So, for my first proper post, I’d thought I’d give a quick overview of, well, everything.
Me: I’m in my second year of BSc (Hons) Computer Science with Industrial Experience and will be working at IBM Hursley as a Software Engineer next year. I’m really looking forward to it because all of our lecturers say that people who do the year out come back with so much real life experience which really helps in the third (final) year project. I have no idea what I will be doing for my project yet (but I have until about this time next year to decide). I enjoy more of the software side of things than the hardware, although I’m happy my first year gave me a grounding knowledge in both areas. This year I have been able to choose some of my own modules, Machine Learning being the most interesting and Computer Graphics being the most fun! This was my recent graphics fail…I was trying to draw the planets orbit around the sun!
The University: The university has so many societies you can get involved in. If there isn’t a society for you, then you are welcome to create one. I joined the Gaming Society and the Dance Society but I can’t say that I’ve been to either. They have events on all the time, but with the course being a 20 hour week (+ 20 self study hours) and the CSSC (Computer Science Social Committee) events, I haven’t found the time. I have friends who go to the Hiking Club, Caving club, Romanian Society and many more than I can’t think of right now. The Student Union sometimes puts on free exercise classes too. The union has a hairdressers, a radio station you can get involved with, a bar, place to eat, a shop and of course it is connected to Manchester Academy – (I think) one of the best music venues around. Cheap tickets, medium sized rooms so you’re really close to the bands and a fantastic atmosphere.
The School of Computer Science: The school becomes a bit like a family. After a few months you get to know a lot of people and recognise all the faces on your course. All the lecturers are really friendly, are always happy to help and will happily chat away with keen and enthusiastic students. If you’ve been to an open day, you’ve probably met Mr John Latham – and yes, he really is that enthusiastic about Java in every, single lecture – even at 9 in the morning! The building has a cafe, male and female showers and is 2 minutes away from the Precinct Library, Panini stand and Spar as well as 5-10 minutes from Dominos! The social committee organises lots and lots of events – bowling, laser quest, pub crawls, curry nights, generally meeting up to chill and the infamous May Ball.
Being a Female Computer Scientist: So my stereotypical view of a female computer scientist would be a tomboy who drinks beer, which of course there is nothing wrong with! But for those of you out there who wear dresses and like anything pink then you are not alone! I’m a girlie girl but I also like to play computer games, pool and Guitar Hero.Obviously, the ratio of boys to girls isn’t proportional (about 120 males to 1/2 dozen females) and it will be for a while yet, but don’t let this put you off doing computer science.
The City Centre: Full of high street shops and places to eat like any other city centre. However, I really like Manchester especially the Arndale. It has well known shops as well as cheaper, little shops. There’s a big wheel and an amazing Christmas market with German and French food, clothes, ornaments and random other stalls.
Going Out: I don’t know a lot about going out to clubs ect as I’ve only been to a few. Most people go to Fallowfield where there’s many student clubs / bars such a Baa Bar. Then there’s Sankeys and 5th Avenue for more indie music in the city centre. There’s plenty of bars and pubs around – a lot do food too, especially on Oxford Road where the main university campus is.
The Halls: I live in Dalton Ellis Hall in Victoria Park which is catered. Victoria Park is the “green” set of halls with lots of trees and squirrels. Fallowfield is for the party animals and the City Campus is nearer the city centre. Living in catered accommodation is really social and saves a huge amount of time cooking. The food’s not bad with four choices including vegetarian every day. We get breakfast (7:45-9) and dinner (5:15 – 7). We get lunch at the weekends but have cooking facilities on each floor of each block in the halls to make dinner. I share a separate bathrooms and toilets with around 8 people. It sounds horrible! – but it really isn’t that bad. You rarely ever end up waiting. I decided to live in halls again this year as well as first year because of how easy it is to have dinner (as I’m not the best cook!) but most people chose to live in houses with friends that are as close / closer to the university and are as cheap as £60-£90 a week whereas mine is £113 (although I don’t pay for separate Internet, food, or electricity). My hall also has a bar with a pool and snooker table.