The End of an Era...

Graduating on the 15th of July means that I am no longer tied to the Aberystwyth University, legally no longer a student, and at the end of my 18 year ‘career’ in education…

Coming to Aberystwyth back in 2006, I recall moving into my house in PJM (91, room C) with my family, Mum fussing about unpacking everything in my room, and my sister shoving all of my kitchen stuff in my cupboard (I never knew exactly what I had in that cupboard until I moved out the following summer). I recall them leaving and being terrified to go downstairs, when I had plucked up the courage to go downstairs to meet my new housemates I was greeted by a friendly face offering me a cup of tea. This friendly face was, of course, Faye’s and we spent many hours sitting in that kitchen drinking tea. The year went on and I met new people, learnt new things, and had some wonderful times. Perhaps most memorable is the ‘snow day’ in late February 2007, the revision sessions with seven of us crammed into my PJM room and generally ended up with Street Fighter being played on my SNES, and the long summer days playing Frisbee on the University grounds.

After a long summer working, second year was upon me. New lessons to be learnt, both in University (computer architecture, network programming, data structures and more) and in life (managing bills and other household issues). Shortly into my second year Faye and I started going out, meaning we’ve been together just over two and a half years as I write this. The second year saw me get an interview with Sun Microsystems and after an exam in January 2008, I was offered the job. Revisions sessions got bigger and moved to lecture halls with projectors and elaborate slide shows. The most memorable events of second year has to include mine and Faye’s “one month anniversary” dinner (after spending all day working, we were just about to get ready to go out when a friend knocked on the door and had us talking for three hours. After getting ready and finding a restaurant that was still serving, we managed to order lots of tapas, but they refused to make us paella), and going to see Bill Bailey perform Tinselworm in Birmingham.

As soon as second year finished, I was plunged into yet new situations. Moving from Aberystwyth to Camberley, I started work at Sun Microsystems. Rather than go into any sort of detail here, I’ll direct you to my various postings of which there was one a week detailing what I was up to in Sun. Sun gave me a lot of new skills, and made me realise what I was interested in and that what I learnt at University might actually not be much use in the big wide world… I loved being at Sun, everything about working, and working for a company that did what I wanted to do, and in a way in which I wanted to do it. I hope that I have a similar employer in the future.

After spending the summer working for the MOD, I entered my final year of University. It was difficult to get back into lectures, and I found coursework terribly difficult to get on with. I was constantly pining to be back at Sun, back at my desk in GMP03 collecting tickets, tinkering with servers, and having a chat and a laugh with the great people around me. Of course, I had to go on. The first semester didn’t hold much for me, apart from an overly crowded timetable. After a terrible Christmas, I was back to do terribly in my exams (all passes, but not great ones). Semester two came and went. It was filled with loathing for my degree and a want to break out of the formalities and just learn things that would be relevant to me.

So would I do it again? If I knew then what I do now, well, I wouldn’t do a computer science degree would I? I’d already know it all :P Seriously, University itself hasn’t always been a happy experience, and of late it’s been the cause of much anger. But the people I have met and the relationships I have gained have been so great, how could I turn that down?

So, after four years, it comes to a rather awkward end: I’m still here in Aberystwyth, I will be for the next 24-30 months as Faye finishes her masters in fine art. I am looking for work, hopefully something IT based, but I’ve just got to pay the bills. If you are thinking of coming to Aberystwyth University, I’d advise that you have made the correct choice. If you want to email me about it, I’d be happy to answer your email, and if you have an interest in anything you see on my blog or on my website, I would be thrilled to meet up and share a quiet pint chatting about it with you! Drop me a line to arrange a time.

If you know me and are reading this, now, in six months time, or six years time, send me an email and say hi, I’d love to hear from you too :)