Final Checklist – Are you ready for September?

From soon-to-be-ex-fresher to soon-to-be-freshers here are some pieces of advice that I wish someone had shared with me at this time last year:

1) Learn to cook.

Next year you’re probably not going to live with your family and, unfortunately, no one will cook for you. If you don’t want to spend all of your budget on food (bear in mind that you’re going to live in one of the most expensive cities in the world), then learn some easy dishes. There are plenty of resources online (and tbh, if I made it you can do it too hehe :D).

2) Start looking for an internship ASAP.

My family thought I was crazy when I was googling internships for first year students in August but it has been sooo useful for me. The job world is super competitive so start looking to gain some experience as soon as possible. In your first year, you can easily get a Spring internship at most banks. I did mine at Goldman Sachs but there are other firms that organise them as well. Bear in mind that summer internships in your first year are way harder to get than spring ones.

3) Write your CV.

It’s very useful to have a copy of your CV ready to be shared, make sure you have a sample cover letter ready too!

4) Join Facebook groups.

Join Facebook groups for freshers/people in your course. It might not be useful but it’s certainly fun 😀

5) Don’t end friendships.

Finally, (this is very subjective and entirely depends on your personality and on the friendships you’ve made over the years) in September you are going to leave everything behind. This might sound like a relief but you know that you’ll have to come back home for your holidays so make sure that, if there are some friends that you would like to stay close with, you keep in contact with them. It might be every day or once a month but they’ll be there once you come back and want to have fun with some old friends.

Study like a King :D

As you might have figured out by now, King’s is a great university and offers several opportunities to grow both academically and professionally. But there are a couple of things that I’ve found particularly useful since I started university in September and I feel like they don’t get as much credit as they deserve. 

1) Lecture Capture. 

We have the possibility to re-watch it all of our lectures with 2 cameras: one on the professor and the whiteboard and another one on the slides. This is very useful if you didn’t understand some parts of the lecture or you simply didn’t pay much attention! Of course it’s not perfect, sometimes lecturers forget to switch it on or prefer not to be filmed but, generally, 3/4 of our lectures are on it.

2) KEATS. 

KEATS stands for ‘Kings E-learning And Teaching Service’ and it is the platform that we use to access teaching materials. All the slides, tutorials, and solutions to exercises can be found here. You will be given access at the end of August so you can start to explore it a little bit 🙂 

From KEATS you can access all of your modules' material

From KEATS you can access all of your modules’ material

3) Finishing exams in May. 

This is like the best thing ever, I can’t believe I’m already on holiday! It is perfect if you’re planning to work over the summer; for example I’ll be starting an 8-week internship next week. 

These are just a couple of things that I wanted to point out because I feel like they’re not appreciated enough. Good luck to those who still have remaining exams, all the best! 

4 Misconceptions about Computer Science.

Hello everyone! Today we will discuss some misconceptions and fake myths about computer scientists and, hopefully, this will help you to decide if computer science is truly what you want to study next year.

1) Computer Science is sending emails/browsing the internet/fixing computers.

Absolutely not! We study how to develop softwares and how to solve problems with applications.

2) Computer Science is maths, maths maths!

To be honest, I was scared it would be like this too but I’m at the end of my first year and I haven’t had any problems with maths yet. We study plain discrete mathematics which is really straight-forward so you really don’t have to worry about it!

3) Computer Science students are anti-social nerds who sit in their basement typing code.

Everyone seems to think that studying computer science means working on individual projects and avoiding human contact as much as possible and it’s kind of funny because it is humanly impossible for someone to work on an entire project by himself/herself. All computer science jobs require teamwork and, as a consequence, even if you’re only in your first year you’ll have soon many group projects to work on!


And last, but not least:

4) Computer Science is only for men.

While it is true that there are statistically more male computer science students than female, I know so many amazing female computer scientists that inspire me every day to learn and grow as a programmer.

I hope this post was useful, if you have any questions and/or considerations tweet me @beabergami.

Two Down, Two More to Go!

Welcome back! We’re exactly in the middle of exam season here at King’s 😀 Two exams are down and we have two more to go. As a first year computer science with management student, I’ve already sat a Database Systems and a Data Structures exam. These exams will count 85% of our final mark for the module (15% was assessed by a coursework).

I’m glad we started with these two exams because they were definitely easier to revise than the next two exams which I’ll sit next Friday and Monday: Programming Applications and Economics. PRA is a nice module because it’s pure programming so you get to practice a lot but I generally don’t like programming exams so I’m definitely not looking forward to it!

Olympia London

Olympia London

I don’t know if you guys have heard about this but King’s students don’t sit their exams at King’s. All exams are held at Olympia London. It is a massive building (it usually hosts exhibitions) and during a week in January and a month in May, it is where every King’s student has to go to be examined. A few weeks before the date of the exam, we receive a seat number and on the day of the exam, we have to find our desk between hundreds. In fact, we sit our exams at the same time and in the same room as other students and that’s actually nice because you can randomly meet your friends from other years and departments and have a chat with them before going into the examination hall instead of panicking with people that will sit the same exam as you 😀

I hope your exams are going as you hoped, good luck with everything!!

