Recently a story came up on my Facebook newsfeed about the University of Cambridge’s ‘Defend Education’ group starting a campaign called End Week 5 Blues. It’s essentially a campaign to add a reading week to the middle of their very short (just 8 weeks!) and very intense semesters to give students a breather and time to get on top of things before starting the second half of term. Many of you will have read the heart-wrenching article that did the rounds in October of last year where a Cambridge student told her story of how the intense academic pressure of attending one of the world’s top-ranked universities lead her into a difficult state with her mental health and, eventually, to drop out altogether.
If you know me at all well, then you will know that I’m unapologetic in my love of food. There are a lot of student stereotypes that I do fall into (nap time = all the time, forgets to do laundry until only option is to wear pyjamas in public, stays up too late, leaves assignments until last moment) but one that I don’t like is the ‘students can’t cook’ stereotype. I love to cook. The way I see it, I have to eat, I have to take time out of my day to eat and if I’m going to spend fairly large chunks of my day preparing and eating food then I want that food to be delicious.
Life has been very busy recently. Once you enter the Imperial bubble it can be quite hard to break out – life becomes an endless cycle of walking to lectures, walking home, studying, sleeping, rinse, repeat. I think it’s very important to burst the bubble once in a while and do non-academic stuff. Yes I know that the library is open 24 hours a day but that is not a good enough reason to spend every waking hour there (not that I have ever done an all nighter but I imagine it’s not that great.) So what do I do when I am not studying worms under a microscope or writing essays in French about whether one can be ‘free’ and still obey the law?
Guess who finished her exams this week guys… IT’S MEEE! I am so happy to have finished for this exam season. I had a great Christmas at home with the family but studying and having a horrendous cold at the same time was kind of sad. Last Thursday I sat my final paper for this exam period which was Genetics. I was expecting an absolute nightmare of a paper but it ended up being much better than expected so I’m very happy with that.
One thing that can be hard about starting university, especially at Imperial, is that you basically lose your holidays.
I don’t want to always be the person who remarks on the passage of time (like it’s a big suprise) but I can’t believe it is 2015. It feels like only yesterday that I was waking up on September 28th 2013 with butterflies in my stomach and the knowledge that once I left my house that morning to move in to halls, I’d never be living in my family home full time again.
In true new year spirit, I thought I’d give you a run down of some great 2014 moments and look ahead to what I’m hoping for from this year!
1. Getting your laundry done for you and not having to leave it out to dry for three days because…
2. The heating is on for a substantial amount of time each day. And you don’t have to worry about what your heating bill will look like at the end of the month.
3. There is food?? Like all the time??!? You don’t have to eat breakfast cereal for lunch. And that is great.
4. Sofas and TV.
5. There is always milk so you don’t have to run to the shop when you need a cup of tea in an emergency.
I haven’t posted about French in a while so I thought that now would be a good time to talk about Horizons. If you select the average biology second year and ask them their opinion on Horizons, you will most likely be met with a loud groan and possibly screams of horror. I’ll say off the bat that in the life sciences department and I think a few others as well, doing an extracurricular Horizons course becomes compulsory after first year and counts for credit, meaning that the marks you get go towards your overall degree. I don’t want to freak anyone out by saying this but what I will say is that as long as you choose your course carefully, you don’t have to be filled with terror at the mere mention of the word ‘extracurricular’ and I actually quite enjoy my course.
Woah, I just checked my timetable and we’re in 9th week? How did this happen?! Time has flown by. It feels like not that long ago I was on the CU stall at freshers fair handing out free washing up liquid to slightly dazed looking freshers. The amount of deadlines that I have coming up are making me cry inside a little but there’s still a lot to look forward to in the remaining three weeks and I’ve had such a lovely weekend.
On Saturday, I went for Thanksgiving dinner at my friend’s house. There are a few American students at my church so they educated the rest of us about Thanksgiving traditions and cooked us the most incredible dinner, including the biggest turkey I’ve ever seen, mashed potatoes, candied yams (essentially, sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top that make a crust when you bake it in the oven.
Now that I am 19 years old, a second year and living in a flat that I rent myself, I feel like I should have my life slightly more together. I had grand plans for this year. I would decorate my new room with fairy lights and candles, prepare delicious homecooked meals every week in my new kitchen, study every night at my brand new Ikea desk and keep a spotless home. Domestic goddess meets super intelligent lady biologist if you will. I would have my cake and eat it too once I’d moved into my new flat with my housemates.
It’s official, I have now been back in London for a month. I am no longer a fresher – it usually takes me a moment or two to remember this when someone asks me what year I’m in – and I do grown up things now that I live in a flat and not halls, like pay rent, set up direct debits and clean the kitchen. Wow.
After a great (but long) summer, it’s been a little bit difficult to settle back in to Imperial life but I’m enjoying my courses so far and also the change to my timetable! Morning labs can be hard to motivate yourself before but on a non-lab day I now get a lie in rather than the continuous 9am starts that I had last year so I’m not complaining too much!