Five great things about being an ECS student

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Five great things about being an ECS student

So… I’m about halfway through my first semester, and the fact that I’m only now sitting down and writing my first entry must say a lot about how busy I am, and how much of a great time I’m having here in Southampton!

Instead of writing a fairly standard article about how brilliant Southampton and ECS are academically (which they really are: check out the rest of the website if you don’t believe me), I’m really trying to write more about what students want to know that they can’t really find out elsewhere, set out in a pretty list:

1. JumpStart during Freshers’ Week.
While students from other departments sit around bored during the day, trying to work out how the Uni-Link buses work, as an ECS student you will be getting to know your tutor group and learning your way around the University and Southampton as a whole. Of course, there aren’t activities every day, which can be spent recovering from heavy “socialising”!

2. Über-fast Internet access.
The Internet connection in halls and on campus is insanely fast… a quick speed test shows it as 50Mb/s, which is very likely much faster than the Internet connection you’re on now. There is even Wi-Fi in the library and most lecture theatres (although it can be a bit slow).

3. Freebies
As an ECS student you get free licenses for most Microsoft software (including Windows 7) as well as VMWare to use on your own machine, which have both come in very handy! First-year ECS students also get given free course-books as well as long-term library loans, while students from other disciplines easily spend hundreds of pounds on textbooks.

4. A huge variety of people just like you
One incredible benefit of being at such a good university, is meeting people who are just as passionate about the same things as you are; your new friends will actually pay attention and actively engage in geeky conversations instead of just nodding. There are also a large number of international students on the course, as well as a good balance of geeks to non-geeks, so there’s an incredibly diverse and interesting mixture of people.

5. Course flexibility
The first semester has an optional module, which I really appreciated, as it meant I could study digital electronics (which is a huge interest of mine). The “programming principles” module also has optional classes; “Space Cadets”, for those who want more of a challenge, as well as “Ground Controllers” for those who are struggling.

In summary, studying at ECS is extremely challenging at times (especially discrete maths), yet that’s why it’s so enjoyable (especially when you finally understand discrete maths). If you enjoy a challenge and are passionate about computer science, then Southampton is definitely a place worth considering.

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