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.
“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.
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.
I think one of the many positive aspects about ChemEng is that we study a whole bunch of different subjects. While other courses have 4-5 subjects, we have … hmmm… well… I don’t really know 😀
According to Blackboard (online platform where all of the course notes and homeworks are), we have 14 different “things”, but some of them are jointly called “coursework” subjects (CE1-03) and we will get only one mark for it at the end. So, I am quite confused when someone asks how many subjects I have, but here is the list:
Another interesting thing is our timetable.
We’ve literally just started university, and the first term has almost already passed… So it’s time to talk a little bit about the achievements (or “achievements”…) so far.
On the first week we had several introductory lectures, but one of them was particularly interesting. It was about assessments and grades. And the lecturer kept emphasising:
“Don’t expect 100% on all tests!”
He also said that it will be new for most of us, because we were most likely to be the best students in our class, and we were the ones who got 100% all the time. But that time is over, because everyone can’t be the best so we have to get used to the thought of failing.
I had my Imperial interview almost exactly a year ago. It’s rather unbelievable that an entire year has just flown by… But it didn’t really hit me until the first admission day. About a month ago we got an email from the department that we can volunteer to help on the admission days, and I – of course – applied.
Admission day is a lot more than just interviews: the applicants are shown around the campus, they have lab tours and they visit the Pilot Plant, too. When I volunteered to help, I didn’t know that it would be this shockingly amazing experience.