I was looking forward to going to a university. When I was about to graduate high school, I visited some of the institutions in the area with a friend (hi Max!) and interviewed students and teachers.
After a careful examination, we agreed that the Technical University of Moldova was the best place. We met some people who gave competent answers to our questions (in contrast, someone in ULIM was always offering elusive responses), we spoke to some students who seemed interesting to us (in contrast, many of those we met at USM displayed a complete lack of interest in their studies). ASEM - we didn't even go there (pun intended :-).
Yes, yes, it was a very small sample, totally non-scientific, and I am sure there are good teachers and bad teachers everywhere. But hey, at least we tried.
ULIM appeared very new - they had an awesome library, great lighting, it was clean and the rooms were user-friendly. Winters at ULIM are probably mild :-)
USM - an old building, they had a few rooms with a lot of computers in them, the furniture didn't appear to be comfortable.
UTM - the lowest density of girls (maybe there was something wrong with the girl-o-meter?), ironically - the lowest density of computers too. The building looked older than ULIM, but newer than USM. Winters at UTM can be rough.
I remember the day we went to UTM. Max called the secretariat, we had to be there at a certain time. When we got to the university, we found the person Max interacted with and were told to wait. That person was doamna Valentina. The reason I mention it is because, according to Max, the phone conversation didn't go very smooth - there was a minor clash. I don't remember the exact words, but at a certain point he raised his voice and expressed his dissatisfaction with the way she provided the information. It is easy to express that when you're not talking to someone who is in front of you.
I suspect that she thought it was me on the phone the other day. A few moments later her brain was probably executing malloc( sizeof( BLACKLIST_ENTRY )). That's how we became friends.
The decision was made, and there were just a few more things to take care of - choose a department, get some paperwork done, sign-up, [take the entrance exam] - ta-da!
My sister and I took all the needed documents and went to the headquarters, to perform operation N-roll.
I had several options:
- informatics and applied modern languages - exam = English. I could get a free pass, since I had this paper. The curriculum didn't look very attractive though. Assuming that my English was pretty not bad, and I had some basic programming skills - studying at that department would make me a slightly better person, but that wasn't the best time investment.
- computer science - high-tech, a lot of new challenges, with only one caveat: exam = Mathematics. Wooohoooo!!! NOT! My grades were not very impressive, and that 6 I got at "examenul de bacalaureat la matematica" wasn't good news either. If you don't score well at the exam, you still get to study, but you get no scholarship and you have to pay for the studies yourself.
I also knew about FAF (Filiera AngloFona) - the place where people study computer science in English. That was awesome, that's where I had to be.
I think the name sounds quite silly. The 'phone' suffix gives it a French-sounding flavour...
We asked around and learned about the procedure for enrolling in FAF. You had to go to the computer-science department, then pass an additional filter - that's how one becomes a FAFfer.
Since I had that diploma, it would have been better if I could go to "informatics and applied modern languages" and then transfer to FAF. We asked the person in charge about it, he said that such transfers are not possible. Just to be sure, we double-checked this and asked the same question in other words during our conversation. The response was the same.
That gave me no choice, but take the hard and interesting way. A few days later, I successfully failed my mathematics exam, not scoring as many points as all those math-gurus out there.
The semester started, I met my new colleagues, the classes were interesting. A week or two later, I passed the "FAF filter" and became a FAFfer, along with a number of other people. New social connections were being established. On the very first day of my FAFdom, I learned that 2 of my new colleagues transferred to FAF from "informatics and applied languages". A while later, 2 more students made the same type of transfer.
I often met that fat-assed schmuck at the university. He didn't recognize me, of course. I bumped into him yesterday too, he didn't recognize me again, probably because I was wearing the hat of a teacher.
Maybe one day I'll get to fire him :-)
Comment from: ver0 [Visitor]
haha, nice one. and FYI, me and Diana also transferred from informatics and applied languages :D
Vero, did you know beforehand that this would work? Or was it decided at “run time"?
Comment from: ver0 [Visitor]
You see the situation here is a bit different than yours. We enrolled after the 11th form and not 12th. So we studied 1 year at IA and then we decided to apply for FAF. We were told that it is not possible to transfer from IA to FAF. After a F2F discussion with the dean he decided to give us a chance as we were “good girls” :D
Aha, I didn’t know that (I mean, that you were there from the 11th, not that you’ re “good girls” :-).
