Kevin Wang, ‘13, is attending San Jose State University, where he is majoring in computer engineering.
Q: How do you like your major so far?
A: I don’t really know yet because I’m still a freshman. But what I do know is that the average time to graduate for computer engineering majors is five years because there are so many courses that we have to take. There are at least 20 major courses, and CSU’s have a unit limit, so for each semester I can only take 16 units. I guess it’s because they don’t have money. It’s so stupid.
Q: How are your classes? What are you taking this semester?
A: I actually had trouble signing up for classes—there are so many people that it’s easy to get waitlisted. If that happens, I’d have to choose another session held at a different time. But—oh, my God— it’s so hard to plan because sometimes classes will overlap each other. You have to plan well. The classes I’m currently taking are English, math and economics.
Q: Only three? Aren’t you taking any computer engineering classes?
A: Those are 14 units already, by the way. Math classes have workshops, which I have to take, and those count as one unit each. I can’t take any major courses yet because I need to pass physics and math. There are a lot of prerequisite classes that you have to complete before you can take the computer engineering classes. Normally freshmen don’t really take major courses—I know, it kind of sucks.
Q: How’s your dorm?
A: It’s good—it’s actually more like a suite. It houses eight people with four rooms, a living room and a kitchen. Two people are in a room, and there are two bathrooms. There are three different dorm buildings, and I live in campus village C (CVC), where all the freshmen live. It has seven floors, two RA’s per floor, and at least 10 suites per floor as well. It’s really big—it’s like a hotel. The Internet used to suck at first. You can’t even load Web pages like Yahoo or Google, but you can play World of Warcraft (which I don’t really play anymore).
Q: How’s the weather?
A: Really similar to Sacramento. In the winter right now it’s a little warmer, and during the summer when I first came it was a little cooler.
Q: What’s the food like?
A: We have restaurants here, and a lot of people living in CVC just use the meal plan. You can get as much food as you want. Sometimes the food sucks, but other times it’s good. Today we have sushi and Indian food. Oh, and they always have chicken—that’s for sure. They have chicken salads, fried chicken salads, barbecue chicken, fried chicken—whatever chicken recipe you can imagine.
Q: Are you participating in any extracurricular activities?
A: Yeah, I’m in the Taiwanese Student Association. What do we do there? We play games. Okay fine, that’s not all we do. We have things like Moon Festival barbecue, Halloween karaoke and Thanksgiving dinner. I didn’t join any fraternity. Greek life is pretty big here, and it’s pretty crazy because people get drunk all the time.
Q: Have you explored the city of San Jose?
A: Yeah, it’s really a city. It’s a lot smaller than San Francisco, but it’s more like a city than Sacramento. The school is downtown, and it’s really hard to find parking there. There are also many one-way streets, so it’s really easy to be going the wrong way. San Jose is really close to everything—UC Santa Cruz (UCSC), Stanford and San Francisco are all about 40 minutes away. There are a lot of Asians here—Cupertino is basically an Asian town. In the malls you can hear Chinese 60 percent of the time. Honestly, you can’t find any Americans here.
Q: Have you been somewhere that’s really cool in the city?
A: I’ve been to so many places that I can’t list them all. I don’t feel like an American right now because there are Taiwanese and Chinese restaurants everywhere—restaurants not like Panda Express. There are a lot of Ranch 99 and Marina Markets, which are Asian supermarkets.
Q: I heard you have a car. How often do you drive it and do you need it to get around campus?
A: I drive around three to four times a week, It’s so convenient, but you don’t need it to get around campus. You can just walk—my farthest class is about a 15-minute walk. A lot of people skateboard and bike. The campus is in the center of San Jose. It’s definitely bigger than Country Day, but it’s way smaller than UCSC.
Q: So you’ve visited UCSC?
A: Yes. Once I went to UCSC at 4 a.m. to watch the night sky and take pictures. I was outside stargazing but then had to go back into my car and leave because I heard wolves. At first I heard chickens bawking, and then a couple seconds later I heard wolves howling. I also visited Wanning Liu, ‘13, (who attends UCSC), and he’ll sometimes visit me.
Q: What’s your most embarrassing freshman mistake?
A: Nothing really stupid—I forgot my keys like three times. My roommate had to help me out.
Q: What’s been surprising about your school?
A: The fact that I can’t take my major courses yet—I wasn’t expecting that. Also, the school is pretty stupid with another thing. The finals end on Dec. 17, and Dec. 18 is the make-up day for finals. The school said that you have to leave 24 hours after your last final; you have to pack everything and can’t be back until January. Also, I can’t park my car in the underground garage, where I usually park, over winter break. Today I had to purchase another permit for $91 so I can park somewhere else! That is seriously the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.
Q: Any advice for the class of ‘14?
A: Take your AP courses and pass the AP tests, goddamn it! I didn’t pass my AP tests, so I have to take some classes all over again—like math. I was still learning L’Hopital’s rule (something that I learned last year). I just sleep during class and still get an A because Mr. Mangold taught me so well.