Getting started: Part 2

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In my last post I’ve focused mostly on my getting accustomed to uni life, which went far better than I expected it to. But of course that is only half of the story. I came to ECS, like most of the people in my course, to study.

To be honest in the first couple of weeks I found myself learning mostly maths (discrete maths being the most terrifying module of the entire course so far) and a bit of self-study web development for coursework. Before coming to uni I’d done the IB Computer Science course so I already knew a bit about programming. The programming principles lectures introduced little new information on the subject but helped me sort my knowledge.

Which is of course not to say that I don’t do much programming. On the contrary there’s lots! Aside from the obligatory labs every Monday at 9 am and long coursework (right now we’re designing an enigma machine! So cool!) there is also a session called Space Cadets. Students with some programming experience can do weekly challenges such as making animated applets or implementing a language interpreter. There is a similar group session for beginners called Ground Controllers (unfortunately with no relation to Bowie’s “Space Oddity”).

I also took the optional electronics module which is really interesting as long as it doesn’t start at 9 am on a Thursday. But I tend to blame my sleepiness during those lectures on the hour, working (or going out) the previous night and the light being just the perfect dimness for sleeping. On the other hand, the labs for this module which I did in October were really fun. Three sessions of plugging in wires and trying to figure out what I was actually doing (being in the first session, as well as not having done any electronics before the course, I found myself a little lost but fortunately after around an hour and a half I started to get the hang of it!). And they also helped me make sense of the lectures.

So yes, the course requires a bit of hard work (I catch myself thinking about starting to revise for exams) but I find it very rewarding at the end of the day to be able to look at a nicely built website or a working program or simply understand every word of the discrete maths lectures. There is a bit of stress but then again I do put a lot of that on myself. And there are plenty of opportunities to relax, be it going out with friends or attending society meetings. And of course Christmas is coming soon so there are preparations going on everywhere! Not to mention the ECS christmas party this saturday and the christmas market in the city centre!

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