Important factors to consider when flat-hunting in London
Before coming to Imperial, I was concerned about how there is no campus accommodation after your first year. However, this offers flexibility for you to decide how you want to live. There are many options, living alone, with friends, in halls…so what are some factors you must consider?
Staying in halls close to campus
If you haven’t gathered the courage to find friends to live with, don’t worry. Evelyn Gardens is an accommodation for returning undergraduates that has similar layouts to first-year halls, letting you make friends with people on your floor whilst having your personal space in one-person bedrooms.
In Syria, we celebrate Christmas on the 25th day of December of each year. The celebrations take many forms from spectacular Christmas trees, colourful decorations and Christmas songs blasting from almost everywhere to life-size nativity scenes in big and famous churches and squares in Damascus. Giving presents is customary but it is usually from parents to their young children. It stops once the children reach a certain age around 12-14 years. Families gather together for a family feast on Christmas Eve. Usually, they can hear the sound of enthusiastic and celebratory fireworks in the background.
‘Milad Majeed’ is how we say Merry Christmas in Syria and we call Father Christmas ‘Papa Noel’ although Santa Claus is also quite common.
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.
Insights on time management, making friends and self-care
Many Imperial students such as your departmental Mums and Dads (a support scheme of older students) would tell you that Imperial has a “work hard, play hard” culture – drink on weekends, study hardcore on weekdays. This is not necessarily true as you are the one in control of your uni experience. It’s also impractical if you cannot stand working for long hours. Moreover, not drinking seems like a social disadvantage since the most notable weekly event at uni bar FiveSixEight is when all sports societies head down after practice to chill. There’s so much going on, academics, socialising…- the people are one of the best things about Imperial – so how do you make the most of your time here?
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.
I guess many of you came across Imperial Horizons when doing research about our university. For those who didn’t: it’s free classes (held once a week at 4-6 PM) which give you a chance to learn something outside of your main course and get it indicated in your final transcript. There is a really wide range of topics available for every student and once chosen wisely (read on!), it’s a great way to jump away from your everyday lectures and labs! Horizons isn’t only about languages: the picture shows what modules I could pick for this year.
Just about a year ago, I was an anxious fresher leaving home with my pots and pans, duvet and towels. I was ready to trade my cherished baguette and cheese for tea and scones. I was a fearless soldier ready to survive at Imperial. Here I am a year later after having proudly honoured that red lanyard and currently on my way home for Christmas. On top of the smell of mulled wine and roasting sweet nuts, there definitely is something magical in the London air around Christmas. Magic that is definitely worth sharing.
Christmas mingling at Imperial
For many students at Imperial, the weeks leading up to Christmas are associated to exams and coursework deadlines but are paradoxically not restrained to indulging endless cups of coffee at the library.
In the 3 months since I moved to London the number one question that I’ve been asked by everyone from classmates to relatives to strangers is how it compares to New York City, my hometown. Overall, I think the two cities have very similar vibes but some aspects I just can’t help but compare. So, for the curious, I’m pleased to present the definitive comparison list:
Subway System: Londoners are shocked when I proclaim my undying love for the Tube, but it’s true. The NYC subway may run 24/7 (ostensibly) but you lose a little piece of your soul every time you miss your train and see that the next one isn’t for another 18 minutes.
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)