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.
Am I the only one here who feels that time has gone by so fast and wishes the clocks would rewind, just so I could smell the roses?
Anyway, it is official. Five months into the MSci Immunology course, and I am literally a week away from completing the first half of the degree. It most definitely feels surreal at times like these, where I attempt to pen my thoughts and reflections in a hopefully coherent and logical manner especially so, where much has occurred.
In short, this post was evoked by my sentimental self where I was perusing some images taken during the course and I thought: hang on one second, why not document this through some images here!
So Ladies and gentlemen, here it is…
Image 1: Dr Sophie Rutschmann (Course Director of the MSci Immunology course) teaching the basics of flow cytometry (Look it up!) to some of the peers during the Mini-Research Project where pairs have to work together in designing a novel experimental setup in answering their scientific question of interest!
Firstly, a disclaimer. I am in no way trying to slander Imperial College London and the Physics department. They are being very supportive and understanding of my newly developed situation. This is more of a personal account of what’s been happening in life, because answering the question ‘Hey, you’ve not been around…what’s going on?’ gets tedious a hundred iterations in.
Around June, I had my last two exams of first year postponed to the September re-take period. I spent a healthy chunk of the summer revising and felt on track to do just well enough to be ready for second year.
You can find the official stuff on horizons here, but I’ll try to give an idea of the experience behind it. Either way, I’d recommend the course, as it’s a nice non-course-related thing to do with your life.
Background: as part of the Year in Europe part of my degree, I have to study the appropriate level of the appropriate language (as well as a special language course which I’ve mentioned elsewhere). For me, this was level 4 German, since I had studied it up to A-level. The course outline, assessment details and learning objectives for this particular course: bam.
You’ll find that there are a lot of things on the marketing course that you can apply to real-life situations. One of the most interesting lectures I have had was the first lecture of Relationships and Services Marketing. Commitment is the strongest predictor of relationship length when controlling for intimacy and passion. So how do you make a relationship last? There are three determinants of commitment: satisfaction level, quality of alternatives, and investment size.
If Hannah is satisfied with her relationship with Bob, Hannah will remain in the relationship. The higher the satisfaction level, the higher the commitment. Satisfaction increases when benefits increase and/or costs decrease.
Most people seem to be starting their recent blogs with one particular phrase, so I shall follow suit: I’m still alive. Holidays began and things were happening.
Easter Tour happened and we paddled some rivers faffed around in France with canoe club, but this will be described in a separate rant.
I also visited my family back home, as most people do. Home being the one in England and not the one that involves flying away. I saw my sister and dog, aka the two best small creatures. My friend also took me to The Hobbit, where many hours of playing Articulate ensued.
Everyone has questions about accommodation, so here’s another cheesy helpful extract answering questions you may or may not care about the answers to. For background: I currently live in Beit hall, in a single without en suite. I pay £192 a week, £2 of which are for hall activities, like karaoke, Netflix & chill nights and Beitan’s got talent.
I’ve lost all control and can’t stop going on trips. It was was meant to be to Devon, but ended up heading to Wales almost last minute. This worked out pretty well as we got lovely, all be it expensive, accommodation with a cute old couple that gave us food and actual real beds with actual real pillows! Bam.
A few experienced people went off to paddle some nice grade 4, called Nantygwyryd…or so we thought. They returned displeased and it turned out to be a lovely grade 4 scrape. Apparently they actually had to exit the boats and walk a few times.