I love photos of light & dark.

Still not a Europe blog.

Pretty sure that series is about the head down the same path my high-school recollection series is. That is, if it hasn’t already got there.

Doesn’t mean I can’t use pictures from Europe though! Not that I did here, hehe.

This term has definitely been one of my worst academics terms in university.

I’m taking a normal course load at 5 courses (I don’t get how 5 is supposed to be a lot to some people), only 4 of them have mid-terms. All of my marks so far have ranged from below average/expectations to way below average/expectations.

Lets run through them one by one.

COMM 452 – Tax and Decision Making (I think that’s what it’s called).

After taking Income Tax (355), I was almost sure that a tax course without much calculations and doesn’t even have 355 as a pre-requisite was going to be easy sailing. The first mid-term rolled around, and I had studied a bit by remembering how to use the formulas and doing some examples.

I got less than 50%.


I had thought I did decent on the mid-term too. Maybe somewhere around 70%. Closer to 60% if I was unlucky, and closer to 80% if I was lucky. Now that I know what I got, I’m not exactly sure if I should consider it lucky or unlucky.

The course itself isn’t anything tough. It’s that my preparation and studying habits for school completely goes counter to my professor’s teaching style. No prepared slides/notes, no textbook, no reference material, no definitions or text-based explaining of concepts, but just a lot of random stick figures and free flowing example images that don’t help me understand much. I was handling it decently well in 355 (same prof), but that course had at least a ‘textbook’ and some base printed notes to go off of. This course is very much “I hope you understand what he’s saying, because there’s no second chance to get these notes”. Also doesn’t help that his class is at 8:30 in the morning. I actually find it a bit amusing how I sleep less and less now, even though I spend less time commuting to school.

COMM 453 – Advanced Accounting Topics (AKA: Consolidation)

Don’t think many people know what the hell the course is about, but don’t worry, neither do I.

Unlike the previous class, this class has a lot of reference material to self-study from. However, it is very much a difficult course with difficulty concepts. A very much theory driven course, with a huge focus on bringing that theory into sample questions that take ages to work out. I don’t even find it that interesting when compared to something like Income Tax (which was just as confusing). The questions are all very standardized. It’s just that there’s so much information and things to consider that I lose myself in my thoughts before I even solve the question. A small insecurity about how one variable is handled quickly snowballs into not knowing how to proceed with the question.

These problems very easily showed on my midterm mark. A nice 40%. Post-scaling too. For a course with a historic average of 40-50% pass rate, the mid-term average sat around 70%. Hilarious.

COMM 455 – Principles of Audit

Or at least, that is what I think the course title is. This is the most theory heavy course of my entire winter school year. Everything just feels like theory, theory, theory. Sometimes the theory is applied to reality, but when it does, it just looks very much like common sense. Double check your numbers! Track your reports! Question presented numbers! Confirm with 3rd parties! A lot of it just feels like things you would and should do if you wanted to cover all your bases. Which I guess, is precisely what audit is. Checking over other people’s work, and finding & solving errors for them before they hand in their assignment full of errors.

I usually do well on theory and concept courses, but not this one. My mid-term mark was something like 60%~, when I was expecting a 70-80% mark. Below average, but not too far off. Looking over my exam, I felt like either I was misunderstanding what the question wanted from me, or writing a different answer from what she was expecting, even if my answer is technically also correct. Although I didn’t have the best mastery over the content, so I can’t say that for certain.

It really was disappointing though, as the result for this was the last of the 4 mid-term marks I had. I didn’t get to see a single average/above-average mark, and finalized the idea that I really needed to pick up some god damn slack.

CPSC 301 – Computing for the Life Sciences

Yes, commerce is by all means not a life science. But just because it is in the title, doesn’t mean I can’t register for it!

