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.
Studying at Imperial; one of the best universities in the world, is certainly not easy. It can get tough sometimes. Catching up with lectures and tutorial sheets, meeting report deadlines, rushing projects, all the while trying to maintain a decent social life and sleep. Sounds impossible doesn’t it? It doesn’t help that I’m the kind that cannot stay still and do one thing at a time!
“You’ll only focus on studying and not join anything else this term!” It’s been 3 terms and it certainly hasn’t worked out AHAHAHAH. I TRIED but at Imperial, there are just so many exciting things to do!
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.