As the second year of the second term starts, the intensity of winter blues, work and stress start to increase. To battle this, I start off my day by writing down my schedule. This takes the pressure off to remember important tasks or events that I must attend. After this, I make breakfast which usually consists of a smoothie bowl or oatmeal if I have a long day ahead, both topped with nuts and seasonal fruit.
Contact hours: lectures and practicals
Computer science typically has around 20 contact hours, just over half of which are lectures and the rest being practical sessions. This year, my modules include principles and implementation of programming languages, systems, artificial intelligence and a software engineering project. As the names suggest, most of our syllabus is focused on exploring different programming languages, learning ways to find different solutions to algorithms (problems) and in-depth detail of how a computer (basically, every smart device we come across) operates to perform the functionality we need it to. There is also a large proportion of mathematical material that we need to know as this forms the basis of computer operations.
Lecture note tips
The one thing I have struggled with is finding a way to effectively take notes during lectures. I’m always catching up afterwards. However, now I make notes beforehand and write down the key points the lecturer mentions which aren’t in the slides. I have found this very useful especially when dealing with challenging topics. Practical sessions reinforce what we learn in lectures. We use apply that knowledge to write programs to given exercise sheets. Lecturers have always been happy to help answer a question or re-explain topics I don’t quite understand.
During breaks between lectures, my friends and I like to relax at the Ron Cooke Hub. The Hub is a large building with a unique architecture overlooking pretty lake on the edge of Campus East.
Another space for students to work or chill out with friends is the Pod, in the centre of the Computer Science department. This area is vibrant with its colourful seating and tables. It also has a fridge, microwave and a kettle that is effective for maintaining concentration during long study sessions.
End of the day
After I come home and have dinner, I like to destress by journaling my thoughts in a diary, reading a novel and having a few minutes to meditate. I find these methods are essential for anyone doing a challenging degree like Computer Science as it helps me keep calm motivated.