As the academic year comes to an end, I thought I’d reflect on my first year at university.
Here’s the thing- we all have a tendency to sugarcoat. We share all the good, but seldom the ‘bad’ times. Sure, there’s the occasional (or frequent) posts about workload and stress; but how many of us actually openly share our experiences when the goings get really tough? Following my last blogpost, I’d really like to keep the honesty streak going.
First term was a bit of a nightmare for me- it was almost a process of trying to rediscover myself in a sense.
This is the one where I open up.
“Imposter syndrome is a recognised phenomenon, first identified by psychologists in 1978, and describes a feeling that your achievements are undeserved and the fear of being exposed as a fraud. Those with imposter syndrome tend to feel that luck rather than ability lies behind their successes.” (1)
Getting into Imperial was a massive deal for me. I had not planned to apply at all- but I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life looking back with what ifs.
I didn’t think I was smart enough. I’ve always had a fluctuating impression of myself; ranging from borderline conceited to possessing a pretty low self esteem.
Years of research squeezed into three minutes? That was the task I and eighteen other participants of Imperial College Three Minute Thesis competition had to face on Tuesday 24th April 2018.
The rules are very simple. Contestants get exactly three minutes to describe their research to general audience, using only one static slide. Sounds easy, but trust me, it’s extremely difficult. How do you introduce your narrow topic, explain what your research involves and persuade the audience that they should care in the first place?
Contestants just before the start of 3MT 2018. Source: https://www.imperial.ac.uk.
All nineteen of us managed to do that.
Most people have an incredible facebook account. 500+ friends, tons of photos and videos. However, I’ve stopped using Facebook as a social media platform – there are many reasons why but I won’t go into them here. That said, Facebook is definitely good for communicating with everyone, but beyond I just feel aimlessly scrolling through the posts on Facebook just isn’t healthy.
Instead, I’ve started using LinkedIn and have never looked back since. Students are worried about getting internships. Most of us are anyway. Do not underestimate the power of LinkedIn here. I’ve gotten a fully fledged summer internship at one the largest banks in the world through a simple message from a recruiter, and almost 20 messages flooding my inbox throughout the year.
You may have seen a company called TeachFirst around Imperial during the year. They are a charity that helps schools combat educational inequality due to different backgrounds, (i.e. children from homes with lesser financial background). So why am I talking about them?
For students, they offer 2 programs, an insight program and a graduate scheme. Last April, I got into their insight scheme which consisted of 2 weeks:
- One week training
- One week placement in a school
This was, without doubt, one of the greatest experiences of my life. I understand that many at Imperial/elsewhere look down upon teaching, but hear me out. To get past the interviews, you have to be able to speak.
This is how I’ve been wasting my time.
As the holidays came to a start- my initial mindset was, “Oh, I’ve got looaaddss of time. I definitely deserve a break. One more season of this show on Netflix won’t hurt.” It must have slipped my mind that the exam on the day I go back is not a mock. Now that I’m about 70% through my Easter/Spring break, I am filled with regret and drowning in revision. :’)
- Watching a season of Hell’s Kitchen
The first thing I did was binge watch as soon as the term ended. Personally a big Gordon Ramsay fan, even though he’s not a believer in Vegetarianism/Veganism cries.
- Attending a university fair
Got to rep Imperial at a secondary school in Bexley, London.
In my post about affording London prices I suggested bringing lunches to work, just to save money. No matter how busy I am, I do it most days, thanks to a collection of delicious and ridiculously quick recipes I collected (let me know if you’d like me to post them!). However, sometimes I treat myself to a lunch at Imperial. Where do I go?
At South Kensington campus we have a big choice of catering outlets that serve everything from sandwiches and salads to Japanese and Indian. About 11am they post the menu of the day, which helps to make an informed choice (and procrastinate from work for a few minutes).
“Joining cheer was the best decision I’ve ever made”
“I was not proud of the bow, nor the uniform. I was proud of what it meant”
“When I initially message the president asking to join cheer late in the term, I hadn’t really left my bed in three months. I was then in hospital for about a month in December. After that, cheer was the only time I left my house for in a while. I just want to thank all of you so so soooo much for being so lovely and welcoming from the start, and just overall amazing people.
Watching cat videos can give you a Nobel Prize.
Well, Ig Nobel, to be precise, but still sounds impressive. That’s what I learned thanks to our Graduate School.
I just came back from the Ig Nobel Award Tour Show 2018 hosted annually by Imperial. Ig Nobels are awarded every year at Harvard University by actual Nobel laureates. The only criterion is: the research first makes us laugh, and than think.
Having attended the show last year, I suffered from a stomach pain after laughing too much. The “goat man”, Ig Nobel prize winner in Biology who decided to become a goat for a few days, still makes me giggle.