"df demystifies" is TechNews's singular advice column, offering students the opportunity to access 13 years of undergraduate experience to help make the decisions that will make or break your time at Illinois Tech.
DEAR df: If you ask me, there’s nothing more embarrassing than going to a tech school with crappy Wi-Fi. Truth be told I don’t expect much either from the university or life in general, but the internet is LITERALLY the only joy I have left, and the fact that I can’t reliably access it fills me with equal parts rage and despair. I’ve been using physical ethernet cables or mobile data as much as possible, but there’s still times where it’s either Wi-Fi or nothing and if I’m left with my thoughts for even a minute, I’m afraid not only for my own safety but the safety of the people around me. I’ve tried explaining this to both OTS and the SHWC. The latter looks at me like I’m a moron and the former looks even more depressed than me. What can possibly be done about this? I’m getting really desperate!
---Wi-Fi or Die
DEAR DIE: Truth be told, I don’t think I have much to offer you regarding the, frankly shameful, wireless internet our Institute has decided to inflict upon its students. I personally have been burnt by the spottiness of the internet, in fact more than one of these advice columns had to be uploaded a couple of times before it stuck but, hey, maybe that’s just the TechNews website. So, given that there’s not much you can do about the transient Wi-Fi what you CAN do is plan ahead! To use a classic conceptual shorthand: the internet is a series of tubes, with information flowing this way and that way and the routers acting as a sort of spigot. Now, if you were in a place with intermittent water outages and you absolutely needed to have water on hand at all times, you’d get some water bottles and fill them up with water from the tap for usage when the water was out! Now, taking it back to your specific problem: try downloading your frequently used sites ahead of time before you go out into the wider world so you can access them even when the internet is down. This can be accomplished many ways and, as I am bored of this question, will be left as an exercise for the reader.
DEAR df: I’m sure you get this question a lot but how do you even with a group project? I’ve luckily only had a few in my years at Illinois Tech (really just the two IPROs) but I’m in my capstone and this is the worst group yet. There’s six of us, not including me, so scheduling is an absolute nightmare, in fact all of us can only ever get in the same room during class. Worse still, the self declared “team leader” is by far the most worthless person in the entire group and can’t even delegate right! Finally, the icing on the cake is that I got suckered into being the writer of the group so when it’s time to submit that detailed project plan that, oops, the rest of the group “couldn’t find time to do” I’m the one that has to spin BS and half-legible notes into something presentable! Is there anything I can do to make the rest of this semester more tolerable?
---Ready to Drop Out and Live in the Himalayas
DEAR HIMALAYAS: Believe it or not I actually don’t receive this question super often because, at least in my personal experience, group projects are often like dental work: you just have to suffer through them without focusing on the pain to much. However, from how you’re describing this particular group complaints do seem warranted. Now, here’s the bad news: people are awful and being forced to try and do schoolwork with them will always be a miserable, soul-crushing nightmare. Now, for the good news: since this is your capstone this group project is an excellent segue into the miserable, soul crushing nightmare that is industry. In fact, just from what you’ve told me now I can think of one good lesson to meditate on: the most worthless, contemptible person in ANY group or workplace is going to be the manager. This isn’t an accident however: you see despite how it may seem, the least dangerous place for an idiot to be is in management as, at the end of the day, you can always just do work around them. I’m sure there will be many other lessons to take away from this experience and, as painful as it is now, the sooner you accept these lessons the sooner you can grow numb to them like the rest of the world. Good luck!
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