I start my look back on my years at UPB by looking at how the main campus (the one between Regie and Iuliu Maniu) has changed from 2003.
When I first entered the campus (in February 2003) it seemed like a huge, abandoned city to me. The new library building looked as is if it was just started, the roads were full of potholes and there was nobody around. 😀 I later found out that the lack of people was caused by the exams, but at that time it was pretty scary.
I entered by the lower gate (near the Dâmboviţa river) and I had to work my way to the other side of the campus, were my future faculty was. There were some signs at every crossroads, but they were so vague they turned out to be an annoyance rather than helpful.
The first image of the faculty that I remember is pretty much like this one. As i neared the buildings, though, i started to see the signs of time on the building – rusty window profiles, broken windows, etc.
Later on that year, I had the opportunity to see the interiors. Not too impressive for a future student, I must say. Old paint jobs, water leaking from the roof of the top floor, broken chairs, blackboards that looked like they were bombarded with chalk, etc. All that hasn’t put me down and I soon became a student at the faculty I’ve always wanted to study at. 😀
Unfortunately, that was like opening Pandora’s box. I soon discovered that the much publicized labs were only used by students in their last year or by teachers. For newbies, there were some leftovers – Pentium 1 computers with as little as 16MB of RAM. The bottom of the pit was in the second year when we had an assembler lab that was made out of 286 IBM PC’s. Yes, that kind of stuff (minus the color screen). They didn’t even had they’re own hard-disks, but were just terminals connected to a mainframe computer. State of the art technology… from 20 years ago.
So has all this changed? Well, some of it has. The buildings are slowly being renovated. Unfortunately, the well-known habit of handing over the works to relatives of the men in charge of the projects has taken its toll: the roof of some newly painted labs is leaking, the linoleum has already peeled off, and so on.
However, there are now 2 course halls fitted with projectors, and the doorman has another one to be used in the other halls. The “minimum” requirements for a computer has (apparently) gone up to 64MB of RAM. Impressive compared with that old 286. 😛
Some expenses are less than useful: the faculty had 2 LCD TVs installed last year, and 2 more this year. To what purpose? They only showed informations that you could easily get from the website. After some break-ins last year, there was a new security system installed. Too bad it was installed to the dean’s office and not the labs. Perhaps some people were concerned they might loose their Solitaire high-scores, who knows? 😀
And because I mentioned the new library building, I must admit I was partially wrong about it – in the first year, I said it still won’t have walls when I would finish the faculty. Well, it now has walls and a roof. Actually, it seems pretty much done on the outside, probably needs some finishing touches on the interior.
Another thing that HAS changed about the campus are the cars – like everywhere in the city, there are a lot of cars, slowly taking over the green space. The solution? Put a barrier in the middle of the campus and don’t let anyone pass except the teachers. That was probably the dumbest idea I’ve seen in this University.
So, how much longer until we’ll (or rather you’ll) have a decent campus? I don’t know. I hope for the best, but expect something much worse. 🙂