I’m approaching the end of my third year as a computer science student at King’s College, and even though I won’t be graduating this year because the integrated master is allowing me one more year, it still feels like the end of a cycle. A perfect time to lay down some thoughts about those three years.
Having been in three different universities before, I believe I have enough background for comparison and have enough experience to avoid main first year traps like “Everything is awesome” or “Balancing studies and social life is way too difficult”. So let’s jump right into what I think: how am I feeling when thinking of those past three years? The answer is a disappointing meh.
Satisfaction: linearly decreasing
It didn’t start this way though. I was pretty happy with my first year. But here is the thing: I’m actually starting to believe that first years get a much more enjoyable experience than any other year.
During my first year, we were mostly assigned to a lecture hall with tables. This instantly disappeared in second year. I still don’t understand how unis that are boasting to be world-class have lecture halls where students can’t take decent hand-written notes. I know it’s 2018 and most people only swear by laptops and tablets, but hand-writing is still a thing (and hand-writing on a tablet is growing).
I enjoyed going to lectures in my first and second years, because lecturers were passionate about their topic. Participation and interaction were encouraged and well organised by lecturers. This disappeared in my third year. It might be because I am specialising in artificial intelligence and there’s a secret consensus saying that’s a boring topic, but my lecturers were…. Well, you guessed. Boring. And more. They didn’t teach with passion. They taught because they had to. Granted, it happens at all levels, but at least in my first and second year, I also had great lecturers to tip the scale. Lecturers this year were disinterested. One lecturer even sighted while looking at her watch once and didn’t try to hide it. Some of them didn’t even seem to care about encouraging students, because I was once told that I was putting too much effort in one of my courseworks.
Nice code style. However, you went for overkillPardon me for trying my best in order to 1) have good grades, 2) improve my skills to become a better programmer.
When you arrive at King’s, they assign you to a house (21st century tech-savvy Hogwarts style: a random algorithm) and during first year, there were a couple opportunities to gain house points and win prizes at the end of the year. One of those opportunities to gain points was organised by lecturers: an “Easter Egg Hunt” where we had to go around campus to find QR code and solve riddles and puzzles (and surprisingly, I won a tiny toy-drone, which is pretty cool). I haven’t heard from this “house cup championship” since I started second year.
Next year then?
I could still complain about other things, but that would have to do with the fact that I’m assigned to the oldest campus of King’s campuses. It started to change with their recent acquisition of Bush House. We’ll see how it will improve my experience next year.