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Throwback to School

I visited my high school the other day and it was such a surreal experience to think I’d left 4 years ago, but really it hadn’t felt like I’d left at all. Seeing my tutor and the Heads of A-level was so great to catch up with them, still the same old humour and supportiveness that I’d received at school.

I’d learnt that last year my school was unable to continue IT A-level because it had stopped existing by the exam board and because there wasn’t enough IT teachers to cover it, but they informed me that they are going to be bringing it back to my high school as a BTEC course. I’m so glad they’ve decided to bring it back because I personally felt that it was limiting the students, if I was a student there I probably wouldn’t have gone elsewhere for A-levels just because they’d stopped that one subject and it may not have led to what I’ve achieved over the last 4 years and the excitement I’ve found in IT and STEM.

With a lot of changes recently in government and the change to GCSEs, it’s left educators even more so chasing paperwork than concentrating on actual educating. I know the government are trying to entice STEM teacher training, but why would the majority of STEM graduates choose teaching over industry if the starting salary is at least £5K a year more in industry. I know it’s not all about money, but to live comfortable after university and be able to afford a house within several years, industry has to be chosen. Personally, I do want to go into teaching at some point in my career, but I want to gain industry experience before I do.

It can also be said that the people in charge of the curriculums do not understand STEM subjects (flashback to Mark Zukerberg’s hearing about Facebook) and the constant changing and innovation within them, this is why it’s hard to teach them because there’s so much content to cover… maybe they could and should, be split even further?

Regardless, of how STEM is being told to be taught or being taught, it’s apparent that it’s becoming more of a priority. 🤓

What else do you think the government or schools themselves can do to engage more students in STEM?

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Degree Results

From the moment you finish your final exam until the moment you receive your results is a nerve wracking time, however much calculating of grades you’ve done and pep talks you and others have given to yourself, it is always on your mind.

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A week ago I woke up very early morning to the news that I had achieved First Class Honours in Business Computing with Professional Practice BSc and an A* in my dissertation… it still feels very surreal! I’ve loved school and it feels weird that for now education has come to an end.

When I found out my result I was in Cornwall on a family holiday, staying with my grandparents whilst my parents were in their caravan at another site. So I went straight into my grandparents and told them, they hopped straight out of bed and then we spontaneously got ready and drove over to my Mum and Dad’s caravan to tell them… about 6am! The reactions of my family definitely were the best bit about achieving the result.

The messaging between all my friends from my course and finding out what others had achieved throughout that day was fun, very proud of my peers and how hard they have worked over the last 3/4 years! Especially finding out my tutor group’s dissertation grades was such a nice moment after spending many hours with them over the year. Cannot wait for graduation in a month’s time and to thank the staff of the Computer Science Department for all of their support over the last 4 years in person.

I know for sure that my experiences and my degree has set me up well for my future, and I will always be thankful for that.

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A Week It’s Been…

It’s been a week since I finished my last university exam and drove off to fly to Amsterdam where I had one of the best weekends ever, with some amazing friends.

When I returned to England, I came back to my parent’s house and went out for a meal to celebrate finishing university with my parents, sister, boyfriend and both sets of grandparents. I’m very lucky to have such a huge support system.

I then returned to Uxbridge on Wednesday to have lunch with my colleagues from GSK, nearly a year after I left and it’s great to be catching up with them, weird to not know whether I’ll see them again or not. That evening I went out for another meal with my dissertation group and tutor (Team Rob ftw!) which was great and we had such a laugh, really great way to end the year after all our worries and stress regarding our dissertation and the encouragement we got from our tutor.

Thursday was a great day too, I met up with a friend and we took her gorgeous little girl to a soft play area and out shopping! Later on I had a WCIT dinner at the Waterman’s Hall, which was magnificent to celebrate diversity and inclusion, much to my surprise I was sat at the top table and was mentioned in the Master’s speech, I very much appreciated his and everyone’s kind words. It’s really nice to be a part of that community!

Friday again was busy, met my friend for breakfast and then we helped with the Level 2 transition day for our department, anybody who knows me knows I love to talk, and I really do love chatting about how I found my placement year and this past year of university, giving them advice which I hope will be of value. I was also able to see one of my mentors, David Barker, on campus promoting the Placer app at the Brunel Careers Fair. After I rushed off to pack up my room into my car (not sure how it all managed to fit in my little Seat Ibiza), handed in my keys, and drove off into the distance. I am officially moved back to Hertfordshire now!

