How have I already reached halfway through my time at Imperial?
As we hit the middle of February there was only one thing I could really think about, coming to half way through my degree. All undergraduate Imperial students studying engineering and most science students are on 4 year programmes, however, breaking tradition, I have decided to only do the 3 year BSc. A lot of this is due to my focus away from research and towards industry as the 4th year of the maths degree leans towards research.
During my year and half here I have definitely made some incredible friends from all over the world, learnt so much – not only academically but also practically and also had some of my best memories.
As 2018 draws to a close I have been reminiscing about some of the amazing opportunities I have been given this year, as well as some incredible projects I’ve been a part of and of course all the fun with my friends in between! Coming into this calendar year I would never have imagined that I’d currently be as involved
with life at Imperial as I have been. I’ve been fortunate enough to feature as part of the Her Imperial Campaign, go on holiday with my best friends that I met living at Beit Hall last year, moved into my first flat and got to take over the Imperial College Instagram account more times than I can count!
It’s fair to say that this term has been the most enjoyable term I have had so far at Imperial and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. It’s been super busy, I’m not sure how I managed to keep up with everything and still not skip any (most) lectures! Alongside juggling my degree in maths, I’ve also spent this term applying for internships, being on a few committees and running events as a student ambassador.
Often when people think about studying at such an academic university as Imperial, their immediate thought isn’t about all the extra curricular activities they will be able to take part in.
As a prospective student, I once wanted to know what a typical day for an EIE student was so here is my version!
Living in Wilson House as a hall senior I wake up at 8:00am to get to a 9:00 am lecture.
Wilson House is conveniently ~25mins from the SK campus and the walk is visually captivating since you walk through Hyde Park! For those from countries which are really full of nature like me, you probably won’t get what the big deal is to have a walk though a park.
But a park like Hyde Park in a city like London is not easy to come by, so living in a hall that allows you to enjoy this walk everyday is amazing (except during the winters 😀 )
8:00 – Grudging roll out of bed – too early for Electronic labs or Computer Labs
8:30 – Walk to uni
9:00 to 12:00 – This is usually some sort of labs in 2nd year (in first year you enjoy the great life and have labs in the afternoons!
There was another day of the festival on Friday, but in the end I couldn’t make it, except for one final talk on brain stimulation. In the tradition of my other blogs here is a little summary of some of the interesting points:
Brain Stimulation: Perils and Promises
The first speaker talked about working with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation which seems to be as simple as slapping and anode and a cathode on the head, the anode on the bit of brain you want to increase activity in and the cathode on another bit to reduce activity.
This is a cheap, non-invasive and portable method that simply raises or lowers the threshold for activity that the neuron needs to fire, kind of like how a catalyst can lower the energy needed for a reaction to start.
Today was my last full day at the festival, which is sad, but to be honest I probably have more than enough things that I need to do more research into by this stage.
One thing I’ve noticed this week is that so many speakers still apologise for putting maths and science into their talks… This is surely nonsense. There is no need to say ‘there will be no more maths, I promise! ‘or ‘this is the last sciency looking graph you will have to deal with’ or ‘I’m sorry this is a log scale.’ For goodness sake. If people don’t know what a log scale is they aren’t going to burst into tears or run out of the talk.
All of the talks I’ve been to have left time at the end for questions and discussion with the speaker. I started the week thinking this would add a lot of value to the lectures but I’m not so sure anymore.
That is because most of the questions run like this:
‘Hello! I am someone who came to this talk because I have my own strong, slightly (through to ludicriously) batty opinion on this topic which I will now use this opportunity to hold forth about, even though it bares little resemblance to anything you actually mentioned in your talk and makes everyone else feel uncomfortable.’
Hello 🙂 here goes another late night blog writing session from me. To avoid the whole tedious: ‘first I did this and then I did this’ approach, I am going to put subheadings about each of the talks I went to (because they are genuinely all too interesting to miss out).
This talk was on how smartphones, smartwatches, Google Glass etc. could be used to monitor people’s movements, speech patterns and all sorts of other things like text message content, to give doctors objective information on their symptoms over time.
I’ve read about this topic before, but hadn’t thought about how some of this information is already being measured by our phones and being thrown away, for example in the technology that flips the screen when your orientation changes– this measures the direction of gravity acting on your device (something I am completely in awe of the accuracy of, having tried a similar thing in the lab).
Today was a little bit more relaxed– I only went to three talks, but it was family day at the university so there was face painting, a carousel, circus people jumping around, giant inflatable lungs etc etc. I got a subtle rocket painted onto my face, whereas Galina, another student from the bursary scheme, got her whole face done as a parrot which made her a feature of a lot of people’s pictures in the lectures, many of whom seemed to think it was her actual make-up…(?)
The first event was about how computing was communicated in schools– it was more of a reflection on the past methods than I thought, which was actually really interesting, as I’d never heard of any of the programs or computers they were talking about (as well as some of them being hilarious– you should take a look at a great YouTube clip from tomorrow’s world about ‘Nellie, the school computer’).
So, my first day at the British Science Festival is done 🙂 I’ve been to five events today as well as investigate the university and spent am embarrassing ten seconds in the Lapworth Museum…
I’ve met so many more people today including ones I literally met five seconds ago in my flat! I’m sure you will all be pleased to know that I ditched them early to write this blog 😛
Our food is from a little set-up cafe called the Flask and Bunsen with beakers for flowerpots (surely a great idea for a science themed party if any of you are cool enough), but is mostly sandwiches, so we might be forced to foray into Birmingham city centre one evening to supplement this diet.