Welcome to Round 2 of the Imperial Survival Challenge! Getting back into the ‘zone’ after weeks of slacking off and chilling on the couch during Christmas break does take a lot (especially if you forgot how to write over Christmas :))
Start of Autumn Term
I remembered what the start of the Autumn term looked like. All the “freshers week” events, so-called ice-breakers, socials and “introduction” lectures to the various courses ran through my exhausted mind. The time I got to spend with new faces, exploring the city and attempting to sort out finances (clearly didn’t work for the first few weeks, thanks to my amazing cooking skills).
Similarly to a little bird flying away from its beloved nest, leaving home to come study in a huge city can be extremely daunting for most prospective students. Add to that the many responsibilities (for example grocery shopping, cooking, washing) of an independent life and it is easy to be terrified. However, this is something that we have all been through. Been an accommodation tour guide on the open days and post to discussions with freshers have shown me that many prospective students are concerned about finding a part time job or knowing if it is even possible to reconcile their studies with a job.
Lots of people say that they’re a bunch of rubbish, and that if you want to change, you can do it anytime. I’m a big proponent for them, though. For sure, New Years resolutions come with problems. I’ve been unrealistic with mine sometimes, with crazy past resolutions being hitting 100% in tests, getting 8 hours of sleep every night (never gonna happen, haha), going from a cheese obsessed vegetarian to vegan (I want to, but not overnight!).
New Years resolutions are great because with the start of a new year, the changes you make can be traced back to January 1st, and it feels more significant.
I’ve really needed a job to undo my financial errors. To be blunt, I was very financially reckless last term, knowing fully well that I was spending more than I was getting, and that nothing could really bail me out. Therefore, I decided to return to my gap year job in retail.
Being the most busy season of the year, they welcomed me with open arms!
Working during the Christmas holidays has been a blessing, but not without its stresses. This blog post outlines the good and bad parts of Christmas retail.
The good parts
Money! Ultimately, I needed this job because the minus sign on my bank statement was turning my blood cold.
During the fall term I spent most of my time on campus, even coming in on weekends to use the pool at Ethos and get some work done in the quiet student common room of my department building. But now that the College is closed for the holidays I’ve been spending a lot more time at home, which for me is a student accommodation in North London. Finding a place to live in London was a big concern for me as an incoming international postgraduate student, as options through Imperial were limited, and I know that many of my fellow students have been in the same boat.
Whilst my first two years at Imperial could be largely summed up by my extra curricular activities, coming into third year I have decided to focus my attention on my degree in order to secure that 2.1. (I’m not that academic :/ )
With this in mind, my first step was to decide what activities I would continue into final year, and what would sadly have to face the chop. Having been elected President of MathSoc, I knew that this would be my biggest focus and would take up most of my free time.
Moving to uni I’ve already had a lot of good and bad experiences. But I’ve never experienced a really low grade before. At least, not until today! As a first year, I had my first progress test to check in on how I was doing a week ago. Hours of library work, vigorous note taking, answering tutorials etc went into studying for this test. Despite all of my best efforts, when I went into the room and looked at the paper, I really froze up. I haven’t done an exam in 1.5 years and had forgotten the exam room atmosphere and dreaded clock counting down every second.
A few weeks ago, I was sat at home trying to digest some of my Stochastic Simulation course when I received a phone call from the RCSU President, Alex, asking me to come back to campus at 10pm to help steal a giant spanner and bolt from the CGCU office. Now let me provide some context to this.
Most of you will know that Imperial is made up of Constituent Unions (CUs). They are:
Royal College of Science Union, RCSU (This is the one I’m in and is made up all science students)
City and Guilds College Union, CGCU (This is the one with the engineers)
Royal School of Mines Union, RSMU (Materials, Geology and Geophysics students)
Imperial College School of Medicine Students’ Union, ICSMSU (The medics)
The exciting things Maths students get up to over Summer
The summer before your final or penultimate year is often quite important. It could help you decide what your future holds, or give you a chance to explore something you’re very interested in. This summer, some of my friends and I embarked on internships and research opportunities all over the world! Although we may not have had much time to sleep, relax or enjoy the sun, we definitely got a lot out of the opportunities we had and made our final summers at uni incredibly useful. I hope this post gives you a good idea of how being a student at Imperial opens up so many doors and how not everyone ends up being interested in the same thing.
When I was on my first year, I remember every single second year people said, second year is gonna be tough. Two weeks in, and I feel great, I feel better than ever.
You know why I feel great. I spent my first year, trying to figure out the person that I wanted to be, doubts and all. In the process, I jeopardize my academic record, and I had to push so hard a week leading to exam week, that I felt like my body are disintegrating. I slept in one of the exam room, during the exam. The worst thing that could happen on exam week happened to me.