You picked Imperial to become a scientist, engineer or a medical doctor. What do these careers have in common? You’ll need to write a lot: scientific papers, grant applications, lecture notes, popular science articles.
As soon as I found out that I’d be studying here, I was immediately filled with petty worries.
If you’re a first year student, sorting out accommodation is straightforward: a place in an Imperial hall of residence is guaranteed in nearly all cases. The situation is different for returning students though. They can’t live in first-year halls unless they find a vacancy (you have to be lucky here) or become a hall senior. Because of that, most returning students decide to live in private accommodation. However, there’s an option to continue living in halls without taking responsibilities of a hall senior or hunting for vacancies in first-year halls. It’s Evelyn Gardens, a set of three halls (Willis Jackson, Southwell, Holbein) located just a 15-20 minute walk away from the South Kensington campus.
Since time hasn’t existed since March, it feels utterly unreal to be actually working on my thesis right now. Nevertheless, from now until September you can expect to find me knee-deep in air quality reports and R scripts. My project is desk-based so fortunately the overall research process hasn’t been impacted too much by the pandemic. Still, remote thesis work has required its share of adjustments:
Given the current pandemic, all of our learning has been moved online. The most readily apparent impact of this is that our physics exams are now remote and open book. This is a welcome change, at least for me, as I always found the need to memorise content for exams a bit redundant, when in real physics work we will always have access to reference material.
Additionally, all of our tutorials and other meetings are conducted over video call. The efficacy of this has been mixed, in some cases people are quite open to working over call, using video when possible, while others seem to be able to sit in a breakout group call for 15 minutes with their microphone muted, trying to avoid putting themselves out there.
Finishing online exams and my top tipsExpectations:
At 10:55am yesterday, I clicked submit on my final ever exam paper. In my head I had always dreamed of this day. We would finish our exam and head to the union. We would bask in the sun on Beit quad before enjoying some well deserved curly fries and pints.Reality:
Instead I found myself sitting at my desk staring at the paper and notes all over my desk, (thank you open book exams), I didn’t quite know what to do with myself. It felt a little anticlimactic. Here I was, finishing my last ever undergraduate exam, basically finishing my degree, just sitting at my desk staring at the same blank wall I have been staring at for the past 10 weeks.
When you’re a student, it’s good time to start serious thinking about your career development. CVs, cover letters, interviews, internships, graduate schemes… all of these can be daunting for someone unfamiliar with the professional world.
Thankfully, Imperial doesn’t leave you alone with that as Careers Service offers you all necessary career development support. Don’t underestimate its value! In my case, Careers Service has proved useful several times already.
The range of available services is wide. There are lots of online resources, e.g. the CV writing guide and interview preparation tips. Additionally, you can book one-to-one tailored sessions, where you get personalised help with job applications and interviews.
For any regular readers of my blogs out there, you may have noticed my slightly long absence from writing. To say that I’d been struggling with ‘writer’s block’ would be a fairly accurate description. For weeks I kept thinking “What do I write about?” and even though I’d start the occasional blog, I could never finish anything and I’d end up ditching them as drafts. I spoke to a friend of mine who’d come across my blog and he said “Why don’t you write about not having anything to write about?” – so that’s exactly what I set out to do.
1. Friends – Highlights of my time at Imperial so far include meeting like-minded students from around the world and different cultures. Imperial is a true melting pot and with the current situation we are all back home, separated by mountains and seas. With friends from England, China, Australia, France, USA, Taiwan, I have realised how challenging it can be to catch up owing to all the different time zones. Luckily we have technology to rescue us # teams and zoom. For all those who have continuously supported me, thank you. I look forward to seeing you all in 3D soon!
Pre-coronavirus, I generally enjoyed cooking every night as a way to destress (and save money). Then, during the “spring break” portion of the lockdown when time was at its most unreal and grocery store shelves at their emptiest, I lost interest. Meals during this time tended towards digestive biscuits, large quantities of oatmeal, and raw carrots eaten despondently at my desk. But now that summer term has picked up, I’ve gone back to cooking as a welcome distraction from everything. I find it a bit more of a challenge now that I only buy groceries once a week since I like to make whatever I’m feeling at the time instead of planning meals in advance, but I’m making it work.
A few of my juniors from college asked me about my monthly expenses. I thought I’d share mine here, so I don’t have to repeat the same thing to tons of other people. So yeah, £300, this includes utility bills, eating out, entertainment, groceries and pretty much everything, aside from rent! I still go out to eat every now and then, hang out with friends, buy gifts and all.
My monthly grocery runs would be about £35. I know that sounds crazy but hear me out. One, I eat mostly plant-based. Veggies and fruits are far cheaper than meat products so that’s already a save there.
Celebrating Kindness for Mental Health Awareness Week 2020
Kindness comes in many shapes and forms: saying thank you to a key worker, giving someone a slice of your freshly baked banana bread, or even just encouraging your friends. But as life goes on, and we hold the door open again and again or help an elderly neighbour with running errands, we can often forget to be kind to one particular person: ourselves.
With exams, a pandemic and the daily stresses of life, we can get so caught up in being the best person for everyone else. We try being supportive to all of our friends, family and those around us but sometimes we forget about what’s best for us.