This was by far the course I expected to get the highest mid-term mark for. I had decent experience in programming (relative to the others), and I was doing very well for the first month or so of content. Then at some point, I took my success in that course for granted, and stopped paying much attention. The results of my actions showed up really clear when I was spending an hour or two trying to understand what the labs wanted from me. I didn’t respond to that error fast enough, and my mid-term mark turns out to be 65%. With a class average of about 10% higher, it felt a bit shameful of me to get so low when I had been doing so well. It also didn’t help that I had developed an ‘image’ of sorts in the class for knowing what I was doing. Those group activities and clicker questions results didn’t make it any easier for me to come to terms with my overall bad grades.

COMM 355 – Managing Information Systems

Let me start this part off by saying I haven’t ever consciously ditched a course more than 1 time in my entire life. Well, until this course at least. Somewhere in February, I had determined that the course material was absolute junk (as did half the class) and started to do other things during that class (like 453 homework). But then I realized that waiting 4.5 hours for a course in which I didn’t listen to a single word that was said, and consistently ended 1-1.5 hours ahead of schedule was one of the biggest waste of times I’ve ever had. There was participation marks, but that would be replaced by your lowest case mark! I literally had zero incentive to even come to class!

I will happily let you know that I’ve been doing great in all the assignments for the class so far. With my lowest assignment mark being a 80% (we work in groups for these anyways), there’s a high chance I’ll be going into the final with a 90% class grade. There is also a high chance I’ll be going into the final knowing absolutely 0 class concepts, because of how little actual class time I have absorbed. I don’t plan to attend that waste of a time course, but I really should start reviewing the slides.

Amusingly, the course’s current form is an in-between as the previous course itinerary was dropped for this new one, in which it isn’t clear what it wants to do. It wants to do information systems and how they work, but it’s too similar to an entry-level course where it talks about nothing, yet at the same time trying to be a class that encourages application of theories with case studies. But the application isn’t exactly going to work when the theories are too broad and basic to be applied to anything.

Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U

Wait what? That’s not a course, Kevin. Stop dreaming.

I know it isn’t a course, but it is something I want to talk about.

I haven’t felt such a motivation to learn and get better at this game since… ever. I recently logged onto my 1.5 year old SmashLadder account (a ranking ladder website for online Smash), and decided I would actually use it for one. Here’s my profile. You will quickly notice that I have played a total of 0 games. Which is confusing since I just said I was going to use the website. Well there’s a caveat. I would start using the website, after I had found an ethernet cord for the Wii U. God knows how bad the lag is when I’m playing on wi-fi, and I don’t need another reason to make my journey to improvement being a pain in the ass.

On the topic of motivation, it’s been slightly over a year since I first felt motivated to improve at Smash 4. That motivation got me to attend 2 tournaments, both of which I choked a lot, forgot anything I had learned, and generally didn’t improve from. It also got me to write this notepad to learn more about the game mechanics. It’s a very basic file, but it helped me a lot in solidifying what techs existed in the game, and how to do them. I’m hoping to get a ethernet cord before the end of next week, so I can start some online practice on SmashLadder (if my connection is dogshit garbage). I mean, I wrote this nice little entry on my history in smash on the website, so I better actually use it to improve!

Self Motivation

Even though this blog was about my failing academic situation, this term has been the term that I’ve felt the happiest in. I’m going to the gym, I’m listening to music, I’m reducing my time spent on video games, I’m thinking and planning my future, and I’m feeling a hell of a lot more satisfied about my situation than I ever have. It’s just ironic that this comes in the same term that I’m doing academically awful in.

Maybe it’s just about feeling a bit of self-worth. Doing all these things that I previously thought were hard to reach is making me feel a lot more confident about who I am as a person. Even with my academic results faltering, it hasn’t really detracted from how I overall feel about these things. And even though I don’t want to feel hopeful too soon, my academic results seem to be getting better. I did imply that COMM 452 had more than 1 mid-term (how that works is beyond me), and I just got back the result today. 85%, while the average was 80%. Not bad after failing the first one. I did straight up lose about 5% worth of marks because I didn’t read (for one question I calculated x, even though they literally gave me the value of it in the question, whoops). But simple mistakes are easy to fix. Mindset and motivation are much harder to fix, and I’m glad it seems to be going my way.