Freshers Week Come Around Already

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So freshers’ week has come around already; after what seems like an incredibly short summer, we are thrown straight back (with full force!) into uni life. It is very interesting how different this summer, after my second year here, has been when compared to last summer and the summer before.

Summer 2009

I’m going to be totally honest; the summer I had before I came to university was pretty awful. The only reason for this pretty much is because I did absolutely nothing productive with my time, except for maybe recording a few songs. I didn’t have a job, and I wasn’t really motivated to prepare for university much; I wouldn’t say I was scared, but I did have a touch of the fear of the unknown as I’m sure most others had too. I instantly regretted this decision; in fact part of me wishes I could go back and give myself a kick and make old me DO something useful with my time. I was a totally different person back then, and a lot less confident in myself, which probably had something to do with it. Thankfully, gaining confidence is what university is all about; it’s probably the single most important thing I’ve gained in the two years I’ve been here.

Summer 2010

So with this new found confidence, last summer I decided to go out and look for a job. I didn’t really have anything on my CV yet, so I wanted to just start from square one and get some basic retail experience. Eventually persistence prevailed and I managed to get a retail job, which I ended up keeping all the way through until winter. The problem was that I wasn’t really getting too many shifts, as it was only a part time job; this left me with whole weeks sometimes with nothing to do, at which point I almost fell back to the position I was in in 2009. Overall it was a pretty unfulfilling space of time, even though I did make a bit of cash and get some experience on my CV. Working in retail also gave me a lot of experience and confidence that I value a lot more than the money I made out of it. So anyway, I wanted to make sure I didn’t make the same mistakes again and so just after exams in 2011, I made a plan.

Summer 2011

I made a list of all the things I wanted to accomplish by the end of the summer, which included familiarising myself with some more languages (such as C++), developing a mobile app, studying the slides for my third year modules etc. etc. What actually happened is that I completed NONE of these things, but instead found myself leading a web development project that taught me more lessons in Computer Science (and just generally) than I would have learnt doing all those things put together.

Most of these lessons are ones that ECS teach you in modules such as Software Engineering and the Software Engineering Group Project, but I think it’s important to put these principles into practice on a real project so you can see exactly why they exist. This is the whole nature of Computer Science; you need to learn the principles and the theory behind what you are doing, but you generally have to put these things into practice before you can actually understand them.

Apart from all that, I’ve been so busy this summer with this project that the time has passed unbelievably quickly; this time last year the start of term couldn’t come quickly enough, but this year I’m so exhausted I could probably do with another week! The best times of my life have always been the times when lots of stuff is happening, and this summer is no exception. My advice: do lots of stuff. You may get stressed occasionally but you wont regret it.

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