In a few weeks our end-of-year exams will be held. These determine who gets to keep their scholarships and who has a better academic record to show when seeking positions for the placement year etc.
In our university, nine-tenths of the marks allocated for each module are from these final exams. Since we do not have exams in the first semester of the first year, we have a year's worth of material to study.
All around me, I can see students either in a state of panic or reasonable calm depending on how much revision they did in the month-long Easter break that we got. I would say I fall somewhere between the two. It's very likely that the number of students pulling off all-nighters to complete the final few assignments and revise will increase.
In my last diary entry, I mentioned how I was facing a steep learning curve in the electronics lab. I am doing better this semester, and am currently working on our first year project. The task assigned to us is to make a particular piece of lab equipment from scratch - from designing the circuit board to the final box design and documentation for the equipment.
While I enjoy working in the labs on the technical implementation of the project, I have also enjoyed the guided design lectures aimed at helping us understand the various aspects of project management and steps involved in designing a product. You really start seeing electronic items in a new light, sometimes trying to analyse what thought process went into making the gadget during its design stage.
It's not all been work though. Nights out in the students union with friends from my own and other courses give the perfect opportunity to let off some steam. Then there are all the clubs that I joined.
Working at the student union newspaper as copy editor comes with the crazy deadlines expected of working in a newspaper - and in the new semester I also took on additional roles of technology section editor and web administrator.
Similarly, things are hectic in my role at the student union TV too, but I am glad that we are gradually being recognised as "the press" on campus. My work there ties in nicely with academics too - I can learn something in media engineering labs and go out and practise doing that in real life, so there's a really good synergy between academics and working with student media on campus.
The president of the IET, Professor Christopher Snowden - who is also the Vice-Chancellor of our university - held an address here recently as a part of an IET On Campus initiative.
The talk was on the past, present, and future of semiconductor technology. Apart from being informative about what latest research is being done, I think the most interesting aspects of the talk involved the economic and political discussions surrounding electronics - and what the IET is doing to further research and development in the industry. It's good to stay clued in about what's happening in the industry from one of the most prominent people involved. For the moment though, revisions will keep me busy for next few weeks. See you on the other side of final exams.