My first year in University

Yesterday, I got my complete end-of-year results for my university foundation year. I am happy to say, I passed! I excelled where it mattered the most, and see that I have some weaknesses to focus on. But I really want to talk about how things progressed from September to May, and how my life has changed a lot is such a short space of time.

When I started university, like most, I was nervous and didn’t know what to expect from the place and the people around me. On my first day, I pretty much hung around a friend I knew from High School, avoiding people as making introductions and dealing with people and crowds is not my forte. It wasn’t until half way through the first week that someone approached me and tried to get to know me. We became friends quick, and was even arguing and debating within a week of knowing each other, and have been ever since. When the first actual lessons came about, I instantly found myself in love with what I was doing. Out of everything, two modules, software concepts (programming with C++) and integrating computing devices (working with Raspberry Pi computers and Python),  found favour with me. I thoroughly enjoyed what I was doing to the point I would rather be working during those lessons than being sat at home. The months leading up to Christmas flew by, and it became time to undertake our first programming project in university, making a game similar to the resource management classic Hammurabi. Although debugging the game was hell, this project became a highlight of my studies. Even more so when I saw I achieved a high grade in it.

This project led me on to the new year, from which point on, things became to change. In the first three months, I found myself in a new friendship group with many new friends, going out on adventures almost weekly, planning to move in with a couple of friends closer to university and even telling someone I am in love with how I felt about her. Even though the feeling was not returned, this (and the rest of the things happening) was showing the amount I have grown in the last few months and how my life was changing. I wouldn’t have had the courage to tell someone how I felt about them back in September, but with encouragement from a friend, I managed it. Anyway, the end of the Hammurabi project marked the end of my software concepts studies, which was succeeded by event-driving programming with C#. Given my background with .NET, I also found this to be my strongest subject by far. I put my heart into developing the project for C#, which was a connect-four game. My test and project score led me to have a module grade of 100%, which I am extremely proud of! The results coming back from the earlier integrated computing devices assignments also made me pleased. During this time, I began two small game development projects; carrier assault, a game where aircraft carriers fight incoming planes, and online battleships, a test project to experiment with online multiplayer functionality with the classic board game battleships. Both were developing in C#.

Although I did not fail anything, the final two exams of foundation mathematics and statistics highlighted some weaknesses of mine. Even with the fact I am not an exam person, I have a tendency not to concentrate as much as I should do on subjects that are not ‘favourable’ with me. It is obviously a natural response, but I should be giving everything my best given that I do have to pass all modules, and not just the ones I like. This will undoubtedly be my challenge for the next year.

Throughout the year, I have developed myself in two ways. As a person, and as a programmer. I have pushed myself to the edge in what I thought I was capable of doing in my life and whilst working. Never once did I ever try to give up. I gave my best effort to the subjects I cared most about, and pushed myself through the boring stuff that no one really wants to do. My years of self-isolation doing programming when I was growing up have payed off. In the past, it was my way of avoiding the issues I was having. And now, I can apply what I learned so I can do what I love. I have also made a big decision regarding my future career, by requesting to change course from Computer Science to Computer Game Development. The C++ and C# game projects meant a lot to me, in a way not many people would understand. I can barely explain it myself, but I know this is what I want to do in my life. The pleasure of watching your art (in this case, games) take form is something that will always make me smile happily. I have never been more sure about what I want to do.

To end this post, I want to thank my friends who have made the year interesting and fun for me. Also want to thank them for being there for me when I most needed it. I also want to thank my mother and step father for standing by with me as I begin this new chapter of my life, even though they rarely understood what I was doing. Here’s to the next three years!

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