Revision Tips

Hello everybody! That time of the year has come again: the term is over and we’re all busy revising. I find studying for university exams really different from studying for high school exams, especially if you do computer science. Our exams are based on logic and reasoning and you’ll hardly be asked to write an essay! These are some revision tips that I collected during my first year at uni:

1) Make a revision plan.

Revision plans are always useful. You don’t have to stick to them (I never do) but they’re crucial to have an idea of how much you have to do.

My week next week!

My week next week!

2) Set a daily goal.

You are the only person aware of your limits and, by setting a daily goal, you’ll be able to do your best every day. Don’t pressure yourself too much, it’s still April and you have plenty of time to organise your revision and prepare for the exams.

3) Give yourself breaks.

Who said that giving yourself a day off is wrong? Sometimes you’ll feel like relaxing for a day or two and that is completely fine! As long as you know that you have to get back to work the day after. Also, make sure you have short breaks every 45/60 minutes to keep high levels of concentration.

4) Use past papers!

I can’t stress enough the importance of practising with past papers. However you should be aware that exam formats can change year upon year, and even the syllabus can change. It is important to check with the lecturer if the past papers are a suitable resource, especially if you are unsure!

5) Find the right environment to concentrate.

This is essential for your productivity. I usually concentrate in quiet places but I sometimes like to listen to the music while studying (especially for maths exercises). I know that a lot of people concentrate better in crowded places so I guess it’s up to you.

I hope these were useful and I wish you all the best for your exams! Have faith in yourself, you are going to ace it and hopefully I’ll see you all at King’s next year 😀

All About Hackathons

Hackathons are a particular kind of events that you’ll come across very often if you decide to study computer science. You might have already been to one or you might have simply heard of them. Honestly, I had never heard of them before joining King’s. So, what are hackathons?

Hackathons are events in which programmers and computer scientists with different levels of experience come together and build something creative like an app, a game or a website! They’re extremely fun to attend because they enable you to share some amazing experiences with people who love technology as much as you. At hackathons, you’ll meet people that you might have seen in your lecture halls as well as strangers from different unis.
The KCL Tech society which I’m a member of has organised several hackathons this year such as HackLondon in collaboration with UCLU TechSoc and HackKing’s. We can’t wait to organise even more next year!

Next Saturday (April 23rd), the Department of Informatics is organising a 7-hour hackathon for prospective students. If you happen to be in London and want to have a taste of what this kind of events are like, I’d recommend you go and try it yourself! You can find more details about the event here.
Unfortunately, I’ll be back home in Italy and I won’t be able to come 🙁 but I know that it’s going to be amazing!
Hope you’ll enjoy the event and I’ll try to keep you up to date with everything that’ll happen in the next months! For more info, do not hesitate to contact me on twitter at @beabergami.
See you next week.

The Importance of Saying YES

Welcome back!

This post will be somehow different from the others: it will be about the importance of participating actively to your university life. I was inspired by an article that I read yesterday that I’m going to link here.

I am going to be honest with you, I absolutely hated finding myself in social situations back in high school but nowadays, I do my best to meet as many people as I can in order to build strong connections.

At university, it is really easy to make friends and talk to people. When you’ll join your coursemates in September, you’ll fully understand this. Everyone will be in the same situation as you and it will all come as very natural. My piece of advice is to engage in as many activities as you can. Join societies, meet your flatmates’ friends, talk to your coursemates even if you don’t feel extremely comfortable to do so.

If there’s something that I’ve understood after these two semesters is that by engaging in this kind of activities, you’ll step into a new world made up of opportunities and networking possibilities. The reason why these events organised by the societies of your university or by the university itself are so important are the wide range of opportunities that follow from them. Internships, jobs, training events and so on.

I can promise you that by signing up to societies and engaging actively in something, no one will make fun of you at university. On the contrary, once you meet more people and make new friends, you will attract more and more people because everyone will see you as very friendly.

 -Last September, I joined the Tech Society and had some of my best moments at King’s with these guys-

Jumping to a total different topic, we’ve finished our term last Friday and now we have a month to revise for exams. At the moment, I’m doing a two-week spring internship at Goldman Sachs. I’ll fly back home soon and I’ll start my revision and I’ll post some tips to ace your finals!

Hope your last months in high school are going well, I know it can be really stressful but in a few months it will all be over – enjoy your last days there, I’ll see you next week 🙂

 

King’s Residences – applications open on Monday!

Hello again,

I hope you all had a lovely Easter – we had Good Friday and Monday off and today it’s the last day of term! In my 5-week break, I will be studying for the May exams and I’ll be doing a two-week internship at Goldman Sachs.

