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 have an unusual routine every Thursday night. I pull on a pair of swimming trunks, a dive mask and snorkel, and a pair of fins before diving into the deep pool at Putney Leisure Centre. I am an underwater rugby player.
Underwater rugby is played in a 3D-environment where attacks can come from anywhere: above, below and all around you.
Underwater rugby (UWR) started life in Germany in the 1960s as a way for divers to stay fit during the winter. It quickly took on a life of its own and today, it is played in much of Europe, as well as the US, Australia, Colombia and Singapore.
Mental health and university… recently I feel like I’m discussing this problem every single day. As a student representative I communicate this issue to colleagues, staff members, university support systems, external panels etc. I also wrote about mental and PhD – even if you’re not a PhD student, have a read, it might apply to you as well.
However, not everyone is talking about it. Some aren’t aware that this issue is important, some don’t care and many just are afraid or don’t know how to offer support to someone who might struggle. Tomorrow is a great opportunity to give it a try – Time to Talk Day 2018.
London, known to many as “The Big Smoke” has historically, and still today, been synonymous with air pollution, traffic jams and intense urban hustle and bustle. BUT, there is another side to the city – its “greener” side. London, despite the nicknames and assumptions, actually boasts 8 Royal Parks and countless smaller green spaces. So, if you need an escape from city life – the parks are a perfect saviour!
Hyde Park Italian Gardens. Photo credit: Panos Asproulis from London, United Kingdom / Wikimedia.
In my opinion, probably one of the best known parks in London for multiple reasons.
The St Mary’s pool has been a fixture of the campus for 80 years and now, for very vague reasons, it’s shutting down. The last day for the pool (and the staff who run it), is on 16 July 2018.
If you’re a regular at St Mary’s you’ll know how much this pool means to the people who work and study here. There are few other ways to clear your head after long hospital rounds or a session of disease modelling. What’s more, the facilities at South Ken are too far for us to access easily.
That’s why we’ve set up a petition to try and save our little pool.
Eating healthier, becoming more athletic and so on can be found every year again among the Top 5 New Year’s resolutions. However, several studies show sobering results. Already after 2 weeks (roughly now) the first ones will start dieing off again, in March 75 % of the resolutions are supposed to be forgotten.
Every one of us knows this: sometimes you are sporty, sometimes you are not. The causes are as diverse as the cultural diversity of the Imperial College. Exam phase stress, social projects or permanent events such as weddings, birthday etc. We live in a busy world.
Nonetheless, it is essential to constantly re-evaluate oneself and at least return to basic forms of exercise.
Let’s face it: doing a PhD isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. The process can be painful and annoying, and at some point you’re probably going to get completely stuck. If you’ve ever done any research, you definitely know what I’m talking about.
There’s something you need to do, usually some task that was supposed to be easy – a toy example, an almost standard code, a “quick” experiment to check your hypothesis. And here you are, spending long hours, days, weeks, even months, not even closer to solving your problem. You’ve tried everything, used all possible sources you could find, but this devil isn’t giving up.
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.
A PhD is hard. Plenty of people have blogged about mental health problems while doing a PhD e.g.
In some ways I have an advantage as in addition to my Asperger Syndrome diagnosis I have a long history of anxiety and depression going right back to my early teens so am already equipped for dealing with mental health difficulties. Here is what I have found: