Going through my sent box today I came across the piece I submitted to the student blogger search back in October 2013, when I had been in London for about a week and was still bright-eyed and excited about arriving in the Greatest City Of All Time. I still love London because why wouldn’t you, but life is very busy at the moment and I’m feeling so tired and worn out by work and revision! It was fun to relive my freshers week through reading this old post, which I don’t think made it on to this blog originally, and I thought I’d share it with you today.
Having flu (to be more precise, missing an entire week from school) made me realise that I should live more healthily. I’ve always known that I am not the Embodiment of Health, but somehow I managed to get away with it without any serious consequences. But this time, it was different… And I decided to change a few things in my lifestyle. It is not as easy as it sounds… 🙂
First of all, I started to pay attention to my “five-a-day”. To those from outside the UK: this is an expression used to promote eating at least five portions of fruit/vegetables per day.
So this week the biggest challenge was being confronted with death. Sounds strange, but I hadn’t expected it that morning, so I was hit hard. Of course I’ve seen death before in medical school- the cadavers we use for dissection, old patients on the ward who pass away quietly in their sleep and death certification. This however was different as it was unexpected- someone younger who yesterday was walking around fine, then suddenly today they have gone. It wasn’t predicted or even suspected. Other than the suddenness of it all, I was also struck by the sadness as the team slowly realised they had done all they possibly could but that it simply wasn’t enough.
Sunday was Valentine’s Day, and this year I managed to visit home to spend some time with my boyfriend, Andrew. We had an earthworm hunt! and then the more classic takeaway and movie.Andrew digging the hole for earthworms Earthworms under an old bag of compost = lazy earthworm hunting! Happy Valentine’s Day!
I also enjoyed some of the entomological Valentine posts on Twitter, which I gathered into a Storify:[View the story “Spineless Valentines” on Storify]
Check out the hashtag #academicvalentines too for pithy academic humour.
Everyone knows that Imperial is (mainly) a STEM university. Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (and a bit of Medicine and Business): all the good stuff. The average Imperial student knows pi to the 40th decimal places by heart but probably couldn’t name 3 Shakespeare plays… That’s why the Horizons program is such a good idea: it brings a little bit of humanities into our STEMy world. How little? Well, exactly 2 hours a week 🙂
Amanda has written about the topic in detail, so I won’t repeat the dropout rate or the advantages and disadvantages. I would like to write about my experiences instead…
In the first term I signed up for The World Today (I chose this over Spanish because I realised Spanish can be learnt anywhere, but this course is quite a unique thing…).
Having finally finished the lab cycles, I can talk about them in a much less bitter manner. They are split into three sections and there is a lab guide flying around the internet if you wish to see what actually goes on, but I’ll just go over them briefly through the filter of my opinions.
Measurement and Uncertainty
This isn’t really a lab cycle, just an introduction to the pain of error propagation. It’s an unfortunately useful pain and actually clears up some confusion from A-level. I always asked why we calculated errors in one certain way, when more than one appeared to make sense and heard “because they are all valid, but OCR only accepts this one”.
Taking clear and well-organised lecture notes is not only important for later revision, but also helps to keep up with the lecture pace. Here are some things that you need to know about lecture notes taking.
1> Straight copy from lecture PPT is pointless: Really, why would you even bother going to lectures if you are just gonna copy stuff from PPT. In University lectures, most lecturers don’t just read stuff he wrote in PPT, instead he talks about stuff that’s elaborated based on the slides. Focus more on what the lecturer says and writes in the lecture 😛
2> Get enough sleep before lecture: A good night sleep will definitely help you concentrate on the lectures (especially during the lectures that you find boring).
When I first visited London one of the first things I noticed was the ridiculous amount of ads that plastered the walls of tube stations. As you stood on a crazy long escalator you were bombarded with things to buy, shows to see, online shopping sites to try… etc. But the thing that really interested me were the shows.check out all those ads!
The theatre culture in London is awesome, there are a huge variety of shows from musicals, Shakespeare, the latest book adaptation, comedies and more. The musicals with never ending runs, like Billy Elliot, Lion King, Les Miserables and other ‘classics’ are more targeted at tourists who want to experience the theatre culture, rather than the ‘theatre connoisseur’ who enjoys frequenting more obscure productions.
The Spring test is some kind of “preparation” for the final exams in May/June. A “taster”, where we can get to know what kind of problems to expect, how to deal with exam stress, how to use the calculator… It counts 5% in the end of year mark, which is lower than the Matlab test (6%). That’s where things went wrong…
Not every subject is “spring test subject”, only Fluid Mechanics, Properties of Matter, Mathematics, Thermodynamics and Process Analysis. And even from these, not every lecture is “spring test material”, just the previously specified ones… And we were told that we shouldn’t worry, it’s an easy test, we should spend about a week on revision, that is more than enough.
A day late for #wormwednesday this post looks back on the earthworms I identifying during my volunteer work on the Natural History Museum Soil Biodiversity Group BESS Earthworm Project.