The Presentation Was a Relief To Complete

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It has been an interesting couple of weeks which have just followed the Christmas break. The lectures have generally been in a relaxed style, but there has been a noticeable tension with the approach of exams. Thrown into the mix have been the remaining Maths module tests, which form the Engineering Mathematics for Computer Science coursework, and a presentation to make on the viability of Open Source software.

The presentation was a relief to complete; I’ve done some level of presenting before and used to stand on a shop floor selling Hi-Fi’s and PCs for a living, so one would think it easy, but I tend to find it goes well or it doesn’t. It seems to depend how at ease you are with your audience. Incidently, one of our lecturers has a tendency to ask “Are you buying this?” to confirm with the audience if they have followed what he just finished explaining. This seems an odd question, but from the point of view of a salesperson it’s the ultimate confirmation of understanding and there is nothing more frustrating then to have lost your audience. I’d conclude that presentation is one thing that I think gets more comfortable over time to do, but only gradually. People in IT are generally quite adverse to the notion of presenting an idea to real people, but any great idea needs to be championed and hence I feel this to be as important as the technical skills. What’s the point in conceiving a ground-breaking idea, if you are unable to share it?

Moving on, the Maths module tests were a pleasure to finally put to bed. The repeated testing has been arguably the most stressful part of the first semester. That being said, a set of half-decent results in these tests and the practice of focusing every week for a couple hours on Maths has put me in good stead for the exam.

As I write this, the sun is shining and the weather is sweet, if a bit fresh. This makes a nice change from the cold and miserable week that has just passed and represents my general feel about exams: there is not real panic in the air, but a requirement to be focused and on your toes. All of the subjects require slight revision, as opposed to any rushed last-minute introductions. This feeling is bolstered by the fact that the tutors are looking for us to succeed, although judging by the past papers, there is plenty of room to go wrong; but undoubtedly knowledge in depth will be rewarded.

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