I had mentioned on my previous blog that I would share my experiences with the first-year remote group project. Unlike previous first years who would have worked on building the ‘EEE Bug’, this year the nature of the group project was completely transformed and the cohort was given a choice between designing an analogue music synthesiser, designing a CPU with computational abilities and programming a circuit simulator package in C++. My two teammates and I (each of one of us in completely different time zones, with the maximum difference being 6 hours!) decided on the option of designing a general-purpose CPU on Quartus Prime, with the ability to execute a vast majority of computational algorithms.
Work and assessments at Imperial are continuous, but completing the final summer exams does feel like a milestone. Ever since my frantic air travel from London to Jakarta, worries, and concerns regarding the future of the summer exams were indeed the forefront concern in my mind. The only indication given in the initial weeks was that the exams were to be “remote, formal and written”. My daily morning ritual was (and still is) to check my phone and scroll through the email inbox to find out whether the daily update emails were of any relevance to me.
Nature and Style of the Exams
Then came a series of emails from the EEE Department regarding the style and nature of the exams and for most modules (Mathematics, Signals & Communications, Analysis & Design of Circuits, Digital Electronics & Computer Architecture):
- The exam papers would be most similar to what we would’ve received under normal exam hall conditions
- The exam paper would be timed for the same duration as a normal written exam would have been for that module.
I promise you this is not going to be yet another standard blog about the medical or biological nature of COVID-19 and it’s physiological and socio-economic impact – I am sure you all have been reading plenty of well-researched, well-articulated articles across the world written by experts, including a report published by our very own Imperial College London which many news articles claim was the prime catalyst for the UK and US administrations to step up their actions against the spread of COVID-19! My intention, however, is to reflect on what I have learnt from the ancient epics and scriptures from my traditions and culture and what it taught me about the attitude and mindset one needs amidst this global war.
Back home in my international school in Indonesia, things were really different from Imperial in many ways. One of the most striking differences was the reputation of owning a Macbook. Would anyone here at Imperial even believe that my school in 2015 had actually proposed a rule “strongly encouraging” (practically imposing) the use of a Macbook as opposed to any other device? A lot of parents actually complained against this new policy and drafted petitions against this imposition and as a result, the school silently softened its stance. Nevertheless, my school has been recognized as an Apple Distinguished School for two consecutive terms (6 years).
Many of you are aware that since Thursday, the 20th of February 2020, around 50,000 lecturers, technicians, librarians and other academic and support staff at 74 universities are taking part in a total of 14 days of strike action, staggered through February and March, which will potentially affect about 1.2 million students through lost lectures and tutorials. The inclusion of Imperial College London came after the second round of ballet, where a majority of the staff voted for strike action due to pension and pay-related issues. The strike action is due to last till the 13th of March, with a gradually increasing number of strike days each week.
Disclaimer: Views expressed below are based my own experiences and are not intended to hurt anyone 🙂
As a traditional Indian living in London and recently moved out of Jakarta (Indonesia), I have thus far been part of three very distinct “worlds”. Below is a screenshot of a map showing all the places I’ve lived in so far. Interestingly, each of the countries I have lived in so far is different and at times ‘contradictory’ in multiple areas, from dietary habits and lifestyle to societal mindset and their respective systems.
India: It goes without saying that given the massive population and size of my country (with over 1.3 billion people who speak over 1000 languages and belong to various religions!),
Welcome to Round 2 of the Imperial Survival Challenge! Getting back into the ‘zone’ after weeks of slacking off and chilling on the couch during Christmas break does take a lot (especially if you forgot how to write over Christmas :))
Start of Autumn Term
I remembered what the start of the Autumn term looked like. All the “freshers week” events, so-called ice-breakers, socials and “introduction” lectures to the various courses ran through my exhausted mind. The time I got to spend with new faces, exploring the city and attempting to sort out finances (clearly didn’t work for the first few weeks, thanks to my amazing cooking skills).