This time 4 years ago I was celebrating my A-level results and getting a highly prestigious place at ECS. Now I am a graduate and I can’t believe where all that time has gone! I hope over this time I have been able to give you an insight in to what student life in Southampton is really like, but all good things must come to an end and this will sadly be my final blog. Therefore, I would like to use this space to reflect on the highlights of my time here and offer a few words of advice to anyone about to embark on this amazing journey themselves.
First year was exciting but intense – it was great to get stuck in the course and all the opportunities the university offers. I have to say – contrary to what you might expect – this was probably one of the most demanding years, just down to the higher numbers of lectures, labs and pieces of coursework, whilst also getting used to the ins-and-outs of living away from home. It was great fun though and I got involved in lots of cool things like SUJO and Student Robotics, the latter of which lead me to a meeting with the then Science Minister, Lord Drayson (http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/news/2342).
Second year was when the really exciting opportunities started to occur, after I was fortunate to win a major award from the Royal Academy of Engineering and reach the final of the Undergraduate of the Year Awards (http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/news/3143). These opened lots of doors to me and so I would definitely recommend everybody to apply if you can.
Third year was the first time we got to begin to specialise and also tackle an exciting individual project. I got the chance to build a piece of test equipment that might hopefully get used in the ECS labs in the future. It was also the year several ECS students and I gained scholarships from the UKESF (http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/about/news/3841), which was very exciting. This was also what led me to Dialog Semiconductor and a dream job in Tokyo, Japan over the summer, and ultimately the graduate role I will be starting within the next month.
Finally, fourth year was all about the group design project – a major piece of coursework that three of my best friends and I worked on to improve stroke rehabilitation using a Microsoft Kinect. This was a fantastic project to work on and has just recently started to get a lot of critical acclaim which has been quite exciting (http://www.theengineer.co.uk/sectors/medical-and-healthcare/news/researchers-use-kinect-gesture-control-in-stroke-rehab-system/1012902.article). Furthermore, the group is in the middle of writing an academic paper for the IEEE, so if all goes well and we are able to contribute to the growing body of ECS research it would be fantastic to be able to leave such a great legacy as we move on. Final year was also extremely exciting for me personally, winning the UKESF Scholar of the Year Award (http://www.ukesf.org/news/articles/first-ukesf-scholar-of-the-year-award), meeting with the Business Minster, Mark Prisk (http://www.fpas.soton.ac.uk/news?id=3902) and HRH The Duke of York (http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/news/3931).
So that was a very brief summary of my highlights of the last 4 years – believe me, it was really difficult to decide what to include! To everyone just about to start I would say to take all the opportunities you can, even if you don’t quite know at the time exactly what benefits they will bring you – I’ve certainly found the more things I’ve done, the more opportunities come up and then everything starts to snowball. I would also say to make sure you do the best you possibly can in first year, as it really does set you up for the rest of your studies. And lastly, of course, make sure you enjoy every minute 🙂
So that’s it, the end of my final blog. A big thanks to the wonderful Joyce for letting me write this and thank you to everyone who has been reading it. It’s been great to bump into people at interview days or other events who’ve said they’ve read it, and even better for those few that have told me it influenced their decisions to study electronics and go to ECS. I look forward to staying in touch with the university and hopefully coming back with Dialog to some of the Careers Fairs. For anyone who wants to stay in touch with what I get up to in the future, feel free to connect on Twitter (https://twitter.com/adammalpass) and hope to hear from you soon!