This has come rather late as I just made a decision and got back from Colchester on Saturday with new plans for my higher education. I have decided to switch from studying environmental and natural sciences at University of East Anglia for Electronics and Computer Science at University of Essex.
The trip to Colchester was a very nice but long journey and when I got there I had a free shuttle bus to campus. I found a brilliant vibrant and lovely metropolitan university with all the facilities that I need to better myself. The university has a good engineering and science programme here with a workshop devoted to geeks who like to play with toys. That’s my kind of work. I had a look around the electronics department and found a collection of robots and machines they made for testing and development in robotics and electronics. Some of the alumni here have gone on to work for designing things that have gone into space or won a Formula One race.
The university’s sports team is also a lot more active than the sports clubs here at UEA. Although they haven’t got a sports centre as big as the Norwich Sportspark it’s got some great character and has just the right resources for budding athletes. The university’s sports teams call themselves the Essex Blades. A very appropriate name for a campus that bears the name of the county’s flag with it’s Saxon knifes. The archery club here is a lot more liberal as well. The club shoots outdoors as well as indoors. Looking at the map the university has a vast outdoor recreational ground perfect for runners who like to shake a leg any time of the day and take in that Essex countryside. And I know one runner who might give a boost to my spirits if I become an Essex Blades archer. The sports development manager of this university is an Olympian from the London 2012 games called Dominic King. I told him about my ambitions and how determined I was to make something of myself so that I can also become one of UoE’s elite alumni.
This university fits in well with my ambitious wild imagination. The prospectus has on the cover ‘Rebels with a cause’. Breaking the rules since 1964. I am a rebel and geek as well and I know just what to do here. This might be a change of study but I know what I am capable of now. When I started at the Open University back in 2007 I was a recreational learner only in the OU for fun with no formal set degree plan. I took the wrong courses to begin with but as I went on I realise I was wasting my time and I needed to go to become a full time student. I was focusing on physics and maths but little did I realise I was trying to be too clever. My problem is I don’t plan properly, I never seem to be able to narrow down my options. My current field of study is physics and maths. But I am not really all that excited about it because it’s got too much maths and I don’t practice it often enough. I only ever went into it in the first place because it seemed to be connected to my other passions engineering, astronomy, and natural environmental science. What kind of career options have physics graduates got anyway? Well I had a look at where physics graduates went in 2014. Most of them went to work in business and administration and others went into further study burying their heads in textbooks mostly doing research projects for laboratory work. I don’t want to be working indoors in a stuffy old office doodling equations and formula trying to prove how atoms behave. I don’t want to become a science teacher neither. I want a physics degree with a practical application that take me to workshops and laboratories in space science, planetary exploration, electronics and software development, automotive and aerospace research and development.
I am quite comfortable to ditch one field for another. Although I have a broad range of interests in science and technology I need to be straightforward about my choice of speciality. Most scientists do one type of science academically and are active in another field recreationally. Take William Derham for example, he was a theologian by trade and practiced botany and physics recreationally. Then there’s Richard Carrington, brewery was his profession but he was an astronomer as a hobbyist. I spoke with a student called Matt who is studying electronics engineering and he also studies astrophysics recreationally. I could do better to train as an electronics engineer and study astronomy and physics for fun. Besides I am already an engineer as a hobbyist. I build PCB kits for fun, I tinker with computers, I am building a 3D Printer and I could help start the 3D printing consumer revolution. I am also trying to master computer programming. Anyone for a vocation in life should look at their hobbies and interests. I once read a report that children’s choice of toys determine their career ambitions. I played with Lego, Airfix and Hornby Railways when I was young. The clue in becoming an engineer is in there.
I spoke to the admissions team at the open day and as it turns out there is no chance of a formal transfer at all. Instead I will have to make a new application on UCAS for myself and start again from scratch. However to something to fall back on I’m going to have to get a reference from UEA to get that restriction off the OU. They put a restriction preventing from applying for any further OU courses due to the three successive failures I made in 2013 and 2014. I am missing distance learning already.