In a rather abstract way, I became Hall senior for my year abroad. After the previously-selected senior jumped off for private reasons, I was asked by the subwarden whether I could be up for the job. Since I always like to organize things and had some leadership experience, I thought to myself: why not. The following things are an excerpt of the things I’ve learned during many many events throughout the year.
People seldom thank you for the organization
Somehow organization has always been there, everything seems to run by itself, everything seems to fit together by magical forces. But no, behind these magical powers are people doing the work, sometimes less, sometimes more.
Why would we expect it be any different, during the exam phase everything revolves around exams. I have now finished all exams at Imperial and it went quite well. Most of the exams were fairly constructed, but personally it felt more difficult to reach 100%. The fact that I have written exams in both the Chemical Department and the Mechanical Department allows me to make an interesting interdisciplinary comparison of my observations.
Ban on eating
Fortunately, I was allowed to bring food on the latter, so that I could fill up my sugar reserves after 2 hours of concentration. Unfortunately, this was forbidden in the Chemical Department.
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.
As the academic year comes to an end, I thought I’d reflect on my first year at university.
Here’s the thing- we all have a tendency to sugarcoat. We share all the good, but seldom the ‘bad’ times. Sure, there’s the occasional (or frequent) posts about workload and stress; but how many of us actually openly share our experiences when the goings get really tough? Following my last blogpost, I’d really like to keep the honesty streak going.
First term was a bit of a nightmare for me- it was almost a process of trying to rediscover myself in a sense.
It’s no secret that London can be expensive to live in but thankfully, having a good meal doesn’t have to burn a hole in your pocket. Here’s a quick guide to getting tasty treats at wallet-friendly prices.
1. Supermarket meal deals
Every supermarket and also Boots chemists do meal deals that bundle a sandwich, a snack (e.g. chocolate bars, crisps, side dishes), and a drink for anywhere between £3 – 5. Tesco’s is the cheapest but I generally prefer the stuff at Boots and Co-Op.
2. Ready-to-eat/cook meals
London favours the supermarket savvy. Most places have loads of delicious ready-to-eat/cook meals at bargain prices.
Just a few thoughts as I close the lid on two momentous terms at Imperial.
1. You don’t know what you can achieve until you try
I took a big risk doing this course considering the huge cost and my non-science background. Plus it’s been almost a decade since my undergrad days. Yet somehow I have thrived. Amid the flood of new concepts, information and working styles, I find myself with a fighting chance of a distinction (although maybe I’ve just jinxed it). Of course, I still have the massive challenge of my dissertation but this is already beyond what I imagined this time last year.
…are paved with gold? Is that what Dick Whittington heard when he started his journey to London all those years ago? Well maybe there’s no gold paving, but there’s more to being in London than following the highways of learning and earning, and so there is surely plenty of opportunity for detours along the byways of cultural advancement as well. The legendary Whittington rose from a pauper boy to Mayor of London, via cats, rats and wealth, undoubtedly acquiring cultural improvement in the process. And now? What is there for a poor mature student to do in London when not under the academic cosh at Imperial?
This is the one where I open up.
“Imposter syndrome is a recognised phenomenon, first identified by psychologists in 1978, and describes a feeling that your achievements are undeserved and the fear of being exposed as a fraud. Those with imposter syndrome tend to feel that luck rather than ability lies behind their successes.” (1)
Getting into Imperial was a massive deal for me. I had not planned to apply at all- but I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life looking back with what ifs.
I didn’t think I was smart enough. I’ve always had a fluctuating impression of myself; ranging from borderline conceited to possessing a pretty low self esteem.
The Easter holidays have been and gone, punctuated by too much chocolate, lie-ins and the guilt of not working. All of this however, gave me a chance to sit and enjoy some quality movies. One evening, as I settled down to choose a film (it always takes me far too long) with my last remaining Easter egg, I stumbled across a good-old Will Smith movie. Now, you wouldn’t be mistaken for wondering where I’m going with this story, but bear with me…
Seven pounds is a 2008 Drama/Romance film featuring Will Smith, Rosario Dawson and Woody Harrelson among others. Without completely ruining the plot, the movie starts with the main character, Ben Thomas (Will Smith) phoning 911 to report his own suicide.
I visited Amsterdam this easter, during the week where it was an intense 29 degrees pretty much everywhere in Europe. Though the iconic city is mostly known for its liberal drug use and prostitutes there is much to do even if you are not there for its special activities. For students in the European Union, it’s pretty much a free pass to travel during holidays. Be sure to check if your passport is valid for the country, or if you need to get a visa.
Amsterdam is full of small islands, connecting each one through multiple bridges. This makes for some incredibly stunning views, just simply walk anywhere with the iconic houses on either side.