivy" the latter was a good school but not a great school. Studied something mathy but not engineering/CS. 

I was busy, worked A LOT, cash strapped and always felt like I was the under dog when it came to getting a job, at least for undergrad. Definitely sleep deprived. Without being too prideful I was smarter than most people but definitely busier and I had fewer resources than most. I felt like I had 2 years to get my resume in shape for job hunting and I was pushing my limits (think full time classes + 25 hour internship + 25 hour part time job + 10 hours of club activities + relationship at my busiest)


 

Grad school - I worked full time, I was also trying to apply to MBA programs (Harvard, Stanford, Penn-Wharton, MIT-Sloan, Chicago-Booth, etc.) and had a goal of keeping a 3.9ish GPA. I knocked out the GPA goal but failed at getting past the interview stage (SO MANY INTERVIEWS). Ended up getting the job I wanted around a year after graduating, without the MBA... so I saved $140k in tuition and 2 years of lost income. Protip, if you want to go to Harvard Business School, get enough sleep the week before your interview. 

 

 

I'd kill for a 3.9 GPA. Best of luck to you!

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On 9/26/2020 at 6:36 PM, GDRRiley said:

I don't need discrete math.

I code most days. Discrete math is the one USEFUL math class you can take (maybe boolean algebra or some stats/probability classes as well - it depends on what you want to do; there's often concept overlap in these courses). I use BOOLS regularly and combinatorics pop up fairly regularly. I never took that class (took others that covered many concepts though) and SOMEDAY I'm going to take it on coursera for fun. 

If you're trying to get a job (at least for SWE) at a place like Amazon or Netflix, chances are the coding interviews WILL assume you know enough discrete math (this is the easy stuff) to be OK and they'll definitely grill you on data structures and algorithms. 

 

7 minutes ago, Ricardo Harrow said:

I'd kill for a 3.9 GPA. Best of luck to you!

 

I roughly landed there. I "only" had a 3.5ish for undergrad. To get into my grad program (average GPA was around 3.7 at the time) I basically needed to make up for the "low" GPA by killing the GRE. Think 335/340ish (so perfect math score and top 5% in English). Studying for that exam was fun... 8 weeks of caffeine and late nights + using my breaks at work to do basic math flash cards. 


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Posted · Original PosterOP
9 minutes ago, comander said:

 

I roughly landed there. I "only" had a 3.5ish for undergrad. To get into my grad program (average GPA was around 3.7 at the time) I basically needed to make up for the "low" GPA by killing the GRE. Think 335/340ish (so perfect math score and top 5% in English)

Hey, at least your GPA didn't tank like mine.

I was sitting at a 3.0 GPA for my first year, but the first semester of my second year caused my GPA to tank to a 2.7. Not that I wasn't trying, I was literally studying every weekend and was spending the rest of my time doing assignments. I'm still trying to get my GPA up to at least a 3.2 or more before I graduate, but feels like I've lost all motivation. 

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