Our grantees| Lukáš Knápek| The second year and autumn activities
14. November 2017 Lukáš Knápek

The second year and autumn activities

My second year at the University of Glasgow had begun with panicking and frustration well before the teaching period started. I, rather naively, delayed flathunting until the end of August/start of September. To my surprise, I found that the demand was significantly higher than the supply. This marked the start of a several week-long period during which I responded to as many room renting ads as possible, then lowered my standards and then did all of that a couple more times. Luckily, I  managed to find myself a room until the end of this academic year. Its disadvantage is that it it is about 30 minute walk to the university campus. The advantage is that all my school days now come with a built-in exercise.

The second year started rather nonchalantly and we were told to expect higher workload and more difficult courses. Two months later I have to say that the warning was rather accurate. Most of my time is now dedicated to studying (and also getting ready for the winter exam period, little by little). On the other hand, I have the opportunity to study new and more interesting courses. This semestr, I decided to keep studying Mathematics (alongside mandatory Computer Science subjects) which I had studied in the first year along with Electronic Engineering. And although as a Computer Science student I spend most of my time studying Mathematics subjects (after all, my Algorithmic Foundations lecturer told us the subject is really about Discrete Mathematics), I have few reasons to complain. I have not been this intellectually stimulated so far and personally, I think that is a good thing.

In contrast with my last year, I decided to participate more in various student societies. For this purpose I chose two of them – the Glasgow University Tech Society (GUTS) and the Glasgow University Game Development Society (GUDEV). The main events of these societies in this semester are two 48-hour hackathons two weeks in row. I decided to go to both of them.

And so, during the first weekend I went to GameJam, two-day event organized by GUDEV. Within the two days, we had to form teams, come up with an idea for a computer game and then implement it. Me and my team worked very hard and our game The Cool Fox Guys earned us the second place (you can find the game here – https://github.com/Mabufudyne/The-Cool-Fox-Guys). Although it was a physically demanding event (sleep was not the highest priority), I  had a lot of fun and I also discovered that I might actually enjoy developing games some time in the future.

The next week I went to the second hackathon called Do You Have The GUTS? Once again, we formed teams and completed challenges issued by various IT companies located in Glasgow. There were companies such as Amazon, J. P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley and others. In our team, we decided to create a program to tackle the issue of fake news. And although our numbers dwindled during the course of the event, the three  of us that were left demoed our creation. Even though we did not reach the top places, we gained a lot of experience regardless.

It will probably not come as a surprise that I managed to accumulate significant sleep debt. Afterwards I had to catch up on plenty of course material, which is a process that I have finished just recently. In the hindsight, I still think it was worth it. Opportunities like these are one of the reasons why I decided to study here in the first place and they are at least as good as the study itself. On that note, I am looking forward to the next semester.

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