The University of British Columbia is located in Point Grey, the Westernmost part of Vancouver, Canada.


It (Almost) Felt Like Cheating when:

  1. The Christmas exam in Psychology 100 is all end of chapter questions from a previous year’s course textbook. Which a friend and I had borrowed from his sister, without any inkling that the Professor even had a copy of the old book.
  2. The same exam is given for both sittings of Psychology 206. When I picked up the exam from the first to help me study for the second sitting.
  3. Three of us do the same Group project for four different Computer Science courses over two years.
  4. My last First Year Final Exam is a week after all the others, and I spend the entire week studying, not the Chemistry course textbook, but my high school textbook that my Father the Chemist really liked and has kept. Despite a 27% on the last Midterm, I end up with Second Class Honours in the course, much to the disgust of a friend who got 72% on the last Midterm but fails to make Second Class Honours on the course.
  5. The final exam for Computer Science 404 is Open Book. I have neither bought nor read the assigned text book. I borrow it from the Library, read it during the final exam and pass.
  6. Four Novels are assigned reading for English 100, but I have only read two. The final exam is a choice of two essay questions from four, one on each Novel.
  7. I write essay answers to all questions of a third year Math course, each of which begin “If I knew the formula, here is how I would solve this problem…”. I pass the course.
  8. My last minute tweak to a Computer Science Term Project makes the software fail to even start, but neither my Prof nor I notice. And I get a good mark on the Project.
  9. Neither my Computer Science Prof nor I notice that the printed results from my Term Project software do not match the results in the text book.
  10. My 4th Year Prof grabs my final exam and writes something on it, and my course mark mysteriously is 10 points higher than the exam mark. I had been the only student who ever asked any questions in Class.

Gas Everywhere

On our way to UBC on our first day of classes in First Year (September 1970), the fellow I rode to university with each day and I were approaching Boundary Road in Burnaby when we say a familiar face from Burnaby Central High School: perhaps the most Geeky guy we knew, driving his Mother’s Valiant.  Just as I said “Isn’t that [name removed]?”, we both witnessed the strangest sight we would see in our four years at UBC:  the Valiant was accelerating as it approached the gas pumps at the Esso station.  Worse yet, the driver seemed unable to decide which side of the gas pumps to choose.

It was all over in a flash, not literally, thankfully.  Gas was shooting out everywhere and three or four uniformed employees came running out in obvious panic.  The driver was unhurt, and the Valiant was still drivable.

In less than a month, there were cement posts installed on either end of the gas pump islands at that station, and they soon appeared at other gas stations.  The Valiant was not repaired for several months.

Seeing either the damaged Valiant parked at UBC or those cement posts at that gas station allowed us both to relieve the pressure of our UBC studies by laughing uncontrollably.  I still occasionally laugh to myself when I see those cement posts at gas stations today.

Point Grey is So Gloomy

UBC is located on a beautiful piece of land surrounded on three sides by ocean. Even though I spend a considerable amount of time outdoors each day, walking between buildings from one course to the next, and to and from the parking lot, one winter, I went three months without ever seeing the sun.

Yes, some of those walks to and from the parking lot were in the dark, the rest of the time it was just very cloudy. I can even remember getting wet not because it was raining, but because I was walking through clouds and the droplets of water were sticking to my hair, face, coat, hands, pants, socks and shoes. The only other time I remember that happening was in Santa Monica in 1982 when I drove from Pasadena to escape the 102ºF temperatures in a rental car without air conditioning, to walk through droplets of water on a beach at 67ºF.

Sweating Blood for a Battery of Exams

OK, I wasn’t sweating, but there was blood in my mouth. While I was writing a series of exams at UBC in 100ºF temperatures inside old World War II army huts. And it was all a misunderstanding.

I should have listened to my best friend. He refused to write them. Instead, I was sure they were Entrance Exams. They weren’t. It is very likely that no one has looked at them to this day, as they were intended as information should I ever contact a UBC Counsellor for assistance.

My mother took half a day off work to take me to write these exams in June 1970, which took all afternoon. As for the blood, I had just had a wisdom tooth removed and any stress made the incision bleed through the stitches.