Leeds Beckett University - City Campus,
My first year as a Computer Science student
BSc Computer Science student Mabel McDonald discusses the first year of university, societies joined and a three-day internship.
I have just finished my first year studying BSc Computer Science, during what has probably been one of the strangest academic years in history.
Working through a degree during a global pandemic has been confusing and tricky at times, but it has most definitely been rewarding. The experience of online learning has varied depending on the topic; for example, the programming modules, such as Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) and Computer Programming, have been very enjoyable to learn from home, although I have had to install many pieces of software on my laptop! Since the beginning of 2021, the lectures have either been live, on teams or blackboard, or they have been pre-recorded. I have immensely enjoyed having recordings of the classes as it helps with notetaking.
This year, there has also been a lot of support from the university, something which I have been extremely grateful of. Lectures have mostly been live, which means that we ask questions directly or send them in the chat function, which has been very helpful. I’ve also been emailing my lecturers, and in my experience, they reply very quickly. Or, if there’s anything urgent, you can always call their work number, which in my experience has always been answered. I also love that during this whole academic year, the university have tried their hardest to open the university library every day, although there have been restricted opening hours, and you have to book a spot, the resource has been available.
This year I have experienced what it is like to be a course representative. One of seven, I put myself forward for the role, which means I have been one of the student’s others go to if they have a problem with anything course related. We have held regular meetings to update the course team about any course related issues students may be facing which has been an extremely rewarding experience.
Outside of university my main interest has always been programming, as you can no doubt see by the fact that I am doing a degree in Computer Science. Since I was 11 years old, I have loved independently studying programming languages, starting with block-based code but soon moving onto Python, Java and HTML. This year, I was delighted to manage a team for the Innovation Challenge for Entrepreneurship ICE21 challenge. I recently completed a three-day internship with Bright Network, through which I had the honour of working with some impressive companies such as Google and Amazon. It was extremely interesting, and among the many projects we completed, one of the best was the one where they taught us how to make YouTube videos. I am also thrilled to be the treasurer of the Computing society, the secretary for the Harry Potter society and a member of the Drama society at university. My interests outside of programming are sewing, craft, embroidery, listening to Taylor Swift and reading rom-com novels.