I’ve been insanely busy the last two weeks or so, and quite frankly I’ve been loving it. Following on from my last post, I have to say I did end up going to the Summer Ball. I didn’t know it was feasible to cram so much work and play into my schedule, and now term’s properly ended, I’m much more appreciative of the serenity an empty schedule brings. It’s quickly wearing thin though, since I do crave pressure, and I am preparing a variety of events to keep myself busy over the summer.

You may recall this:

“Due to the proximity of our deadline, reports and presentations to Imperial’s Summer Ball, I might give it a miss”

I didn’t. Nor did my work suffer! After having a very long day from 7am to 11pm that Friday (and most other days really), with the first half exam-filled and the second involving group project work, I felt entitled to some kind of social activity. I’d just written a 2000 word report after all. I must say, I felt the Summer Ball was better than the previous year in terms of experience, but I also felt this experience was made so by the people – not the event itself. For once, I didn’t suit up, as it was described to be festival style. The weather was also unforgiving but yielded its rainy onslaught from around 8pm onwards, leaving us to enjoy the afterparty following the acts and fireworks. The next day, I finished up writing my PDP document as planned (explained later).

A good proportion of my days in the last two weeks were “exam-filled”. I’ve been taking Microsoft Certification exams to get myself the qualification titles I once dreamed of in college. Sure, my fanaticism over them may have dissolved over time and they may not mean much by themselves, but they’re a nice boost to my CV and I loved the additional pressure the various three-hour exams provided in my life alongside all the other work. I managed to complete those necessary for the following:

  • MCP – Microsoft Certified Professional, basically one exam
  • MCDST – Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician, the other half
  • MCTS – Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist, a standalone three hour exam
  • MCITP – Microsoft Certified IT Professional, building on the above for the Pro level

This puts me nicely on the third section here. The next two levels up are MCM (Master) and MCA (Architect).. I reckon they ran out of names and began taking ideas from The Matrix. I must say though, I did seem to become rather addicted to the whole exam regime. Can’t imagine why, Imperial’s was quite fulfilling! Still, I reckon I got slightly carried away.

In terms of the group project, I drafted up our slides, made a few changes and we rehearsed a few times. The presentation went quite well, in that the group were sufficiently content with their performance and left for their respective homes satisfied it was all over. Though, the department seemed sufficiently content too, enough to withdraw our freedom and call us back to present again (along with three other groups) to a VIP audience two days later. Inconvenient as it was, this meant we were shortlisted for the IBM prize, so we regrouped and presented for the final time last Friday (after I’d passed my MCITP exam that morning). The results are yet to be announced.

I also finished my PDP (Personal Development Plan) for the Royal Academy of Engineering the day after the Summer Ball. It was approved shortly after, so I can now begin applying for funding – I submitted my application to attend the aforementioned Windows 8 developer conference and am awaiting feedback on that front. If all goes to plan, I’ll be booking a flight to California in September, and I doubt even the Disneyland Resort next to the conference centre will distract me from all the exciting tech!

Alongside all of the above, I managed to sustain my usual output of news for Felix, and we finished the last issue of the academic year. A few of us ended up submitting a selection of our stories to the Guardian Student Media Awards. It’s been a dramatic, thoroughly intriguing and fun-filled year for me working as News Editor under the current Editor-in-Chief and I look forward to exciting times ahead under the next!

Bring on the summer :)

Alexander Karapetian


About Alexander Karapetian

Software Engineer & Computer Scientist from Imperial College.
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