No class in the morning at the moment so I sleep in for a bit. I do a bit of lifemin (life admin), checking emails, putting on some laundry etc. I have lunch and then head out to meet my group before our afternoon lectures. We’re working on a presentation where we need to pick one area of neuroscience (which is the course we’re doing at the moment) and then present for 20 minutes to teach the rest of the class something new. We’ve chosen to focus on phantom limb syndrome – a pain syndrome where amputees can still feel sensations, including very real pain, coming from where their limb should be. After delegating out some tasks, we head in to the lecture theatre for two hours of addiction and reward systems. It’s really interesting stuff, I would recommend taking Systems Neuro in third year! After lectures I go home via Sainsburys to get some much needed groceries, after being away for the weekend and not buying any! At home I take a look through my final year project list and cut a few of my choices. The list has over 300 choices and I need to pick 8 by Friday – it’s slow going. I make some dinner and then crash and watch rubbish tv for a while before going to bed.
No class today! We usually have Wednesdays off but for some reason we have Tuesday off today as well. I have a much needed lie in and then a slow day- cooking some food, tidying up my room a bit and working on my personal statement for my Master’s application. I’m having severe flashbacks – suddenly I’m 17 years old writing about how the fact that I was a prefect in school means I am studious and commited enough to get in to Imperial College. Something tells me I can’t write that again for my Master’s. In the evening I’m on the rota to sort the dinner out for my church Bible study so I head over to church and help to finish up the food for the 50 or so students who will descend ravenous at 7.15. We have our Bible study, and although it’s always tough to get to grips with a tricky passage, it’s very rewarding when you finally crack it. Head home after that and go to sleep.
No class today (are you beginning to spot a pattern…?) so I do what any regular person does on a free Wednesday – make a pizza from scratch. I also start reading papers for my group presentation next week. We’re looking at where phantom limb syndrome comes from by examining two different angles; the cortical reorganisation hypothesis (nerve cell connections from amputated limbs or digits are still there but get moved to different parts of the brain) and the pain memory hypothesis (memories of pain from before the amputation occurred are stored and can be ‘recalled’ later). Tonight is ACC night at the Union (basically sports night on steroids) so the Christian Union are going over to set up teas, coffees and biscuits for the revelers. We do this a few times a year and it’s usually quite fun, albeit chilly. We hand out drinks, chat to the party goers and make sure people are ok and if anyone wants to chat to us about our Christian faith then we’re happy to do so. We’re usually outside under a marquee for this but it’s freezing so instead we’re inside the foyer of the Union building. It’s warmer but this is one of the busiest ACC nights on record so it’s also incredibly loud and we spend a lot of time having shouty conversations with people where neither party knows what the other is saying. I get home around 11.30pm ahead of *actual lectures* tomorrow and go to bed. Another shift of CU members will be staying on until the end of the night (2am) but I rarely manage to last that long.
Lectures start at 2pm so after doing some general stuff around the house and having lunch, I head in to College to go to class. Afterwards I head to my second home, the computer room in SAF, and work on my application for my Master’s some more. I actually get somewhere with it today (insert praise hands here). After a couple of hours I go over to Huxley for Hub, which is the weekly meeting of the Christian Union. On Monday our annual Events Week starts so the meeting is mostly about getting ready for that. Events Week is a concentrated week of events that the CU runs each February to allow staff and students at Imperial to learn more about the gospel of Jesus, ask questions and engage in debate. We run lunchtime talks everyday throughout the week on a number of different topics and have a few evening events as well, which this year includes a talk from Alister McGrath – author of ‘The Dawkins Delusion’ and well-known apologist and academic from the University of Oxford. It should be great! Check out our Facebook page to see a breakdown of the all the events we’re going to be running throughout the week.
I haven’t been well this week so I sleep in again on Friday. Today is deadline day for our final year project choices (my first choice is one about the history of sleep function) so I send my choices in before going in for lectures. We’re learning about neurodegenerative diseases at the moment such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s. It’s interesting how despite years and years of tireless work trying to figure out why certain things happen with our brains, there’s still so much we don’t understand. Our lecturer tells us about global strategies to cure Alzheimer’s by 2020. ‘That’s looking unrealstic,’ he says. ‘Maybe by 2030 some of you will be using your talents to find the cure.’
Friday night is Dinner Party 2.0, or: the night where we invite 20 people over for dinner. Dinner Party 1.0 was a night back in 2014 where myself and my good friend, who also lived in my halls back in first year, decided to invite a whole load of people from our year round for risotto. We decided that we needed to recreate this great evening of food and banter so we bundle everyone round for dinner at Woodward halls (my friend is a hall senior there) on Friday night. It’s great fun and ends with a trip to the 18th floor to check out the stunning views from the panoramic kitchen windows. The kitchen is full of freshers listening to Justin Bieber and getting drunk. They have no idea who we are but still invite us to stay and party with them (although we respectfully decline). It’s strange to be back in halls and we feel weirdly nostalgic for a simpler time where you could party in the kitchen on a Friday night with total strangers and that was fine.
The weekend is going to be full of application-writing, coursework-completing, seeing friends for birthday drinks and recharging ahead of a busy Events Week. Final year is an odd one. Time goes so fast it’s like you can’t hold on to it long enough to really enjoy it, but at the same time the weeks seem to drag on. We’re in a weird inbetween where adult life and careers and families are staring us in the face but at the same time we could get drunk to Justin Bieber on the 18th floor if we wanted to. Advice to incoming students: enjoy everything while you’re still young and carefree!