Friday, December 18, 2009

I've had pretty good lecturers so far at UKM

Now that I've just found out the thing that we're supposed to submit tomorrow is now postponed to next week, I'm taking a moment to write about my 4 lecturers I've had so far and my whole experience being a in grad school here.

Semester I
The conditions of the class were pretty common and just above tolerable. No power points in sight except at the very front and the very back. When it was raining I prayed to god that I won't die because of the cold temperature. Being in an IT faculty, taking an IT course, but no wifi? The ones they had was the prepaid ones. I couldn't be bothered to search for any open shops in campus that's open on Saturdays. Being one of the research university, free wifi should be available to all staff and students! Unless I need that rare publications, I can pretty much do anything on the internet.

Dr. Md Jan taught Data Structures (we got to know trees). He's a considerate person. It's a very straightforward paper, like Maths, that I loved it! He's always open for discussions, jovial and committed. I like him because he made use of internet in his lectures. He's current. He let us choose our own programming language for his assignments. Being an open source person, that's freedom of choice and I liked it.

Prof. Patel taught Computer Network. I just couldn't bring myself to like this paper. It felt like out of this world. He came across as someone who teaches just to pay the rent. Nothing's wrong there of course, it just felt ordinary. I couldn't understand his assignments, I did it just to pass the test. Network is something that I don't wish to dwell in so much.

Semester 2
Hey the classroom looks so much better. New floor, new chairs so I the chilling problem gone. They set up power points! And there's wifi! Applaudable effort for me even though it's not stable all the time but the thought is there. Keep it up!

Dr. Salwani teaches Software Engineering. Her expertise is in AI but she used to be a developer so it's actually captivating to listen to her lectures (at least for me coz I can relate). She used real life scenarios and real life problems & solutions. I think she's well respected in her field to other academicians in Malaysia. She's got a thing with open source that I'm not so comfortable with (from past experience maybe?). She's tough and kinda strict but lacks a bit in managing assignments deadlines. We have 2 assignments still not sure of the deadlines. I think my classmates wish she would just take back the those 2 since other one we've been doing is quite huge!

Dr. Azura teaches Advanced Artificial Intelligent. She's one of the top AI researchers along with Dr. Salwani, although her interest is in data mining. The work they've done, I mean, seriously, big corporations should hire/consult these 2 - they can give you patterns and predict things! I am astounded that I had not looked into AI before (I studied maths doing my first degree and I though AI is very physics-like haha thanks to tv shows), that I feel those CS graduates should all work in AI industry! Don't just program a program, program an AI program. Anyway, she's a great person, abit chatty in the classroom although I don't mind it since the class is 3-5pm, and a very knowlegable person.

Although the lecturers have been great, I've had some problems with my group assignments. I like if the assignments is individual coz I don't have to rely on others to do my work. I have no problems with working in a group, it's just frustrating some of them like to work last minute. So I usually did my part early and trust that they would take that and continue. When it's time to submit, it's disheartening looking at the end result so messy and unorganized. Oh well.

Being the only programmer in the group really sucks sometimes. The group did their part, I believe as much as they could but I get the right to grumble. Non-programming assignment, I contribute to the group. When it comes to programming, only me doing it? It's because they have already forgetten how to program. This is real, so real that it sucks being a programmer in this case.

Studying really takes a toll in your life. Your priority changes abit. Not much if you're single, alot if you're married. I understand my group have husbands and children to care for but it's not good if you abandon your team on not one, but many presentation days. My advice to married women who wants to pursue study:

[1] Let everyone in your family know your intention. If you're studying, let them know you're studying. Your priority has changed abit. Last time you go straight to the kitchen after work 5 times a week, now you only do it 2 times a week. There's just some routine stuff you can't do anymore.
[2] Your husband should understand what being a grad student means. It doesn't mean you still can be with him everytime going to everywhere, not until you finish studying. It doesn't mean he can continue old habit of not doing anything around the house after work (just an example). You wife has other stuff to do now, give a take a little now can we? If you can't work together, I assure you, you're going to be staying up late every night just to catch up with the lessons.
[3] Please understand the sacrifice you have to make if you're studying. You're going to be tired, busy all the time and you can't afford to be at all family occasions/kenduri kawen kawan anymore. If you're studying, you want to be good at it and because it means something to you. If not why do it at all?

Anyway, I actually enjoy the whole period so far although I don't have time for anything else. You want it, you have to sacrifice your time. I now know some stuff that I probably wouldn't have known if I'm learning on my own. Granted there are times I felt like quitting - but that's just normal I guess.

Education is not cheap these days. I should squeeze everything out of it so I get the money worth. All in all I think UKM is an ok place for me. As long as they have good lecturers, that's the most important thing and so far I think they have pretty good ones at FTSM.

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