Getting Better

Just to let you all know that I feel a lot better now, still have the odd moment, but on the whole feeling more like myself.


The morning’s activities were exciting. I had an introductory talk to welcome the Electronic Engineers into the Faculty. They said the usual stuff about how university was about managing work and leisure, and a few things about how the course works. Then had a wonder around before having a few more talks about Mentoring, the Library and the Students Union. All very valuable.


I’m having trouble with the Internet at the moment, apparently the switch that serves my court is not working properly, so I can access some websites, but not others. Skype works, but I can’t got onto the St Mary’s Website or Google. I can get on my blog, however. Hopefully everything will be up and running in the next few hours.


As for the maths test, It was fairly straight forward. It was done on computers, so you get your score immediately. I’ve got 84% (21 out of 25) which will hopefully be enough to get me on the higher maths lectures. I only want to do this because the lower maths group have more lectures, and a few quite early in the morning. I find out which group i’m in on wednesday, so I will update you then as to how my timetable looks.


For the rest of the day i’m going to a Job Shop at 4pm and then another meet & greet at 5pm. After that I have to do some shopping and maybe have a look around town.

The BIG Day

Got up at 8:45am, after getting myself organised and packing a few last things (coat) I went to church.
Church was great! The sermon was about learning to let go and go for something, very approapriate. There was also a notice for me and I got given two st mary’s mugs.
After church, and saying my goodbyes, we returned home to pack the car. After much thought and careful planning, the car was full and ready to go.
At 2pm we arrived at Uni. By this point I was feeling a bit sick, but we still managed to unload the car into a big tent. We then walked to reception and I got my keys, ect.
Then we moved all my things (21 boxes in total) into my new home. Met a few of my new room-mates (more on those another time) and got unpacking. The unpacking process was very emotional for me, it was the moment when everything dawned on me and I was very overwhelmed for about 20 minutes. Eventually, we got the room into a liveable state with most things unpacked.
Goodbyes. Now this was alot more difficult than I thought is was going to be. I won’t go into specifics because I think you can all figure out what that means.
Parents finally left me outside my faculty building where I went to meet people on my course. Still feeling uneasy. I met two other people and we hung out for about an hour talking. I started to feel a bit better. We then went for a walk around, to the shop on campus and then the kitchen of one of my new friends. We stayed there, talking for another hour. Finally went back to my room about 6:30 and properly met with my room-mates.
At 7:15 we had a briefing about living in halls, fire safety and the Student’s Union. When that finished at about 8pm we went back to our room.
By this point I felt comfortable nough to force-feed myself a pot noodle. At 9:45pm I went out, with a load of girls in my house and another house nearby, to Rubix, the Student’s Union nightclub. Because I still wasn’t feeling 100% I didn’t hae anything to drink. It was a good night talking and dancing.
Getting back to my room about 1am and went straight to bed. The nights sleep was awful, I kept waking up and feeling queasy.
Got up this morning at 8am, force-fed myself some cereal and orange juice. I now have a full day planned, staring with a welcome talk at 9:30am. Maths test this afternoon that I need to be awake for and then another meet and greet in the evening.
Hope I survive. I am really enjoying myself, but my stomach seems pretty intent on spoiling the party. If I was a betting man I would say is was home-sickness, but whatever it is, it better not outstay its welcome.
A short video of yesterday’s events to follow soon.

So Long And Thanks For All The Fish

Cya Later! I’m off!
OK, OK. You got me. I’m still here, but only for a few more hours, come lunchtime sunday, I’m on the long road to Guildford!
I’ve taken a few pictures of all my valuables in boxes and bags for your viewing pleasure. Its quite a sad sight, but very exciting at the same time. Ohhh, it’s an emotional puzzle!
I’ll hopefully get some video tomorrow to share with you all. The adventure is really about to begin!