In this week’s post I will be talking about accommodation! King’s has different halls located in different areas of London. If you haven’t already, make sure you check out the official website and bear in mind that applications open on Monday!

I remember checking out pages like this so many times last year, and spending hours googling the names of the different halls to gather as much information as possible.

When filling in your application, you will be redirected to a form which you’ll have to complete. The process is pretty straight-forward: according to your answers, you will be assigned to one of your preferred halls. If you choose to live in an en-suite room (with private bathroom and shared kitchen) and not in a studio, you will share the living area with other King’s students.

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 19.50.06

According to your preferences, you will me made an offer at one of these accommodations

The accommodation that I was assigned to is Stratford One. Out of King’s accommodations, it’s the most far away but I don’t see this as a major problem. The accommodation is simply beautiful. It’s located in Stratford (the Olympics 2012 area) and it’s right in front of Westfield, one of the biggest malls in London. I share a huge kitchen with 8 people and we all have access to the common areas where there are table tennis and table football tables and three tv screens. We also have access to a beautiful room, the Sky Room. It’s on the 24th floor of the building and it has an amazing view on London.

The view from my kitchen :)

The view from my kitchen 🙂

When I was first assigned to Stratford One, I was concerned about the distance to the campuses but, to be honest, it’s only a 20 minute tube ride and the best thing is that I don’t have to change line (you will fully appreciate this once you move to London).

Good luck on your halls application! As always, if you have any questions you can leave a comment below or tweet me at @beabergami.

Have a lovely weekend and see you soon!

-Beatrice

Ready, Set, Go! – The Chronicles of an Informatics Student

Hello folks – my name is Beatrice and I’m a first year computer science with management student. I’ll be running this blog for the next few months to give you an insight into the life of an Informatics student at King’s. It’s been 6 months since I joined King’s and I think it’s finally time to sum up my experience so far.

At King’s I didn’t just find excellent professors and superb resources to complete my studies. I found a community of caring people who accepted me and treated me as if I had always been part of the family. Every lecturer is available at least once a week for the office hours. Additionally, there’s a number of teaching assistants willing to help you at any time.

Another fantastic aspect which undoubtedly influenced my university choice is the location; King’s has different campuses and they’re all located in the heart of London. I personally have my lectures at the Waterloo campus (conveniently located next to Waterloo station) and my tutorials and labs at the Strand. We’re neighbours with the Somerset House and the stunning Courtald Gallery and a few steps away from Covent Garden where you can fully be inspired by the magic London atmosphere and relax eating a gelato from Venchi or some delicious cookies from Ben’s Cookies.

I took this picture last December at the Somerset House!

I took this picture last December at the Somerset House!

But what has struck me the most about King’s is the infinite number of opportunities you are offered. During your first week, you’ll attend the Freshers’ Fair, where all the students’ societies introduce themselves to freshmen. My advice is to sign up to every single one you’re even slightly interested in. Of course, you will not be able to attend every event, but you don’t want to miss the opportunity of meeting incredible people with the same interests as yours. I joined the Tech Society and this has probably been the best thing that happened to me in these last months. We organise hackathons and workshops in which you can learn so much, from web to iOS and Android development. I find myself more and more encouraged to learn something new every day.

The stunning bridge that I cross every day - Waterloo Bridge - it connects the Strand and the Waterloo campuses.

The stunning bridge that I cross every day – Waterloo Bridge – it connects the Strand and the Waterloo campuses.

In conclusion, I think that there’s no single way to describe King’s. Your experience will include meeting amazing people and be inspired every day to improve yourself and it will entirely depend on your approach to your fresh new start. Shelby Foote once said ‘A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library’. But then again, Shelby Foote was never a King’s student.

See you next week with a new post. In the meantime, get in touch on twitter or instagram!

Let the Games—I mean, the Exams Begin!

Revision, revision, revision! That’s everything that’s been happening on this side, really, but it’s been great finding the lecturers very approachable and accommodating especially at this time of year! One of our lectures was even streamed online for students who were not yet back in the country, as our exams only start in two weeks.

But as we near the end of the year, I think I’ve chosen my favourite module so far: the Software Engineering Group (SEG) module. We got to work with a real client to build them a complex system that solves a problem they have. In fact, we built a nuclear medicine booking system for Chelsea & Westminster Hospital (yes, this was a graded project!) and they’re actually going to be using it next year! Credit Suisse, one of the world’s leading financial institutions, actually sponsors a prize for the best project, and the top three SEG teams were invited to present our project to them in Credit Suisse’s HQ! Best of all, the team I was in won! These kinds of experiences really give King’s students the upper hand when finding careers in the real world. We even met two King’s graduates who work at Credit Suisse right now, and they gave us a lot of useful advice for next year!

Part of the winning SEG team!

Part of the winning SEG team!

For those of you who have exams coming up, I wish you the best of luck! My advice is not to take a day off, do at least a few hours of work everyday to keep everything fresh in your mind!