It’s been a hectic week but I love to be busy, better than having nothing to do!

(Now off to Corfu for a few days to actually relax… with nothing to do but read a good book whilst tanning)

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What’s The Point Of Wearable Technology?

Originating as pedometers, wearable technologies have advanced to the point where the Apple Watch Series 3 can remove the need for a mobile phone!

My Apple Watch enables me to track my daily exercise and since I’ve had it, I’ve definitely noticed how I can do more each day, even little improvements like making sure I move around a minimum of 12 hours a day and exercise enough to meet the goals that I’ve set on it. It reminds me to keep pushing myself during my daily routine.

Even better is the example of how a FitBit has helped my Nan to improve her health in the last 6 months by being able to track steps, sleep and for her to be able to track that on her phone. If she has not done 5,000 steps in a day, she takes the dog out for an extra walk and it’s great to witness how technology has aided her to do this.

There are many HCI research papers studying how wearable technologies can improve the lives by being a motivation to do more.

Wearable tech is also used in other ways… When my boyfriend ran the Berlin Marathon in September 2017, we were able to track his location on the route through a clip on his shoe laces, through an app that we could download. This made the whole day even better because we were able to know where he would be so we could go there and see him and his brother, and track their times.

The reason I love technology is because of the endless opportunities it presents and how it can help people, the better tech gets the more people it can make an impact to in little to big ways.

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#eSociety

As a previous post shared to you all, in February I was fortunate enough to win the Outstanding IT Student Award 2018 given by the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists (WCIT). Since then I have been getting involved with the WCIT and have met some great people, one of them being David Barker who has agreed to be a mentor to me. Upon meeting him he gave me his book, #eSociety, to read and I want to encourage you all to read it also, not because he is my mentor but because I related to a lot of what he wrote.

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As well as some great entrepreneurial business techniques that can be learnt from #eSociety, the book can remind us all that through the hardships, unfairness and down-right bad luck which everybody meets both personally and professionally at some point in their lives; there’s always options we have to choose from for how we can drive ourselves through these adversities and some may not be obvious. A mixture of faith, personal and business life all wrapped into one inspirational book. I can relate to some aspects even at this point in my life, having to persevere through education when my Mum’s health has been bad has been difficult, but I choose the path to be there for my family whilst pursuing further education, it could have been easy to go in another direction. Other parts of the book detailing David’s business ventures and continual goal for providing support to the unemployed youth, showed to me how having a passion to work towards is important and to stop at nothing if it is something you truly believe in. It was also really interesting to learn more about how David has got to the place he has got, the odds were against him growing up and if it wasn’t for an opportunity of a business giving him a chance and a government programme to provide that, there is no knowing where his life would have led.

Throughout #eSociety, the message “power of networking” rings through, something that I’m really getting into and enjoying, with the help of the WCIT, an organisation which also aided David in working on his social entrepreneur goals. I would encourage you all to go to networking events, meet as many people as you can, because you never know what may come from making a good impression, to people who will remember.

Overall, it was a great read in understanding how somebody else got to where they are, learn about other’s hardships and successes; and through everything be optimistic that there was a goal they were meant to pursue.

 

If you would also like to read #eSociety, you can find it on Amazon.

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Is STEM pushing aside the creatives?

A recent article debates whether the recent emphasis on STEM subjects at school is pushing aside the creative subjects like Art and Music.

My response to this is no it’s not, it may seem that in schools this is happening, but in industry they coincide… especially technology. For example, a mobile application company will only survive if its apps are user friendly and it has good marketing… which is produced by the “creatives”. Another example would be music producers, they use and need technology to create the latest number 1 song and promote it.

Although even myself, in person and on this blog, discuss the importance of going into a STEM job, this does not mean that anybody should narrow themselves down to only studying or being interested in STEM areas. Personally, I love to paint in my spare time and read fiction novels, this only helps me in my IT degree and job… I know what colours compliment each other for a website and how to write reports.

This is why STEM is great, because it not only plays a huge part in other industries/roles/jobs but they all feed into STEM too, it brings so many components together.

Take a look at the article and see what you think 🙂

http://www.cityam.com/283206/debate-we-over-focusing-stem-expense-creative-skills