Engineering Masters student Samia Mohinta gives us a run down of a typical day at the University of Bristol.
Very shortly about me, I am an MSc student, pursuing Advanced Computing, Machine Learning, Data Mining and High-Performance Computing here in Bristol. I am currently in my second and the penultimate semester for this programme. I realised that it would be interesting for you all, who are preparing to join University of Bristol in the coming months, to know life functions as a University here. Hence, this post. Fasten your seatbelts and let’s go for a ride.
8.30: Time to wake up. Today is Tuesday and I have two lectures to attend and coursework to work on. Even though my lectures are from 11.00, I prefer to wake up a bit early to prepare breakfast and do a bit of ‘planning the day ahead’. I stay in a shared private accommodation, so I grab the breakfast I require and go to the communal kitchen.
Breakfast doesn’t take long and I’m back in room by 9.30. I generally prefer to make a to-do list for the day that also includes information about my extra/co-curricular engagements, if any, for the day, along with my study objectives. We do have a different sets of assignments each week and I feel it’s better to plan it to avoid missing deadlines.
10.30: I’m ready to go to my first lecture, which is on Robotics Systems. Must say that it is a very fun module, wherein we get to work with actual robots. It’s very challenging also. The Robotic Systems lecture is scheduled in the Chemistry Building, which is about a 12 minute walk from my place. So, I do reach on time, if you were curious.
11.00: Lecture time. Today we are learning about how use a robot to explore an environment and encode a few crucial bits of information about it. Each lecture ideally lasts 50 minutes, given a few exceptions. We also have two or three hours lectures and labs, but those generally are scheduled once a week.
12.00: Done with the lecture and now I am heading to another building called the Merchant Venturers Building to meet a few friends, who happen to be my course-mates. We are going to discuss a few ideas on the upcoming robotics assignment and head off to grab lunch at 1pm. Just to let you know, 13.00-14.00 is the lunch hour.
13.40: Lunch done. Need to go to the next lecture now. This is one of my favourite subjects right now, because I have always been extremely intrigued by the human brain and its advanced functionalities. The lecture is on Computational Neuroscience. This lecture also lasts for an hour and is held in the Queen’s Building.
Yes, you guessed it right. A Computer Science student like me has to walk a lot every day because we have our lectures spread out across the campus. I take it as a perk, because it saves me from gym subscriptions. Moreover, you get to take classes in different buildings, which are all architecturally varied. How cool is that! I love architecture.
15.00: Done with the lecture. Learnt about neurons and now heading to deal with my coursework, which is also on Computational Neuroscience. So, I prefer to work in the MVB (Merchant Venturers Building), because it has got the computer labs. Our lifeblood!
I am working with a few friends and we try to help each other out as and when we get stuck with something. Sometimes I also drop into my lecturer’s office to get clarity on a specific concept. But, today I hope, I don’t have to do that. I believe I shall be able to solve the problem given the resources at hand and with some collective intelligence.
17.00: Almost done with the coursework. Need a break from studies and what can be better than indulging in an Engineering talk with a lot of free pizzas. Yes, there is a talk today by a renowned faculty member on the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence. So, I am tagging along with my group to attend that talk in Queen’s. I’m sure it will be fun.
18.30: That was a fun talk and loads of info! Time to call it a day from Uni. Dinner is waiting to be cooked back home and after that I need to finish my coursework.
20.30: Have finished dinner. Met my housemates. Chitted-chatted. Let’s get done with the coursework.
21.30: Coursework done and dusted. Now the thing that is left is verification and validation of what I have done as part of it. I’ll take this up tomorrow with my friends. Extra-curricula’s on. Yeah, I know, I am odd. I go for a run every day at this hour. Fresh air gives me a fresh mind. I should mention that Bristol is very safe and I’ve not had any problems.
22.30: Got back. Re-hydrated my body and now I wish to engage in some co-curriculas. Food for the brain is important too. I am going to watch a few TEDx videos now for about 40 minutes. I have made the list of videos to watch in the morning. That’s how I know the time it will require.
00.00: Wow! Great videos. Awesomely inspiring and intriguing. Was a good day. Should sleep now. Tomorrow is a new day and will be a new schedule too.
Hope you all have got an idea of how an ordinary day looks like here. Some days are quiet, some are really eventful. Some can be productive and some might be pretty annoying too. But as we say, variety is the spice of life. Challenges make it more exciting. There are loads of opportunities and things to do here than just study. Good luck!