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.
Time is a funny thing. As physics students, we learn that our most basic assumption of time is, in fact, true: its silent immutability, that cold, heartless pace of the clock, is a lie. Of course, time doesn’t actually run slower in a queue, when one minute feels like five, or run faster in an exam, when the last five minutes feel like one; spacetime is warped by inertia, not boredom. But even if this agreement between perception and reality is coincidental, the subject makes for some thinking.
I’m writing this from home, 14 days and 500 miles away from Imperial, and though there is much to celebrate about being back – not having to cook every meal, or being around people who actually know how to iron, or simply just being able to get up at noon without feeling guilty – there is equally a curious feeling of trying to peddle back lost time.
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.
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.
It’s holiday season, Christmas lights everywhere, happy wishes in every corner, warmth and love in every single person around and for most students time to go home.
So, since I am just like most students, I partied to celebrate the end of term, and then partied again because it’s Christmas. Which led to a few very productive days of hangover doing absolutely nothing but Netflix – like you should. With all the partying and it’s consequences checked off my to do list, it’s time to catch a flight (right after doing laundry, miracles may happen but that’s just in Easter, right now your cloths won’t wash themselves).