Jul 172014
 

I was kicked out of university after my first year 😕 I had it coming though since I was probably the worst student on campus. But overall I’m glad I still enrolled, even if the experience was short lived. Going to university made me realize what really matters in my life.

It all started back in 2005 in my final year of high school. My application for the 4-year Bachelor of Commerce program at the University of British Columbia (UBC) was rejected because my “B” average grades weren’t high enough for their fancy business school 😡 But I managed to get into the Applied Science undergrad program instead, which is basically engineering 😀

I wanted to do cool things in my first year at UBC like blow things up, or learn to build rockets or design robots. But nope. All they had me do was write reports, read text books, and solve equations. It all just felt dry and boring 😐

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I quickly lost interest in all my courses. Instead of attending my own classes I started to sit in on lectures about astronomy and business technology, which were not part of my curriculum but they were more interesting 😀 I also spent a lot of time playing video games, reading fiction, and watching the serial drama LOST 🙂 I had pretty much stopped going to all of my classes entirely.

Time flies when I procrastinate and before long it was mid terms season. Unlike high school, tests and exams in university make up the bulk of a student’s final grade. So I thought as long as I still show up for my exams and do well, then I can still pass the year 😀 I also figured I can just cram the night before an exam.

But I might have slightly overestimated my academic abilities. The science exams were brutally difficult. I only knew the answers for two blanks on the physics test – my name, and the date. And I wasn’t even sure about the date 😕 I spent more time making doodles on the pages than solving actual problems (-_-;) I was completely out of my element for the chemistry test as well. I was so frustrated I wanted to just take all the questions on the test and Barium 😀 *badum tss*

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The English exam was even more challenging. My brain went completely blank.

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For one part of the test I had to write a paragraph to either argue for, or argue against an idea in this book that we were suppose to have read. But I hate arguing. Why can’t we all just get along? Plus, I didn’t read the book, which was a bit of an inconvenience since that was the main focus of the exam 😐 So for my answer I diplomatically wrote “Let’s all just agree to disagree.”

The math exam was the worst. I’m not very skilled at math to begin with. The equation 2n+2n is just 4n to me 😀 And most of the questions on the test weren’t even practical. I suppose decimals have a point. But how often is differential calculus used by average people in real life? Needless to say I only completed about half the questions 🙁

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I thought I could ace my mid terms with minimal studying. I had never been so wrong in my life. When the marks came back it turned out I answered none of the questions right on the math test. But I did receive 2 marks for showing my work, which is nice 🙂 So overall I got 2 out of 80 possible marks on my math mid term, or 2.5%. I was a bit disappointed. But hey, things could have been worse 😉

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Feb 292012
 

Last year I invested heavily into 2 engineering firms. Most of that money went into SNC-Lavalin (SNC.TO) which is in Canada but with projects all over the world. The other is a large German company called Siemens (SI:NYSE.)  I chose SNC because of it’s strong balance sheet, large market cap (over $5 billion,) and its long track record of being in business for over 100 years. My other choice was Siemens because of its massive sales which resulted in over €6 billion in profit last year, it’s relatively low P/E ratio of 10, and I happen to like using their products. I don’t actually know how they pronounce Siemens in Germany, but it’s probably not the same way I make it sound like in English

Unfortunately earlier this month a couple of SNC executives left the company and then there were news reports about them conducting unethical business practices in Libya. Then yesterday SNC said its net income for 2011 will probably be 18% lower than a previous forecast. Part of this comes from an unexplained $35 million in expenses which they didn’t even know about. So right when they released this news yesterday, in literally a single day, my SNC stocks fell by 20%  ( ゚ Д゚)!!!

Either SNC will continue to spiral down or this minor setback is the perfect opportunity to buy some more. Judging by what those helpful financial analysts are saying, nobody knows yet what’s going to happen. SNC currently has a dividend yield over 2% and I bought it for the long run, so I don’t plan to sell it any time soon. They are 1 of the 10 largest engineering firms in the world and I hope they can make a comeback one day. Siemens on the other hand is doing pretty well, up 4% so far this year.

Today’s Lesson: Even large, blue-chip companies can have dramatic downswings and you can lose 20% of your money in one day. Buy an index fund if you can’t stomach this kind of volatility.

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Switching topics now, my recent Stock to Cash giveaway contest ended today. Everyone made a great effort. I’m sure you all had some complicated formulas to calculate your predictions. But in the end there can only be one winner. Matthew came close. Just 28 cents off the mark which puts him in 2nd place. But the winner of the contest is R.

 

So congratulations Mr/Ms R!!! I have emailed you about how to claim your cash prize of $14.03 CAD. You have until the end of day on March 7th to get back to me. Thanks to everyone who participated. Since only 11 people entered, each person’s chance of winning was actually pretty good, for a giveaway contest. Maybe next time more people will join in.

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Hey this is a leap year. They say strange things can happen on February the 29th. We got a few centimeters (1 inch) of snow in Vancouver today which is unusual for late February, but I didn’t see anything else out of the ordinary.

image source: http://megustamemes.tumblr.com/