My (Somewhat) Triumphant Return to Imperial

It’s official, I have now been back in London for a month. I am no longer a fresher – it usually takes me a moment or two to remember this when someone asks me what year I’m in – and I do grown up things now that I live in a flat and not halls, like pay rent, set up direct debits and clean the kitchen. Wow.

After a great (but long) summer, it’s been a little bit difficult to settle back in to Imperial life but I’m enjoying my courses so far and also the change to my timetable! Morning labs can be hard to motivate yourself before but on a non-lab day I now get a lie in rather than the continuous 9am starts that I had last year so I’m not complaining too much!

I’ve also had the privilege of meeting some biology freshers – shout out to my kids who are really cool and actually talked to me during the Mums and Dads event rather than sitting in awkward silence. You two are the greatest – and they seem like a nice bunch. It’s an incredibly surreal experience to return with a year of hindsight under your belt. Although I loved my first year, I’m glad I don’t have to relive freshers week again. I was at the The Mingle with the IC Christian Union handing out teas and coffees to the revellers who had only arrived in London that day and watching the freshers going through that endless loop of going up to complete strangers and asking them what they studied, where they lived and where they were from gave me a very strange sense of déjà vu. It’s a weird time for a lot of people, I know I found it very frustrating to be having so many superficial interactions with people I ended up not being friends with, but I hope that all of you first years have found a good bunch of mates and are settling in well.

So what’s going on in the Izzie life right now? Well, I have just finished my first course of the year, Applied Molecular Biology, and am about to start working on a bioinformatics project which promises to be very interesting. My AMB lab has been so fun, I have really enjoyed getting to practice lab techniques which are used on a wide scale in the majority of molecular biology labs, try out new equipment and see real results. It’s also pretty cool to tell your friends that you’ve been cloning DNA to create recombinant bacteria when they ask you what you’ve been up to. I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to my lab partner for messing up so many times (including using up all of our sample on something that didn’t even matter in the long run, not setting our pipettes correctly and generally making a fool of myself) and thank him for being so patient and no doubt hiding his anger at my incompetence well. You’re the best.

Second year biology starts to get interesting because we’re given more freedom to pick and choose courses that we have a special interest in. As such, next year I’m going to be taking Cell Biology and Development, Virology and Immunology – all courses which I have been reliably informed by my third year buddies have an insane workload and will probably make me cry. Add to that a practice dissertation which I start this term, a compulsory Horizons course (why on earth did I think level 5 French would be a good idea this year…), secretarial duties for the IC Christian Union, applying for summer internships and trying to have a social life, this academic year promises to be one of the heaviest but also most full and fun that I’ve ever had.

Advice to freshers who might still be reading this blog – study hard but play hard too. There is so much out there to get involved with and this is probably the least busy time of your degree so utilise it well.

Advice to the new batch of Imperial hopefuls who might have just started reading this blog – you have a hell of a lot to look forward to!

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