Well as with most blogs dedicated to the chronicling of University there have been sporadic posts at best during the hectic and intense second year. I suppose the need for the first project to be a team blog and then the second major project to be under and mock NDA means that there was little that I could post about, but more often than not there was hardly time to post about things. Yet I think that is the trouble with most blogs and for most wannabe bloggers, when you have material to blog about you don’t have the time to blog! 🙂
Anyway the second project of the second year was a very insightful and interesting learning experience, and to be honest it is not one that I would like to repeat any time soon or share on such a public forum. However horrible the experience was there was some good too and it was certainly a lesson in team work that will stick with me, or at least take some time to come to terms with. It has certainly made myself and many others think about how we are to approach the tasks ahead in the third year. Despite the issues with the previous project I cannot stress how useful it was to learn by mistake and to go through unpleasant experiences with people to learn how to cope. Personally I could have done with skipping some of this learning as there were areas in my personal life that seemed to be providing the same one at the same time. Yet I am told that this particular project in the second year is designed to be like this and is always reffered to as the ‘train wreck’ as it never goes smoothly, I guess not everyone carries the curse of ‘May you live in interesting times…’ 🙂 However it is all done and dusted now, the project and the personal issues, what I do want to talk about was my results and my dissertation plan.
The not often talked about side of this certain degree is the written part, there is a lot of importance on the practical lessons and output, which makes sense as how else are you going to effectively going to showcase your game design skills? Yet it is the written side that I am equally, if not slightly more, interested in as we progress. I have always struggled with academic writing, and my unknown to me until a few years ago, dyslexia didn’t help. Yet when the opportunity arises in the past few years I have been getting very good marks for my essays, not only on this course but also while I was at Sussex before hand. After experiencing a stricter more academic University setting at Sussex, Newport couldn’t have felt more relaxed. However the expectation and the hope of the tutors seems to be the same and they certainly do encourage students to try and achieve that higher academic status that is probably not normally expected or found often on a course like this.
The dissertations of previous years are available in the library and I have skimmed through a few while desperately trying to get inspiration for my own. Two things are apparent, firstly the standard set by previous students is high secondly this highlighted to me my biggest failing when it comes to academic writing, actually getting started. I maybe able to get 70% in essays when I put my mind to it at Sussex and I maybe able to get the highest marks possible for the first essay I handed in at Newport, I still lack the motivation and inspiration to actually get started, so I always end up rushing things, not a situation I want to be in for this particular piece of writing.
This was most apparent on the first essay required in the second year, and I have to admit that I can’t even remember what it was about off the top of my head at the moment. It was rushed, not well laid out, not well researched and also got the lowest marks I have ever had, which it deserved I know that. I just wish I could switch it with my first year essay as this one counted to my overall degree grade! Anyway when it comes to the dissertation things appear to be done slightly differently at this University, the second year is when it starts and the Literature Review and Proposal make up the remaining module of study alongside the ‘train wreck’ project. Partly I think it is due to the difficultly of getting everyone in the class prepared and ready to write what seems to most artistic souls as a huge burden of stuffy writing that won’t help them much in the long run. (At least that’s the impression I get in class sometimes.) 🙂
Anyway it is now the summer and after a lot of commitments to friends and family have not been fulfilled I can now focus and actually expand on that Proposal and Literature Review already handed in. The former being quite strong the later obviously rushed, as it was. So I am going to try and avoid that pitfall this time around. It is however hard to start as without a job this summer I may have an abundance of time to work on my dissertation I am more frequently distracted as I don’t have much of routine at the moment. Even though I had little time I do sometimes prefer the stress of having a job alongside the studies as at least it eases the financial burdens but also makes you focus your time better. Yet that isn’t going to be happening around here as there is little work going in this city, and to be perfectly honest I would actually like to keep the summer off as I am aware it could possibly be the last one for some time. This also means it is a good lesson in self discipline too for me. Meanwhile though I am re-arranging things online and giving up my web-space as I can’t afford it any more, it came in handy in the last project, but I simply can’t afford it any more. I am also doing a full back-up and clean install of my laptop, it’s a little overdue. I guess it’s a belated digital spring clean!