British Summer time officially begins tomorrow. Although this does mean we lose an hour of sleep, it also heralds the beginning of warmer and sunnier weather.
We have already had some unprecedented warm days so far this year, raising concerns for our planet’s welfare and the effect that this has on the ecosystem. Whilst this shouldn’t be forgotten, our body needs sunlight to function. Sunlight activates the production of vitamin D, which is a vital ingredient for lowering blood pressure, protecting against inflammation and improving brain function. Not to mention the benefits to mental health and sleep quality. Summertime cannot come quick enough for me!
At Imperial College London there is a wealth of extracurricular activities to get involved in. From ultimate frisbee to windsurfing, algorithmic trading to whisky; there is certainly a club for everyone! One activity unique to the Science Communication Unit that I have been involved in is the publication I, Science.
What is I, Science?
I, Science is a science publication run by students of the MSc Science Communication and Science Media Production courses here at Imperial. As well as producing an award-winning magazine three times a year, I, Science also has a website with regular news updates, features, reviews of exhibitions around London and a weekly radio show, broadcast on ICRadio.
Studying for a masters degree in science communication is a very different experience to studying for my undergraduate degree in maths and physics. Perhaps the greatest difference is in the amount of reading I now do. In addition to the weekly readings set for each module, which are mainly academic articles, you are strongly encouraged to immerse yourself in literature of every kind. This can range from popular science books to biographies, journal articles to science journalism, books about feminism to books about philosophy. Lots of books you’ll need for the course are available in the campus libraries and most journal articles can be readily accessed online through the library search.
I haven’t written for a while as I recently moved to Exeter for a summer internship in Met Office. If you’re interested in what the research here involves, check out my popular science blog. However, my Exeter adventure involves way more than work.
While London and Imperial are as international as it gets, Exeter has a very British (or rather English) feel. Today I spent ages queuing for cream tea and discussing with English colleagues what being British actually involves. Here’s the list of very British things I experienced only today.
- Queuing. I come from a Central European country, where your place in the queue depends pretty much only on how cunning you are.
The Isle of Skye will ruin scenery for you forever.
You have been warned. There is no place more dangerous for your sense of beauty, especially if you go when the sun is out. After that, no other scenery will seem to measure up. Future holidays will be spent passive-aggressively trying to get fellow travellers to look at pictures of Skye on your phone.
I mean, just look at these photos from Talisker Beach.
Blue skies, crystal clear water, black sand and green pasture behind us. Just shocking.
And the scandalous seafood lunch with Talisker Bay oysters going at ~£1 a piece.
I have an unusual routine every Thursday night. I pull on a pair of swimming trunks, a dive mask and snorkel, and a pair of fins before diving into the deep pool at Putney Leisure Centre. I am an underwater rugby player.
Underwater rugby is played in a 3D-environment where attacks can come from anywhere: above, below and all around you.
Underwater rugby (UWR) started life in Germany in the 1960s as a way for divers to stay fit during the winter. It quickly took on a life of its own and today, it is played in much of Europe, as well as the US, Australia, Colombia and Singapore.
I’m definitely a social animal. While I need some “me time” once in a while, I tend to surround myself with people. This is why when I embarked on my first PhD journey, I wasn’t too thrilled to learn that I’d be travelling alone. That sounded so scary, I was afraid that something would go wrong or, in the best case scenario, I’d just feel lonely and miserable for a few days.
Since then I’ve been to so many conferences in various countries, often extended to a mini-vacation. Almost always, completely alone. And let me tell you, I learned to love it.
If you’re thinking of going to Amsterdam, go to Haarlem instead. No, seriously.
Haarlem is a smaller city just 15 minutes away from Amsterdam by train. It’s got far fewer tourists, cheaper and nicer accommodation, and way better food. PLUS, it’s a mere 20 minute bus ride to the beach!
With the final assignment of term 2 done and dusted, we decided to take advantage of Eurostar’s new direct train from London to Amsterdam (£35 one way). Well, almost direct. It does do a short stop in Brussels and the total journey is about 3.5 hours. Nevertheless, it’s still way more convenient than a flight.
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.
“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.