Chris Simms and Garin Bahr, alumni of Caledonia Secondary School’s robotics program, now live as roommates at UBC.
The two have known each other through school since they were only ten, and made the move to UBC to pursue their chosen programs.
Simms is working toward his computer science degree, while Bahr is in the engineering program. But both were aided by the robotics program in different ways.
“I was the only one in the club at that time who had done any of the programming side of things. I had dabbled in it a little bit on my own time, but it was never something that I really thought that I could make a career out of,” said Simms.
“What I ended up finding was that, just the problem solving and the programming side of the robotics club, I really enjoyed, and got me really interested in a computer science degree. And UBC offered a really strong one.”
“The robotics program really helped me,” said Bahr.
“Currently in one of my courses, we’re designing in the same sort of competition format and engineering design challenge as the robotics team. It’s a competition between all the teams in my class, where we all compete to grab as many items as possible in a certain amount of time with our mechanical claws. Based on that, we score a certain amount of points and earn a grade corresponding to that.”
Both Bahr and Simms have had to adjust to living in the densely populated UBC, which currently has 58,768 students attending class at the Vancouver campus.
“It’s been a real change going from the, what, 15,000 people in Terrace, to Vancouver,” said Simms. “But going there with my roommate certainly has helped, just having that familiar face around. We’ve been able to attack it and just figure out what it means to be a small town kid at UBC.”
Both Simms and Bahr miss some aspects of Terrace life. Simms misses the personal feeling of life in a small town, whereas living in a larger population can feel a bit disconnected. Bahr, on the other hand, misses the outdoors of Terrace, and being so close to the mountains.
As for advice they could offer to other residents of smaller towns who might be thinking of making the move to a densely populated city like Vancouver, both Bahr and Simms were in agreement. Get out there and meet people.
“Meet as many new people as you can, because you’ll make a lot of great friends,” said Bahr.
“There will be some people who you don’t like quite as much, and it’s easier to figure out who you want to spend your time with down here.”
“Just get out there and meet people who are also different from everyone else,” said Simms.
“You might think that coming from a small town, you’re going to be completely different and completely isolated socially, but you’re really not.
“Everyone’s there to make friends, to connect with new people.”
Simms plans to continue his program, though is keeping his future career goals open to change.
“I’m not dead set on one path,” he said. “From a computer science degree, you can go many different directions, from web development, to software design, to hardware development. I’m honestly not too sure at this point. I’m trying to continue through it, take some courses, and see what aspects of computer science really appeal to me, and just go from there.”
Bahr, on the other hand, has an industry in mind for when he graduates.
“I’m hoping to land somewhere in the bike industry, designing bikes or bike components,” he said.