To start things off, I’d like to tell you about my first two years at Southampton:
I started my ECS experience in Glen Eyre Halls – J Block. The atmosphere was fantastic for the first few weeks; my neighbours were wonderful, and the camaraderie developed through our shared experience was unparalleled. Fresher’s week began with JumpStart – possibly the most misunderstood scheme in the department’s history!
Feelings were mixed, but my personal opinion was that the opportunity to make some friends within ECS and be introduced to the school prior to our first week of lectures far outweighed the negatives of ‘getting up early and having to walk a bit’.
The January exams passed without occasion, and I passed on to the second semester… which is where it all began to go a bit wrong. In the weeks prior to Easter, I started to fall badly ill. We all went home for the holidays, and four weeks and one emergency operation later I was completely unfit to take the summer exams!
From the beginning of this episode, I believed it to be a serious hindrance to the continuation of my course, and I had contacted my tutor as soon as I could after entering hospital. He was incredibly supportive, passing the news of my unfortunate illness on to the right people and explaining my various options, along with his advice to me. The school, too, was immensely sympathetic to my situation, fully understanding my need for recuperation, and (through my tutor) offered me the chance to retake the second semester of the first year, once I had had my follow-up operation in November.
I rejoined the course at the beginning of February. The going was a little bumpy to begin with, as I tried to re-enter into the routine and get the hang of working to the required standard, whilst at the same time attempting to make friends in a group of people who, for the most part, lived together and had known each other for months already. No small feat, considering that I had been convalescing (since my first operation) in almost complete inactivity for a period approaching 9 months!
The summer exams that followed were a little hairy, due both to that same reason and to family tragedy. Once again the department and my tutor were perfectly accommodating, and gave me mitigating circumstances for the resits in September, which I passed! Finally I was going to enter the second year!
…Which brings me up to my current situation. Five weeks into semester 1, and things are once again back to the usual feverish intensity of university life. This year I have applied to several societies to produce posters for productions, events and graphics for the Wessex Scene – a university newspaper. At the same time we have just been set our first maths assignment, and begun the ‘Rover’ project – in which we must design, program and build from scratch a line-following robot. The assignment forms 2 whole modules, and the workload for it alone is astonishingly substantial at this stage! Along with that, I need to start thinking about putting together my CV and applying to a few companies for a summer internship before the end of term.
So overall, I am incredibly busy! I just hope that I can find some time to relax this weekend.