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 :-)