Disclaimer: This is not an official statement from Imperial College. This is just me deciding to write a blog to update people as I ran out of things to do during isolation 🙂
Imperial has been responding vigilantly to the COVID19 crisis. The Faculty of Medicine had been emailing us updates over the past few days detailing how we should proceed during these uncertain times. We are all trying to adapt to this fast-changing situation the best we can.
Difficult decisions were made. Clinical exams were duly cancelled. All teaching will be delivered remotely for the rest of the academic year.
Not quite how I thought my time at Imperial would end
Last Friday night standing in Metric, waiting for the results of the Leadership Elections 2020, little did I know that that would be the last time I saw so many of my friends, the last time I stood in the Union Buildings and my last gathering of more than 5 people as an Imperial student. 10 minutes later, we received the email that told us College was due to close and that the entire community of 17,000 students and 8,000 staff would be moving online.
Recent international, governmental and institutional decisions have truly shook the face of the Earth. The empty supermarket shelves, the lack of pasta and toilet paper, the closing of universities and borders… Currently on my way home with mixed feelings, my chest seems to weigh a ton but I wanted to share the main highlights of my second term:
I have taken part in a range on events this term: creating Beeswax films with the Ecology society, debating with FemSoc, participating in the FoNS-MAD Science competition, attending the musical Dear Evan Hansen, Biochemistry Ball, Science challenge… The diversity of these have not only allowed me to forge new connections but also engage in interesting conversations such as “to what extent do quotas reflect merit?”
In light of recent developments, I thought it’d be good to share some thoughts as an International Student here. The situation at home (Malaysia for me) and here in the UK seems to be developing at a similar pace, with numbers rising day after day. There are a lot of uncertainties at this moment, especially regarding borders; the possibility of a lock down both here and back home.
From all I can see, the expansive coverage by social media and traditional media in general, fear mongering is real and it’s undoubtedly spreading panic to the general public. What I’ve decided to do, is to limit the COVID-19 information that I am exposed to, on all my social media.
Science is improving the world with new discoveries, but should we consider their sociopolitical implications?
I will attempt to answer that using anime. Before you cringe about how someone could compare storyline in a 2D world to our very real 3D world, the series I’m covering has not just advice relating to Imperial but on how as scientifically-minded jobseekers, the way we view the world is important.
All is One
In Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (FMAB), alchemy is considered a field of science. The plot is set in a pre-WWII context and follows two brothers. During their training to become alchemists, they were chucked to a desolate island to find the meaning behind alchemy.
I haven’t written a blog since I have come back in January, and I’ve realised why. In all honesty, I have really had a horrible term. It is beginning to look up, but a lot has happened that has made me hold off on blogging. I have had amazing experiences at this uni, but for the last eight weeks I’ve really struggled to see the positive from all the rubbish that has made me ultimately hate being here for a bit. However, I wouldn’t have published this if I didn’t have a positive spin on my awful second term. While I’ve hit my lowest points a few times, I’ve been proactive and have made some changes which are beginning to make my uni experience less terrible.
After paying the second half of my tuition fees, it’s fair to say that money has been on my mind a lot this week. One of the reasons that I chose to come to the UK for grad school was the cost. Higher education in the US is infamously expensive and, unlike my undergrad degree, I would be taking on the price of grad school entirely myself. Even factoring in the exchange rates, the cost of a UK MSc was still far less than one from back home. Pretty much a no-brainer to study here, right? However, as an international student, choosing to pursue a master’s degree at Imperial rather than another UK university has been its own financial challenge.
You often hear from older peers or professional guidance about how different university is from school but it’s never really addressed or emphasised strongly enough what exactly is different. Learning the difference early on can make a big positive impact on your overall university experience. University life, in general, takes time to get used to even when it is positive so preparing more beforehand will make the transition from school to university much smoother.
Back home in my international school in Indonesia, things were really different from Imperial in many ways. One of the most striking differences was the reputation of owning a Macbook. Would anyone here at Imperial even believe that my school in 2015 had actually proposed a rule “strongly encouraging” (practically imposing) the use of a Macbook as opposed to any other device? A lot of parents actually complained against this new policy and drafted petitions against this imposition and as a result, the school silently softened its stance. Nevertheless, my school has been recognized as an Apple Distinguished School for two consecutive terms (6 years).
When you hear students talk about how broke they are, I can 100% say they are probably not over exaggerating. For those of us who live in London, this statement is especially true.
Growing up, most of my friends’ older brothers and sisters worked part-time at the local McDonald’s or Subway to make that extra cash during their uni days. Naturally, I also thought I’d follow the tradition and began stressing over whether or not being a cashier at KFC was a respectable job. When I got to year 12 I started thinking bigger.
I was smitten with myself. None of my other friends had come up with that idea.