Eating healthier, becoming more athletic and so on can be found every year again among the Top 5 New Year’s resolutions. However, several studies show sobering results. Already after 2 weeks (roughly now) the first ones will start dieing off again, in March 75 % of the resolutions are supposed to be forgotten.
Every one of us knows this: sometimes you are sporty, sometimes you are not. The causes are as diverse as the cultural diversity of the Imperial College. Exam phase stress, social projects or permanent events such as weddings, birthday etc. We live in a busy world.
Nonetheless, it is essential to constantly re-evaluate oneself and at least return to basic forms of exercise.
The mission of my life is to show people surprising ways of using maths. However, today I’ll make an exception: I’ll talk about an example of maths abuse.
Surely you’ve heard that tomorrow we have the Blue Monday, apparently the most depressing day of the year. Even restaurants and shops all over the UK become almost charities by offering great deals (I can’t believe I just linked you to the Mirror!) to make this day a bit brighter for us, customers – I’m sure they do it solely out of goodness of their hearts, without any profit…You might also have heard that it was scientifically proven and that this date is found using a mathematical formula.
Moving on as an Oxbridge reject
Getting rejected from Oxbridge is one of those moments where you feel like you’ve lost control and things haven’t gone how you wanted or expected them to go, leaving you feeling utterly discouraged. Maybe you feel like you’ve let yourself or someone else down, or maybe you feel annoyed or angry. Perhaps you feel drained, not seeing the point anymore and wishing you hadn’t tried in the first place.
Whenever you do feel like any of these, from disappointment to frustration it is most important to share how you feel with someone, I know it can seem like the hardest thing to do but it will definitely help you cope better.
Let’s face it: doing a PhD isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. The process can be painful and annoying, and at some point you’re probably going to get completely stuck. If you’ve ever done any research, you definitely know what I’m talking about.
There’s something you need to do, usually some task that was supposed to be easy – a toy example, an almost standard code, a “quick” experiment to check your hypothesis. And here you are, spending long hours, days, weeks, even months, not even closer to solving your problem. You’ve tried everything, used all possible sources you could find, but this devil isn’t giving up.
Best part of doing a PhD? Conferences! When you finally manage to do some meaningful research, it’s time to present it to a wider audience. In other words, pack your suitcases and bon voyage! I know that attending conferences might be a bit overwhelming in the beginning, so here are a few tips to make the most of them.
- Find a good conference. If you’re as lucky as I am and have a great supervisor, she or he will suggest interesting events to you. Otherwise you’ll need to do the work yourself. However, at Imperial we’re flooded with e-mails advertising scientific events, there’s also Google and your colleagues who can give you some advice.
I’m sure that your English is fluent enough for you to study in the UK (if you aren’t confident, take a look at my post about studying in English). I’m also sure that you’re able to communicate with international students withouth any problems. But do you understand what locals, i.e. English people really mean? It took me a while (and a few awkward situations), so here are a few surprising things Brits say.
- How are you? You’ll hear this question dozens of times every day. In the beginning I thought: “wow, these Brits are so nice, they really care about me”.
Some people were just born public speakers. Others are terrible at it, they suffer from stage fright and should just avoid talking to crowds altogether.
That way of thinking is very convenient but, unfortunately (or fortunately), not supported by facts.
Most of us have attended some presentations or watched TED talks that left us with a feeling: “Wow, this guy knows how to get the audience’s attention! I’m so jealous, I wish I was like him/her”. What if I told you that this guy isn’t “a natural”, but has been working very hard to sound so? What if I told you that you can give talks that people would enjoy listening to?
It’s not a secret that grad school might be dangerous for mental health. In recent years people started to talk about it openly, numerous studies on this topic have been done (eg. on suicides or depression). The awareness of mental health is rising, which definitely makes it easier to get help when needed. However, this isn’t the full story.
A few years ago I started to consider a possiblity of pursuing a PhD. So I googled around – big mistake. Phrases such as “grad school mental health” returned thousands of websites suggesting that the coming years will be filled with pain and tears.
We were celebrating my friend’s birthday in a pub, when someone mentioned that “something happened on London Bridge”. Soon I got a message from my mum, who wanted to make sure I was fine. Not much later the news were getting more and more upsetting. A van? A stabbing? How many victims?!
When we were going back home, some random people approached us on the train station to check if we were aware what happened (because we were actually heading in Vauxhall/Borough Market direction). I think only then I realised how serious it was. I felt safe-ish only when I finally made it to my room…
Many of you might have had similar experiences last night.
Let’s face it: living in London is expensive. It might sound scary, especially that for some of you the first year of the university will be also the first year when you have to be fully responsible for your finances. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Here are my survival tips.
- Find a good accommodation. This is the key, since paying rent will be your biggest expense. Remember that you’ll also need to cover bills – and you might underestimate how high they’ll probably be. Having said that, I must stress: don’t go for the cheapest option. If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.