Where should I start?… So here is this 1-month spring break, and your only task is to study-study-study. And you are supposed to be super-motivated, because you are an Imperial student and exams are coming and whatever. Well, let’s see how it is going so far. (Spoiler: terrible…)
The holiday started on the 24th March, Thursday. I decided to give myself a couple of days off after that horrible last two weeks with all those deadlines and rig building. I went home on Friday (Home, as in where my family lives, which is actually 15 mins from Woodward… Seriously, I can almost see their flat from my kitchen) because they have croissant and I don’t.
I’ve mentioned the rig building project already, but let’s refresh the basics again:
“Construction of a closed system rig to independently control level and flow rate of water between two tanks. Water must be delivered from one tank to the other tank while maintaining levels. No by pass or recirculation in only one tank will be allowed.”
We had a week to come up with a design, and then 7 hours to build it. It sounds manageable, but we had a couple other deadlines, so it was terribly exhausting and most of the time I was happy to be able to stand straight and not fall asleep…
First of all, the design.
Since my fellow blogger colleagues started to write about their average weeks, I thought I might try something similar… The only problem was that I always forgot to start it in the past couple of Mondays 😀 But this time I didn’t, so here is
my average week as a ChemEng student and Woodward resident.
05:45 Time to wake up! I like to wake up early because the tube is horrible after 8, so I try to avoid that period. Hence I get up when an average Computing student goes to bed…
07:00 The weather is cold but the sun is shining, the tube is half empty, the birds are chirping.
People say ChemEng is a tough course. Let’s see why they might have this impression: here is my calendar for the next 13 days… [And – as everyone always talks about these anyway – I put how much each thing contributes to my grade this year in brackets] May the coffee be with me!
14th March: Mastery sheet 5 [-]
14th March: Lab report (conclusion + evaluation) [2%]
17th March: Rig building design, first part [-]
18th March: Thermodynamics deliverable [0.25%]
22nd March: Properties of Matter project [0.875%]
23rd March: Final rig building design [2%]
23rd March: Business Ethics essay [6%]
23rd March: Complete lab book [2%]
But no matter how many deadlines we have, ChemEng is still the best course!!!
Act 1 – The casual resident
When I started Imperial, I wanted to focus solely on my studies. I did many “other stuff” in high school, but university is obviously a lot more difficult, so I decided to “stay out of any trouble” and just study-study-study. Well, I managed to do it for a couple of weeks… In the first few weeks, I only applied for the position of the Year Representative, but I didn’t get it, and looking back, I am actually glad. Being a year rep is mainly about arguing with the lecturers to extend a deadline or record the lectures.
I’ve already mentioned that I’m terrible at cooking… (A piece of advice: try to “cover the basics” before coming to uni. Your life will be so much easier if you don’t have to google how to make pasta…). On the other hand, I love baking! (Not so useful at uni, but anyway…) So I brought a muffin tray and my favourite bowl from home, bought a dry measuring cup so now I can bake muffins any time I like! 🙂
The first Woodward Muffin Time was just before Valentine’s Day. We have this nice project called Woodward Newsletter (I am the article editor, because I don’t do enough things already… 😀 ) and I have a personal column in it, called “Cooking made easy by Dora”.
“CE1-03-2 Foundation Laboratory (2015-2016)”
This is the fancy name of the lab sessions, something which we only started in the spring term, but I can understand now why… Even though we only have 2 sessions in approx. every two weeks, it requires a lot of preparation and work afterwards. In short, it is extremely time-consuming.
In my high school we didn’t have lab sessions, because my school didn’t have a lab. I did only a few experiments before uni (usually in summer camps or in other schools) but I think we can easily say I had no experience in labs.
Having flu (to be more precise, missing an entire week from school) made me realise that I should live more healthily. I’ve always known that I am not the Embodiment of Health, but somehow I managed to get away with it without any serious consequences. But this time, it was different… And I decided to change a few things in my lifestyle. It is not as easy as it sounds… 🙂
First of all, I started to pay attention to my “five-a-day”. To those from outside the UK: this is an expression used to promote eating at least five portions of fruit/vegetables per day.
Everyone knows that Imperial is (mainly) a STEM university. Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (and a bit of Medicine and Business): all the good stuff. The average Imperial student knows pi to the 40th decimal places by heart but probably couldn’t name 3 Shakespeare plays… That’s why the Horizons program is such a good idea: it brings a little bit of humanities into our STEMy world. How little? Well, exactly 2 hours a week 🙂
Amanda has written about the topic in detail, so I won’t repeat the dropout rate or the advantages and disadvantages. I would like to write about my experiences instead…
In the first term I signed up for The World Today (I chose this over Spanish because I realised Spanish can be learnt anywhere, but this course is quite a unique thing…).
The Spring test is some kind of “preparation” for the final exams in May/June. A “taster”, where we can get to know what kind of problems to expect, how to deal with exam stress, how to use the calculator… It counts 5% in the end of year mark, which is lower than the Matlab test (6%). That’s where things went wrong…
Not every subject is “spring test subject”, only Fluid Mechanics, Properties of Matter, Mathematics, Thermodynamics and Process Analysis. And even from these, not every lecture is “spring test material”, just the previously specified ones… And we were told that we shouldn’t worry, it’s an easy test, we should spend about a week on revision, that is more than enough.