1st Year Computer Science – What I Wish I Knew
As the beginning of the year draws ever closer, there’s lots of things to think about. Packing, budgeting, meals and Welcome week to name just a few. But hopefully you’re also thinking about your degree a little bit too.
I’m looking forward to getting back to Uni and studying Computer Science some more, but what do I wish I had known as I entered Warwick as a fresher?
Well … the answer to that is quite a lot.
Don’t assume you’ll be told to start any coursework
In school and sixth form, there’d be a point when the teacher would introduce a piece of coursework or homework and this would be the cue for starting said piece (whether or not you took this cue is another matter entirely). At University, this is not always the case. I actually got caught out on this last year as I was waiting for a piece to be introduced formally, only to find out fairly close to the deadline that the lecturer expected us to have already started.
If coursework is available on the module webpage, read it over at the beginning of term so you have an idea of what is involved, and just keep it in mind until you think you have enough knowledge to make a decent start.
Keep an eye on the module webpages
The module webpages were some of the most helpful resources for me last year. Lecturers generally put lecture notes and extra reading material on the page that come in handy when doing coursework and revision. You can actually configure notifications for when a lecturer makes a change by clicking on the “Notify” link at the top of the webpage which might be useful.
Be ready to walk
The Department of Computer Science doesn’t have it’s own lecture theatres, instead using the space for computer labs. This is very beneficial for when you want to use the computers (which I did fairly often), but slightly more annoying when you have 2 lectures back to back on opposite sides of campus.
Don’t worry about this too much. It’s a great way to explore campus and most people at the first lecture will be making the trek, so the lecture is highly unlikely to have started before you get there.
Don’t leave your work to the last minute
Ok, so a bit of an obvious one here. You’ve probably heard it all before and still ignored it. I certainly have to a small extent. But a word of warning, the amount of time an assignment is expected to take correlates with the number of CAT’s it’s worth.
For example, a piece of coursework worth 25% of a 15 CAT module is expected to take around 37.5 hours (based on each CAT being equal to 10 hours of study). Now, this is a lot of time and whilst I highly doubt that anyone actually spends that much time on such an assignment, starting the day before the deadline and pulling an all-nighter is not enough. Save yourself some stress and allow the time expected, even if you don’t use all of it.
I hope these tips were useful and you have a great first year at Warwick.