First weekend back after a long first week at Imperial! I’m actually exceptionally lucky to have reading weeks at the moment before my exams at the beginning of Feb so it’s been a reasonably gentle but also quite full on ease back in to uni life. Social life is obviously a really important part of your university experience and I did worry before I came to Imperial that I’d spend my weekends locked in to my room either studying or staring at the wall because I had no friends. Luckily I don’t do either of those (at least not every weekend haha) so this is a post to dispel any myths that you’ve heard about the Imperial social life.
So this is how my first weekend back went:
On Friday night I met up with my hall friends, having not seen them all week due to all of us having exams and needing to revise. We hung out in someone’s room for a while and then decided to head in to South Kensington to get dinner. After dithering for quite a long time, we eventually managed to pick where to eat, got some take out and went back to hall. Around 9.30ish we decided (as you do) that late night ice cream was needed so we all bundled back out again and caught the tube to Leicester Square. I’ve not really been out that much in London at night before and it was so cool to see Leicester Square in a different light! There were loads of people all around, mostly going out clubbing (we got accosted by club promoters coming out of the tube station – they’ll try to physically grab you which is not pleasant at all. Note that they didn’t touch the guys in the group – I don’t know why intimidating behaviour towards women is acceptable but not towards men), and a lot of tourists too. We wanted to go to the Haagen Dazs café but there was a massive queue so we went to M&M world to kill time.
I don’t know how M&M world exists but it does… it’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. Basically, imagine everything in the world with an M&M face on it and that’s M&M world. I’m serious, T-shirts, oven gloves, footballs, thermos mugs, keychains, pyjamas, mirrors, you name it and they have it. Anyway, after exhausting the four floors of M&M merchandise, we managed to get a table at the Haagen Dazs café. If you ever get the chance to go, GO! It was amazing. My friend and I ordered together and we were having a religious experience whilst eating the raspberry sorbet, I swear. After that, we took a night bus back to halls. It was such a great night out and it just goes to show that your social life at university doesn’t have to revolve around alcohol – there’s always stuff you can do that doesn’t involved drinking.
On Saturday afternoon I went to China Town with some of my kitchen mates to buy ingredients for dinner. We spent ages in a Chinese supermarket and bought loads of cool stuff (our friend Luke bought a crab – we’re not sure what’s going to become of it but it’s probably going to end up in someone’s bed as a prank before it gets eaten!) and then went to a bakery! There were so many cakes and it smelled amaaaazing. That night we got together in our kitchen to make hot pot. I’d never heard of it before but it’s a delicious, communal Chinese meal made of a soupy base to which we added pak choi, dumplings, ham, mushrooms, fish and noodles. It cooks while you’re eating it and everyone takes a bowl with some dipping sauce and takes whatever they want out of the pot. We had such a great time preparing and eating it together and communal meals are a really good way of spending time with people! After that we had a little chick flick marathon in the common room with a lot of tea and donuts. Lots of people came and went from the common room throughout the evening and all in all it was just a really relaxed, sociable night in. (As a side note, you know you’re at Imperial where it gets to the maths competition part in Mean Girls – ladies, you know what I’m talking about, it’s the ‘the limit does not exist!’ part – and we actually stop to try and work out the limit to the equation they’re trying to solve).
Sunday will probably be slightly less exciting. I’m going to do my grocery shop, tidy my room a little, STUDY and then go to church in the evening. Sometimes I’ll have a double church day and go to church in the morning, meet up with friends there and go to someone’s house for lunch and then go again in the evening, but I’ve got a fair bit to get done in the morning! Church is a really sociable place – we arrive from about 6pm to have cake and coffee before the sermon and then we have a meal together afterwards. Sometimes we even go to the pub after that!
So there you have it, a weekend in the life of an Imperial first year. Obviously I can’t just not do any work over my weekends but I manage to have a rather awesome social life around my studies! And I do it without drinking. That’s not to try and shame anyone who does drink because I know it forms a big part of some people’s social lives and if it’s what you like that’s fine – I just know that for people who don’t drink, coming to university can be quite a daunting experience. I was worried about being left out of things because I don’t really drink but that’s far from the truth. There’s something for everyone here at Imperial, you just have to find out what you like.