Packing Update

Today has been the first day i’ve actually felt that i’ve got somewhere with the packing. I’ve now got all of my clothes sorted except the coat hangers, and who knows what i’m going to do with those. I also went shopping for a few kitchen items I didn’t have, like a baking tray and a knife. While I was out I bought food for the first few days of university: just pasta, biscuits and a pot noodle, what more do you need!
As for everything else, which at the moment is pretty much everthing, it is mostly lying on by bedroom floor waiting to be directed into boxes. The main effort is going to happen tomorrow, so its just preporations for then when eveything needs to be sorted, boxed or bagged and then labelled. Fun, Fun, Fun!
Only two days to go now!

The Course & Campus

The University of Surrey campus is located a mere 10 minutes walk from Guildford train station. The town centre is only 15 minutes walk away and there is a Tesco 5 minutes in the other direction. But, if your not keen on walking, the campus as a fair few tricks of its own. There is a students union (called Rubix) along with a number of restaurants, cafés and bars. The gym on campus is going to be one of my favourite places to be because of its HUGE climbing wall surrounding the basketball court. The gym also has all the usual facilities you can expect such as weights, courts, machines and courses. The university are currently building a new gym and other sports facilities in a brand new complex just off campus that will include, amongst other things, a new climbing wall and full-sized olympic swimming pool. You can find out more about this project at I will hopefully find out more about the clubs and such on offer at the gym during the next week or so.
As for the course, I am studying Digital Media Engineering MEng, which is essentially Electronic Engineering with modules on Audio and Visual Media. The media part of the course is focused on how to utilise modern technology to create digital media that can entertain, engage and educate an audience. The term ‘digital media’ can be used to describe animation, broadcasts, film, online video, special effects, websites, games and motion capture. However, the media side of the course is less apparent in the first year of study where the focus is learning the basics of electronic and signal engineering and mathematical engineering concepts.
In total, the couse is 5 years long. That breaks down as 3 years for the core course, a year out in industry and a final year for the masters course. The way they work it is that the year in industry happens in my 3rd year, essentially splitting up the couse into:
Year 1  —  Year 2  —  Year In Industry  —  Year 3  —  Masters Year
For me, the course and the campus were the two key features of Surrey that stood it apart from anywhere else. The course is only in its 4th year, but it was created to meet the demands of companies who had been asking for a course like it for years. And the campus is very self-contained, and where is doesn’t provide, local facilities are only a stone’s throw away.

What Does a Student Need?

It’s an age-old question, albeit a young age: What does a student need nowadays? A 52-inch widescreen plasma TV with Sky HD, 12.1 Surround sound, the latest £4,000 laptop and, of course, a pillow. But what else?

The popular choice is cooking equipment, and everyone has their favourites. I’ve gone for a very basic sandwich toaster for two simple reasons:

1) I got one for my birthday, and

2) It doesn’t require a degree in food technology to use! Perfect!

Besides from that I have also got the usual suspects: Cutlery, pots, pans, a whisk (now there’s a story), bottle opener (essential, apparently) and a can opener (otherwise how would I open the beans?)

Onto the bathroom! Shaver (because women love a close shave) and a towel. Seriously, what else do you need?

Finally, the most important room for any student, the bedroom. Technology-wise I am equipped with a desktop, laptop, camcorder and MP3 player. Most people would see this as overkill but because I am studying a relatively technology-rich course I have opted to take both a laptop for lecture notes and on the move, and a desktop for the serious coursework.

An obvious omission from this list is a TV, and this is because my computer can now double-up as a TV, to save space. This is an interesting decision actually. Because of the small nature of a student room it would be ridiculous to have a computer and a TV, so the decision is instead to either get a TV tuner card for your computer or forgo the TV altogether and use BBC iPlayer and the TV in the common room or your friend’s room to watch the occasional programme. The advantage of the latter is cost: you don’t need to pay for a TV licence. For now I am decided on the first option, but I will hold off and see if I get a good enough TV signal in my room before I start to pay the TV licence fee.

Whether I need all of the items above are debateable but I’d guess that you have most, if not all, of the thing listed.

The countdown is down to 4 days, and I still have a lot to do.


Charles Gray MPhil BEng