The number one question I hear about studying at Imperial
In short, yes. But of course studying here isn’t easy, but if you’re at Imperial now or are thinking of coming here than you probably already know that and can handle the challenge! (If it was easy then everyone would be able to do it) After speaking to countless perspective students and my friends at other universities, this is often the first question I’m asked about what it’s like to study at Imperial. I have often struggled to answer this question succinctly as it has many different aspects to it. There’s of course the academic side, but the also the concept of work-life balance and having a social life.
Imperial is a highly ranked science university, considered amongst the best, not only in the UK but across the world. So it goes without saying that earning a place and a degree here requires some hard work. At first the sheer amount of work can seem daunting, but with careful planning, I can guarantee you it’s manageable. For many students here the leap from school to university is quite steep in terms of workload. This is mainly due to students being incredibly smart and finding A Levels/IB (or whatever final exams) quite easy. At Imperial you are expected to work a lot harder as the quality of work you have to do increases. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the volume of work is anymore than at school, simply that you may have to put in more time.
I have also learnt how the course content at university is a lot more interesting. You get to explore things in more depth and with better understanding and there’s a lot more project opportunities. To get into Imperial you have to have an excellent academic record and also passion. Passion is what will carry you through your degree and keep you motivated. And like I said above, if you got through the rigorous process of getting into Imperial, then you definitely have the ability to make it through your degree!
Having a life
Whilst academics pose their own challenges at Imperial, it’s also important to remember to try and have a social life. Like most, at times I have found this hard to balance with my workload, however I have learnt that the key is timetabling. Scheduling can seem like a chore at first, but soon you learn how it benefits your life, giving you time to go out with friends, take part in clubs and societies and have the occasional Netflix binge session.
Some may also find it different or harder to make friends at Imperial. This could be because you’re in a new country or because of the different cultural and gender balances. Coming from an all girls school, I definitely found this one of the hardest aspects of each year. From getting involved in different aspects of college life I have made plenty of different types of friends across Imperial. A large number of my female friends come from Netball, whilst I also have great friends within Maths and also from halls. So what’s important to remember is that it’s likely that, given how diverse and large Imperial is, you will likely find your friendship group.
But I would also advise that you aren’t too closed about the types of friends you want to make. A lot of people like to stick to what they know best, people from their own schools, countries or just from their first year flat. However sometimes it’s worth keeping the door open as friends can come from the most peculiar and unexpected places. For example, this year I made a lot of new friends within the maths department, and by chance its been a lot of boys. But they’ve become some of my best friends, and I can’t imagine my uni experience without them.
So to conclude, I thought I’d share some advice to make Imperial less of a challenge than it might seem:
- Ask questions if you’re stuck
- Get involved in wider college life
- Make sure you give yourself some time aside from just working