The current policy is non-transparent and absolutely not user friendly. The fact that the guy “forgot” to tell me that it was possible cost me 4*priceOfContract.
It is not a fortune, but it is >0 and I’m sure I’d find a way to use that money for noble purposes :-)
It gives me a sad feeling, I wonder what happened to other students. Maybe some good people didn’t make it at all because they couldn’t afford to pay themselves?
Comment from: HareyKelvin [Visitor]
You must be aware of the fact that in the last three years the enrollment procedure has changed - all FAF students are selected among the FCIM students according to the results of the English and math tests they pass upon demanding inscription in the first week of September. Nonetheless, exceptions are made, and, in the case of my former class, students were invited to join the section up to mid-October, as several yettoprovethemselvesfafers decided to leave for Romania (insofar as about 9-10 entries were erased-rewritten-updated-removed-added in all the conceivable registers and useless lists (having been charged to the responsibility of wasting my breaks on doing this, at some point I decided not to even bother memorizing the names of my colleagues until the spring semester (that was unwise, yet successful))). However, most of us knew about the possibility of a transfer and some had chosen the initial sections on a financial-lowestpossibleranking basis.
Anyway, what surprised me was that there seemed to be no way of finding out about FAF’s existence except the de-bouche-à-oreille system. Had some reckless butterfly try weird maneuvers, I would have ended up at USM, following the track my brother chose five years previously. But I was lucky (story involving other, hard-to-digest-gastro-persistent butterflies) and after almost a year of drawing rhodonea curves and being told fascinating stories about the fantastic world of FAF, I knew exactly what I was aiming at during the admission process. And so did 3 of my classmates, even if they were told slightly modified stories :).
This year I was part of the recruiting team, and I admit being shocked by students’ unwillingness to apply because they feared the math test. I mean they looked HORRIFIED by the idea of having their basic English and math skills evaluated. Intrigued by the astonishingblablablaopportunities, when the subject of “just a little examination, mostly a formality” brought up, most wouldn’t even listen, and it took us (two girls, we had to exploit the “And we have more girls (most of which are cute, me being a recruitment error) argument") an enormous amount of smiles (would have been able to sell iPhones to luddites) just to make them want to give a try.
A fortiori, I would say that more good people didn’t make it because they didn’t want to try than because of not affording it.
tl;dr It’s different nowadays but students reject being tested and refuse to apply.
I don’t think the essence of the procedure has changed. I enrolled in.. hm… ~2001? I had two additional exams: mathematics, English. The results were then filtered by someone (supposedly Mr. Miglei). The steps I went through were pretty much the same, this is what I meant when I wrote “FAF filter".
The reason I returned to this story and comment is because a new FAF site is about to be launched, and the “how to enroll” page gives me the impression that it is one of those “anyone can make it” situations.
It is true that some students are horrified by the sound of the word “exam” or “mathematics", but it is also true that a number of students who become FAFfers are:
- clueless people who don’t belong to UTM in general, let alone FAF
- unable to write a sentence in English without making a mistake
- incapable of formulating a thought that is more complex than “Hello, my name is %s”
The enrollment procedure must definitely be reviewed. We need better marketing, but also well-calibrated bullshit-meters.
Comment from: JohnGandakov [Visitor]
Is the FAF entry exam at math really difficult or it just covers the basics? Are there some problems that need some special tricks, as at olympiads, or these are just something like “teste de bacalaureat” ? Thank you for your potential reply !
I think you’re better off asking a student who passed this exam in the previous years, as I am too “old” to give you a fresh response.
From what I remember, the exam was a regular one, there were no traps or convoluted exercises designed to make you suffer (-:
Good luck, I hope you’ve made it!
Comment from: JohnGandakov [Visitor]
Are FAF exams really tough? I may finally answer my own question just for everyone that may be interested in. FAF exams are really easy, just like bacalaureat ones(english test I guess is the easiest one). The only problems I’ve encountered were the probability or some combinatorics related questions, but all in all it was a no-stress exam. So for those with good results at bacalaureat there is no problem being enrolled into FAF. I hope this message will be of some use to someone, because it really bothered me for a period of time.
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