I’m/We’re Legends – The eve of the deadline

Monday 16th – Tuesday 17th December 2013. Two days in my life, I won’t be forgetting for a long time.

The nightmare I went through during these two days, deserves a blog post. I spent 22 hours non-stop, no-sleep and little food, cooped up in a computer lab with a team of 5 working on a software group project due in for 9:30am Tuesday 17th. They name this dreaded computer science module “System analysis, design and process“.

This is the (short) story how me and a team who, at first, where just students on the same course, stuck together through thick and thin to complete a common goal. We went through a lot together and at the end become better friends afterwards because of it. The story of legends, because we became legends during those days.

Oh, and on the first day of me being a 21 year old. The perfect post, birthday gift 🙂 NOT!!

Summary of events:
A group of 5 students, were set the brief of working as a group, to design and build the software for a fictional theatre company, so that it could move one step closer to the glorious paperless world of the 21st century.

we were to produce a set of working, tested software which the customer could use for their business. It should be a finished product which you (the team) would be happy to give to a customer, carrying your name and reputation with it.

Day 51 (Monday 16th December 2013) – The eve of the deadline.

A 10:30am start in the computer labs at the University of Hull, the team assembled for a day of hard work getting our project finished in time for the tuesday deadline. We had a few core software features to implement. With a stupid goal of completion for 7pm that same day. What can I say, we felt (really) ambitious at the time…

12:00 midday, lunch time 🙂 We had made steady progress and felt on track for that 7pm, date home. Happy days! Our bellies began to do that weird thing where they actually talk to you. You know the feeling, the one when they growl so loud even the next person next to you can hear it. Woah,  after a few of these fearsome growls and some weird WTF looks we gave to each other, we decided to get the heck on out of those labs and grab a bite to eat to re-energise. Team lunch!

With a hop, skip and a jump we found ourself in our local student bar, having a nice midday feast. Hmm fry-up brunch; including eggs, sausages and beans. Ohh, the joys. My mouth waters as I write this :p … Kudos to my team members who managed to down a massive plate of nachos and mexican chilli burger. (quite astonishing)

continuing on, 7:30pm had now arrived, and guess what? we were still missing quite a few core features.
It seemed like whenever we fixed a few bugs, another one would appear and shoot the team in the back, bringing us back to square one.

This is how we felt, image that our software was ‘the farmer’ and we (the team) where ‘the horse’. 

YES! at many times we felt like this horse. And wanting to shoot down our software for causing us so much pain and suffering. 

At this time, we were all slowing beginning to lose hope of ever finishing on time, and signs of madness where slowing creeping into our workflow, so OFF FOR PIZZA WE WENT…

10:30pm – Craziest at its finest…

Oh yes, 10:30pm now, all the pizza (and chips) been finished, more bugs (problems) found in our project and that ever so slight problem of noticing, we had just a few hours left to package up our code for that 9:30am deadline. Oh, and did I forget to mention that on wednesday (day after deadline) we had to present this software product to the fictional client (our lecturers really). Oh sweet, mother hen! we went hysterically whenever we thought about the presentation. Thinking about how horribly bad its going to turn out.

We were like …

Oh gosh, this presentation is going to be good. Not!

Oh gosh, this presentation is going to be good. Not!

Day 52 (Tuesday 17th December 2013) – That Oh shit, its deadline day moment.

Oh shit, oh shit, 2:00am and we had completely lost it. Christmas carols on full whack, “deck the halls” was one of our favourite’s. We had a little karaoke session going on, with some *cough* dreadful attempted singing going on by one particular team member ;p. Plus, most of us were drinking coke like it was water – (Energy on tap). And constant references of “eye of the tiger” being made and played to help motivate us with the occasional (failed) bizarre jokes to keep everyone spirtes high. Oh shit, oh shit. We were in a right old mess, with little hope left of fixing the bugs that persisted on screwing with our lives.

This was our problem …


7:30am – Deadline in 2 hours …

2 hours to deadline, everyone is feeling low, tired and, angry.

We were like …

way too tired

At this stage though, we had a working program, but there were still some bugs in the program we weren’t happy with. “Sode it” – we said. “Well just have to submit what we got and pray for the best”. Another historical moment, because we were all hoping for a first class mark, but in reality was staring at a shitty product that was likely to reward us with a pass if we were lucky.

9:00am – 30mins to deadline…

Woop! the countdown began till we could leave for home. There was a slight breakthrough in the code we wrote, it managed to fix a few bugs here and there. Astonishly, some last minute motivation kicked in. We felt ‘OK’ with what we had produced (massive overstatement really). But not much we could do, so we packaged up all our code and hit that submit button.

 As soon as we hit that submit button, we were like…

Celebrating the end

Cheers broke through! “Woop, Woop!”. A bunch of shrivelled up computer science kids, depressed, shattered and hungry left our lair (computer room), after 22 hours to head home straight to our romantic dates (our bed) – 14 hours late :/ … oh dear, we would have certainly have gotten dumped if beds had feelings.

My gosh, what an experience! and this is only the shorten tail. Did I mention that this was the day after my eventful 21st birthday and … I had a lecture and Japanese test in the next few hours XD. No sleep, an tiresome lecture to attend and a test to revision for was what I ensured after an already epic day.  “You understand why I call myself a legend now?”

Not a bad way to spend your first day as a 21 year old right?

The End.

3 responses to “I’m/We’re Legends – The eve of the deadline

  1. Could be a lot worse. Our team had two members writing actual code, and the other team member had no internet the final weekend so I had to power through most of it that weekend then reconvene with him on Monday. I still have no clue how I scraped a first, it didn’t even work and I have this terrible habit of pointing out stuff that doesn’t work during software demos and not talking up stuff that does :p

    • You give me hope Charlotte that the group I was in can still achieve a reasonable grade. Although, I do have to disagree that with you… What I went through couldnt have been any worse, ha 😉

  2. Could be worse. I was one of two people who liked/could be arsed with writing code. And the last weekend my partner had no internet so any features I had to power through in those days and then reconvene for help at the lab on monday. I still have no clue how I got a first…

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