For myself and so many others, first year at university has been quite different to how we anticipated, in many ways for the worse. We spent much of our time indoors at home working remotely and watching endless pre-recorded lectures, and what little time we did have on-campus felt… peculiar. Signs telling us all to “keep two metres apart!” and to “wipe down your desk before and after use!” dominated most unoccupied sections of wall, and what little space remained was consigned to sheepishly remind us about adjusted closing times - adjusted, of course, meaning considerably earlier than usual. In short, home felt like prison, campus felt clinical, and the usual default modes of escapism such as pubs & bars were closed.
Despite all of this negativity, however, I have absolutely no regrets about coming to university during the Sars-Cov-2 (Covid-19) pandemic. I feel that if I had deferred a year, I would have damned myself to a period of boredom and regret that I did not choose to study in difficult circumstances. I have met some truly incredible human beings over the last nine months - individuals whom I hold in the highest esteem and who I will do everything in my power to remain in close contact with for years to come.
Newcastle - The City
As soon as I knew I wanted to enter higher education, I had decided that the only city in which to do so was Newcastle. It, for me, had always seemed a friendly place, and somewhere I felt naturally and implicitly at home. It was the perfect combination of being large enough to contain everything I needed to feel comfortable and content, and small enough to be accessible and for most places to be within walking distance. I would recommend the city to anyone striving to enter higher education who does not have a good reason to study elsewhere, as it truly is a wonderful place to spend a few years.
Newcastle - The University
Once I had decided on Newcastle as a location - an admittedly very short period of consideration - I had two prominent choices of institution - Newcastle University and Northumbria University. Both had their notable advantages: Northumbria with its relatively easy entrance requirements, wide variety of Computer Science courses, and reputation for excellence in Computing, and Newcastle with its TEF Gold rating, highly esteemed lecturers, and Russell Group status. In the end, Newcastle’s Computer Science with Security and Resilience (I190) course prevailed in my internal debate, and I applied successfully for it.
Computer Science at Newcastle
Course content wise, I have been overall impressed with my time studying so far at Newcastle. The vast majority of the lecturers are deeply engaged with their students and are easy to approach, and the course content and mode of teaching sponsor rapid development without becoming overwhelming.
The content, in my opinion, is a strong mix of practical hands-on programming, and theoretical content such as mathematics and the fundamentals of computing. I have found the majority of the content highly engaging, and in any areas I have struggled to grasp, the lecturers have been constantly on hand to help explain concepts further. My time at Newcastle so far - academically at least - has been the embodiment of what I had hoped for, and I would recommend this exemplary institution to anyone who is unsure about where to gain a strong basis in Computer Science.
This has been a challenging year for everyone, but despite the struggles the pandemic has brought, I feel that my first year in higher education has been useful, stirring, and unforgettable. To my friends, I thank you for your unparallelled loyalty and unwavering support. To my lecturers, I thank you for your devotion to your students and to your discipline, and for the outstanding way you have delivered the course content this year.