Studying in one of the most expensive cities in the world is one factor that affects people’s decision to study at Imperial College. Rest assured it can be done, but particularly for students like myself who are undertaking a one year master’s course, the different funding options means that money can sometimes get tight. An upside of the course though, is its flexibility in allowing its students to have part-time jobs. Indeed, most students from the Science Communication Unit have part-time jobs, myself included.
I have previously mentioned my job as an Observatory Explainer at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, but have not delved into many details.
As I’m approaching the end of my PhD, not only do I have to decide what jobs I’m going to apply for, but also if I want to stay in London or move to another city. I thought I’d share my list of pros and cons in case some of you never lived in London and are trying to decide if you’d enjoy studying here.
+Theatres! No place in the world apart from London and NYC has such a big offer of theatre plays. At any given day you can choose between dozens of musicals, dramas, comedies etc., often rather affordable, if you know where to look.
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!
In a previous blog post I managed to summarise my first term at Imperial with the song lyrics of ABBA. As the Easter holidays begin, I have attempted to use the words of the legendary band, Queen, to reflect on what has been an incredibly busy second term.
We Are The Champions
Dance Company has continued to be a huge presence in my life at Imperial. In February we travelled across the country to compete in two university dance competitions for which 8 teams have been preparing hard for. Dance Company truly were the champions as we ended up winning a total of 13 awards across the two competitions in Southampton and Liverpool.
For theatre addicts London is like a bar for alcoholics: a paradise and a hell at the same time. Since the beginning of my PhD I’ve spent a bit too much money and time on plays and musicals — more than I’d ever publicly admit. Meanwhile I’ve mastered the art of getting cheap tickets, so if you’re also a theatre lover on a student budget, read on! This article isn’t sponsored by any of the companies I mention (unfortunately).
- Install TodayTix on your phone. You’ll be able to book tickets with one swipe, get some additional offers (e.g. 24-hour-long sales) and, most importantly, participate in lotteries.
Attend Lectures and actually listen
A term in university thought me one thing, it’s to attend your lectures and actually listen to the lecturers, (don’t spend the entire 2 hours lecture scrolling through instagram feeds, I made that mistake). Most of the time, you’re probably already tired after a full day of lectures, and weekends feel more like a relaxing day than hustle days. So, I personally find being interactive in lectures (taking notes and ask question) should help a lot in your studying, also some of the lectures are actually really interesting.
Prepare your own meal
I know, this feels like a hassle, especially if all you want to do is sleep, I feel you hun.
Studying at Imperial College can seem like the perfect recipe for falling ill. One part stress, two parts exhaustion and liberal dashes of damp, pollen and air pollution mean that lots of students – myself included – have to deal with being sick in London at some point.
Thankfully, the NHS is around to offer quality care, but navigating it can be tricky, as I’ve since learned. For example, many people think that the NHS is free but that’s not exactly true. It’s free at the point of care. This means that only the services you access at NHS clinics or hospitals are free.
I was told the Summer was also a thing in England, “a week long thing”.
Since earlier this year there was so much snow, I did not believe in the exaggeration a whole week was!
I saw the sun while I was in London,
It turns out even the Sun comes for a 5 c’clock tea with Her Majesty every now and then.
It does exist here, but I like the snow better
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.
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).
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.