Wednesday, April 12, 2006

student of the year

school... ug.

dr. lyons is an interesting fellow. instead of having us work on our own or with our usual study buddies on our air compressor design projects for fluid and thermal systems, he put us into groups himself. in alphabetical order, no less. so i find myself in a group with colska, colman, and dawson. dawson is smart, and i really like saying his last name for some reason. "dawson." nice. colska is a grad student from turkey, i think, and i believe he knows what he's talking about... and if we knew what he was talking about also, that would be great. colman is the engineering student of the year, and her picture hangs in the hall in the mechanical department. she and i are usually the only girls in most of our classes. she's the president of ASME and the student-faculty liaison and a tau beta pi member and about a million other things that look great on a resume.

so imagine my surprise (and dawson's surprise, as it turns out) when colman doesn't have a clue what's going on in this project. she is all over the place. the questions she asks are incredible. she keeps saying, "well, can't we just assume this?" and dawson and i look at each other and say, "nooooo....." she also curses like a sailor, which is funny because she's really a very pretty girl and the f-bomb doesn't suit her well.

last night the four of us worked on our project for four hours, and we really didn't make any significant progress. colman doesn't get the concepts, but give her an equation and she's gone, plugging and chugging like the best of them. i tend to take my sweet time on equations, double-checking the values (because that bites me in the butt all the time) and meticulously watching my unit conversions. colman was much faster, so i generally let her do the calculations and trust her results because i want to get out of there. dawson tries to double-check her, but she's so speedy that he gets behind fast. colska keeps talking about molecular weight, and we keep saying that we're sure he's right but we're mechanical engineers and therefore afraid of chemistry and that we're going to use the reynold's number, thank you very much.

then colman says, "oh, f***! up here when we did this calculation, we converted to minutes, not seconds! @$&*! we forgot to divide by sixty!"

and i'm thinking, "what is this 'we', white man? you forgot to divide by sixty!"

and dawson says, "do we have to start all over?" he hasn't eaten since breakfast, poor kid.

and colska says, "wait! i have it!" and starts talking about chemistry again.

and colman says, "okay, i fixed our last calculations!" and her paper looks like the spawn of a greek roadmap and my little brother's math homework. lines, stuff crossed out, unidentifiable letters, jumbles of numbers, and lots and lots of circles. and before you tell me that a messy paper is the mark of a true genius, let me remind you that i know jon pretty well and he's one of the tidiest people in the world, as well as the best student in our department.

so anyway, i say, "won't that change affect our nussalt number and our final pipe length?"

and dawson says, gloomily, "yes, it will..."

and colman says, "F***!!!"

and then we start over. several times.

how is this girl the new mexico tech engineering student of the year? how is she in tau beta pi? i don't get it. okay, so everybody makes calculations mistakes, i myself am the chief of punching in the numbers backwards, but that's why i take my time! unit errors? gimme a break! and she really doesn't understand the concepts, it's weird. if i could tell you the amount of "is she serious" glances that i exchanged with dawson... wow.

let that go to show you, employers, that impressive resumes do not mean impressive people. apparently you can't even trust GPA any more.

i can't believe she's in tau beta pi.

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