A Day in the Life of a Computer Science Student

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By Henry, Computer Science
College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Birmingham

I’m coming to the end of my first year of studying Computer Science at the University of Birmingham, and I feel I can now comment on some more general topics. One thing that came to mind was giving you an idea of what a day in the life of a student at Birmingham can look like.

This is only an example of one day – each day can be incredibly flexible & unlike school, everyone’s day may very well be unique, this is a fantastic thing!

Getting from the middle of Selly Oak to the middle of campus is easily done

My day starts off in the morning (sorry to disappoint). Despite us as students appreciating any and all the time spent in bed, catching up on missed contact hours isn’t worth the effort, at least without good reason. Computer Scientists are blessed with a good few contact hours, which gives a great opportunity for learning and progressing, but very little opportunity for late lie-ins outside of the weekend. I’d recommend looking at the timetable for the following day when going to sleep, and once awake have a look at your calendar and see what you’ve got in store.

When you head onto campus in the morning, there’s a choice as to where you spend the time in-between your timetabled contact hours; lectures, lab sessions, tutorials. Some people go onto campus for lectures and then like to head home for the independent work, and others head to the library or find a coffee shop or study space to get their head down and make notes/work on coursework assignments. Personally, I tend to go to my desk in my room if I have a couple hours free (bicycles do wonders for getting about quickly) because my workflow is most efficient when I’m in front of my monitor and can top myself up with snacks from the fridge…

There are study spaces all over campus

Your timetabled hours will be between 9am and 7pm every day of the week, but if you have a free morning/afternoon/few hours, you don’t have to be doing any uni work. Use the time management you tried and tested during your school exam periods to get out with a mate, head into the city centre, or earn a bit of money with some casual work. The only person who knows when you’re working is you, so while there’s a responsibility to get things done by the deadlines, there’s equally the flexibility to have some extra-curricular fun.

On Wednesday’s, there’s even an exception to the 7pm end time for the working day. This is known as sports afternoon and is an opportunity for you to engage with a sports society – often training, or just have an afternoon to do your own thing. I sometimes work, just relax with friends or head to the skatepark. Everyone at UoB is off lectures at the same time, so this works like another half day of the weekend.

Whatever form your day takes, all have some things in common. Social interaction, whether it be with course-mates, housemates, or specific time with friends. There’s no other time in life where you’ll be surrounded by so many young people, all with a wide range of interests and passions. Absolutely focus on your course and work hard to achieve what you want to one day at a time, but also enjoy the time you spend at uni.

It’s the Summer Holiday for me now, and I’m looking forward to some rest and recuperation, but I’m very much looking forward to returning to campus in September, whatever form that may be in!