Tag Archives: Scottish Resource Centre

Ding ding, Year 2!

Ah, it’s really good to be back at uni and so lovely to catch up with friends.  It’s funny though how the summer months seem to drag, but once you get the first week of classes out of the way it feels like you never left.  For those of us working at the uni over the summer though, we’ve all commented on how weird it is that the corridors are full of fellow students again and appreciate how the permanent members of staff feel when we all start piling into the campus in September.

It still feels a bit weird to be a second year student, but I’m getting used to it.  Already I’m feeling the weights and responsibilities starting to dangle from above, so I’m determined to keep on top of things this year and keep the extra curricular stuff to a minimum – I have a real problem with saying “No” sometimes!  Saying that, there’s already so much going on I’ve decided to make a bullet list, at the very least to remind me of what I’m meant to be doing:

In addition to all this, I’ve also got to find time for my family and studies – who’d be a mature student!

Connect

Last week was Freshers week, which was busy but really enjoyable.  Maria (the engineering student champion) and I worked the Connect Stand at the Freshers Fair and were really pleased with the amount of women stopping by for a chat and some freebies.  We also heavily promoted the group’s Welcome Event on the 13th of September, which seemed to have worked quite well judging by the amount of women who came along.  It was so heartening to see lots of existing students mingling with the newcomers, proving that our wee network is definitely growing.  I’m really looking forward to the next event, which should be even more fun with our new members.

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I also helped out at Aberdeen College‘s Freshers Fair on the 4th of September, which was really fun.  We got talking to lots of lovely people and gathered some new members for the group, plus the sun actually came out!  In Aberdeen!  This is the stuff of legend, folks.

Once more into the breach

It’s just occurred to me as I get to this point in my post that I really am good at keeping myself busy!  I don’t care though; I enjoy being involved in so many things and if it complements my studies then that’s even better.

Time to dig out the old textbooks and do some work, now that Visual Studio has finally stopped updating; Microsoft has a lot to answer for sometimes!  I’m so glad we had that mini break in Blackpool at the weekend, I’m going to need all the energy I can muster…

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What I did on my holidays

I wish my holidays could have been as full of adventure as Twoflower‘s, but I reckon there’s still time!  I’ve been doing an awful lot to keep myself occupied over the academic break though, but with a lot less dragons and swords and sorcery to keep me occupied. Oh no, wait, that’s a lie because I finally finished reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series (Game of Thrones to the reprobates), but I digress…

So we’re now into August and my summer holiday is almost over.  At the end of the academic year in May I decided to keep myself busy as I didn’t want to spend the summer lazing around eating crisps and watching telly.  Alright, so a large part of my evenings have involved corn based snacks and attempting to make space on the Sky+ box (so much to watch, so little time and HDD space), but I’ve done other things too!

The first thing I wanted to do is keep my brain turning by teaching myself some scripting, C# and SQL in preparation for second year and I’ve spent a lot of enjoyable afternoons working on these via Code Academy, ProgZoo and SQLZoo.  Although I’m not a software engineer at heart, I do think that it’s important to have at least a basic grounding in this area and as a networker I’m going to have to learn scripting at some point.  I know a few people on my course who would disagree with me here, but sys admin isn’t all about typing sudo yum into a terminal and eating pizza, guys.  If only it was though *sighs*.  I’ve also been messing around with the likes of AWS to learn more about cloud services, which has also been a really useful exercise.

I’ve also been doing a lot of work – yes, actual paid work, who’d have thunk it?  Half of my work schedule has seen me working with my husband, who set up a web consultancy business after he graduated last year (he does more than websites, so if you’re looking for a talented developer he’s your man *nudge nudge*).  I’ve also been working with the Scottish Resource Centre on a part time basis, which has been really educational and thoroughly enjoyable.  Having a small child to entertain through the summer months means I can’t really work on a full time basis, so the flexibility of both jobs has been perfect – keeping just one child entertained for seven weeks is hard work!  If she had her way she would spend her entire summer holidays glued to Minecraft; I play too, but when you find yourself demolishing a mountain for the giggles it’s time to put the Xbox controller down…

MATT DAMON!

Speaking of gaming, I found my old PS2 and a box of games while clearing out a wardrobe, hurray!  Luckily the main television has an analogue tuner in it so it was a simple case of plugging in the RF cable, tuning the telly to channel 36 and going on a FFX binge.  Good times.

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The best bit about the holidays though has been the time to work on the home projects.  We turned our Raspberry Pi into a media server using XBMC, making streaming from the network drive a doddle.  However, there comes a time when a household like ours needs better connectivity and so I’ve planned out a proper home network for us, using the old PC as a server.  We desperately need a decent wifi network upstairs too (concrete floors and a bejesusload of cavity wall insulation does not make for a strong wifi signal from the router downstairs), so I’ve made a wishlist of hardware to buy in September (UK based students will know).  Sadly the spare router fell over and died while being used to broadcast a secondary WAP, but I guess you can’t expect a cheap router from your previous ISP to last any longer than three years, never mind six…

XBMC on our telly

So there you have it.  The weather’s been great, work is fun and I’ve been spending lots of time with the wee one.  In preparation for the madness of September I’m going to sit back, enjoy some relaxation time and Film4’s Studio Ghibli season.

Interconnect Student Champion

 

Interconnect

 

Recently I applied for the position of 2013-14 Interconnect Student Champion for Edinburgh Napier University.  I got the job; huzzah!

The job involves promoting and developing Interconnect activities and events working with staff and liaising with my fellow students.  On a more local level I’ll also be working on promoting Connect within the university with the lovely Maria, who will be representing the engineers.  As there are a few champions dotted around the country, we will be meeting several times throughout the year to discuss our collective experiences and our thoughts on how the network is developing both local and nationally.

I’m slightly nervous as the role is brand new and I want to set a good precedent for the future, however I’m also very excited as if my ideas work they might be used for years to come!  I really am looking forward to getting stuck in though and coercing encouraging more female students to get involved with the network.  My involvement with Interconnect last year was a huge confidence booster (being a female student in the School of Computing can get lonely at times) and it’s great to have such a wonderful support network to turn to, so if I can get the word out there to new and existing students Interconnect will hopefully be as beneficial to them as it is to those of us who are currently involved.  We might even be able to convince more women in study computing or engineering, which would really be fantastic.

Here’s to a successful 2013-14!

 

Edinburgh Napier Applicants Day 2013

Connect

Saturday saw me spending a very enjoyable – if freezing cold – morning helping to man (woman?) the Scottish Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology (SRC) stand at Edinburgh Napier University’s Applicants Day.

For the uninitiated, the SRC runs Connect, the Napier branch of Interconnect, a national networking group for female STEM students.  We set up our stand with the aim to speak with as many potential female students as possible and tell them all about our experiences with the group.

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In addition to applicants getting the opportunity to speak with us fabulous reps about how much fun we have being members of Connect, we laid on lots of information and freebies (the mind maps were designed by schoolkids for a sister project).  These babies went down rather well too:

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Engineering sweeties!  Oh yeah!

All in all it was a pretty successful day, with lots of applicants and staff alike stopping by for a chat and a lemon flavoured spanner.  The women we spoke with were mainly engineers so I didn’t get much of a chance to sell the School of Computing, however we all had a great time discussing why groups like Connect are so beneficial for female STEM students.  The main thing that came out of the discussions we had with applicants is that we all enjoy being part of such a lovely, friendly and resourceful network of women from lots of different disciplines.  After all, who can argue with cake, coffee and a good old moan about coding?