It’s my fourth and final year studying Computer Science at Durham and I am already trying to juggle and prioritise multiple pieces of coursework, compulsory meetings and workshops with my favourite things to do outside of work. I’m looking for a seat in the bustling Calman Cafe, grappling with my laptop, running some neural network algorithm and desperately trying to keep my badminton racket in my bag from digging into the back of my neck! Fortunately, it’s just for the first inter-college badminton match of the year which is right after my lectures today – not a daily ordeal.
The universe seems to be generous to me today, for I finally managed to find a table, with a charging point, for my laptop which literally wakes up and goes to sleep at the same time as me and therefore, demands the same amount of energy replenishment as me! We finally get a two-hour hiatus from lectures and some heavy algorithmic weightlifting to unwind with something light – transcribing the bits and pieces of my joyride through four years of a Computer Science degree into a fluent narrative – writing this very blog! Nothing makes me happier than writing, especially a blog that might help hundreds of other students!
It has been a long day – I met my supervisor to discuss progress on my dissertation, had a few lectures (one more to go) and an upcoming badminton match. The thought tires me already, however, I feel glad to have more control over my time with only eight contact hours a week since my third year. There was a time when I had twenty-five hours of classes a week for the first two years – four six-hour days, mostly with 9 am starts, that was the routine. It was harder, indeed, but it taught me how to be disciplined with my time and stick to commitments – the essential skill for adulting!
I might whinge on a daily basis about how many pieces of coursework I need to finish off, all mutually exclusive in terms of the content, thus demanding some agile mental capabilities for switching from task to task – however, in retrospect, this variety of content has helped me evaluate my interests and charter the course of my academic life and future career, opening up a multitude of possibilities for my future endeavours. Having tried out the practical applications of (almost) everything I have studied through my modules over these years, and actually having built some software for real business clients in my second year, I have levelled up my programming skills and am challenged every day for the better, while I also foray into research through my dissertation!
It’s not long before I’m on my way to the last lecture of the day, and I run into a CompSci fresher who I met last week while demonstrating their programming practical. I have been able to build on my teaching skills by mentoring freshers from my course once a week while earning money, it’s also such a brilliant way for me to revise my own programming skills!
He walks in with a bagful of company flyers, booklets and free stationery amassed from the careers fair and chats excitedly, and nervously about the impending application processes and the plethora of opportunities that amazes him, and the competitiveness, that scares him. I smile calmly, reminiscing about my time from the past two years when I was the same, ruthlessly firing off internship and job applications, making trips to London every week for almost half a term and trying to battle fatigue by catching sleep on the train, sometimes, I did not even have the time to weep or sleep- which I know, will eventually culminate into a brilliant work experience opportunity, sooner or later, if coupled with the right work ethic and persistence.
With both my laptop and I replenished with much-needed energy, I walk off to my lecture anticipating another term of interesting events, workshops, seminars and more to keep me informed and entertained in tandem with my degree.
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You can hear more from Soumya in a video she made with hotcourses, here.