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.
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.
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!
Haarlem’s main square. Photo: iamsterdam.com
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.
This week I celebrated my 25th birthday, which put me in a slightly reflective mood. Here are 25 things I learned in 25 years. Cliché warning!
- Failing doesn’t make me a failure. The only way to avoid failing is to stop trying, and this won’t get me anywhere.
- I fight for my friendships, but accept it when they die out. Throughout my life I’ll be able to keep only a few good friends, most of them will disappear at some point. I let them go and make the room in my life for new amazing people waiting for me out there.
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.
The Easter holidays have been and gone, punctuated by too much chocolate, lie-ins and the guilt of not working. All of this however, gave me a chance to sit and enjoy some quality movies. One evening, as I settled down to choose a film (it always takes me far too long) with my last remaining Easter egg, I stumbled across a good-old Will Smith movie. Now, you wouldn’t be mistaken for wondering where I’m going with this story, but bear with me…
Seven pounds is a 2008 Drama/Romance film featuring Will Smith, Rosario Dawson and Woody Harrelson among others. Without completely ruining the plot, the movie starts with the main character, Ben Thomas (Will Smith) phoning 911 to report his own suicide.
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.
“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.
4 years I’ve been waiting. Today was the day – I finally saw a substantial amount of snow in London. It was as magical as I had hoped! I always remember as a child waking up on the morning of a snow day and screaming with joy! Yeah, that still happened even as a 21 year old. It seems that snow, no matter how old you are, always elicits a feeling of playfulness and unbounded joy (unless you’re trying to commute – then it only brings sad sad sadness).
My magical snow day morning wake-up (IN CENTRAL LONDON!).
I should warn you, snow in the UK is a rare event (unless you live in Snowdonia in Wales or Northern Scotland) and as a result, we are awfully prepared – EVERY TIME.