“This is Victoria”, the now familiar recorded message says as I step off the train at my namesake station. “Yes. Yes, it is”, I think to myself.
I am one of 28 students starting PhD research at Imperial College’s new Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet (SSCP) Doctoral Training Programme. This is hosted by the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment, although most of my research is at the Natural History Museum, one of the SSCP partner institutions, where I was based for my MSc last year. I will be modelling human impacts on soil biodiversity, combining two of the things I love most: playing with computers and digging for earthworms!
As I wave goodbye to my tearful mother, it finally dawns on me that I am actually going to live all by myself in a completely new environment, that I will have no choice but to become independent. Which means washing the dishes, grocery shopping and (gasp!) doing my laundry all for the first time. You might think I should add ‘cooking for myself’ to that list but-I am not going to lie to you- I cannot even boil water. Therefore, throughout my three weeks in London, I have depended on cereals, sandwiches and pizzas-in short the diet of a typical student.
I turned nineteen two years ago. Instead of heading off to university, I spent two years in the military. The story of why that happened and more importantly, what happened during those two years is best reserved for another blog post.
The important thing is that by the time university arrived, unlike most people who had a relatively smooth transition from one academic phase to another, mine was pretty extreme. Have I also mentioned the fact that I am an international student? That meant being away from home too.
Woah, I just checked my timetable and we’re in 9th week? How did this happen?! Time has flown by. It feels like not that long ago I was on the CU stall at freshers fair handing out free washing up liquid to slightly dazed looking freshers. The amount of deadlines that I have coming up are making me cry inside a little but there’s still a lot to look forward to in the remaining three weeks and I’ve had such a lovely weekend.
On Saturday, I went for Thanksgiving dinner at my friend’s house. There are a few American students at my church so they educated the rest of us about Thanksgiving traditions and cooked us the most incredible dinner, including the biggest turkey I’ve ever seen, mashed potatoes, candied yams (essentially, sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top that make a crust when you bake it in the oven.
I really was not one of those people that “wanted to study medicine since I was 2 years old and had a toy doctors set from my parents”. In fact, I wanted to be a librarian/café owner/ hotel owner for the early years. As I grew older (not taller), I managed to build up a giant selection of teddies. These were soon to become my unexpected patients. My teddies and dolls went though the most horrific traumas and it was my absolute joy to care for them. Granted, the traumas were normally part of some sort of crazy game me and my siblings would play: for example one time there was a “fire” in the bedroom and we had to “evacuate” all the teddies.
I’ve been taking part in a Bloomberg journalism class over the past couple of weekends, and this week the homework was to write a blog about our real passion: what we would still spend our time doing if we had all the money we wanted. As you might have suspected, mine is science, so this seemed like an ideal blog for me to post here as well…
Super-energetic super-massive black holes spinning billions of light years apart, from across opposite ends of the universe, seem to have somehow aligned themselves. Time freezes as your spaceship approaches such a black hole.
Starting this blog, I wasn’t sure how to begin. Do I write an entry about myself? About who I am, what I do? Or do I write about something that’s just happened? Consequently undecided, I put off my first post for a while. However on Friday an event presented itself that I just had to vent about and let out my frustration. Trains suck.
This weekend was my Dad’s birthday, so I was travelling back to my home, Newcastle, for a meal out that night with family. Simple. However, a series of mishappenings resulted in two of the worst hours of my life.
I’d just like to introduce myself – my name’s Nebz and I’m a postgrad student here at Imperial College doing a master’s degree in Preventive Cardiology.
I love blogging, but I’m afraid to say I’m a bit of a mixed bag, and over this academic year I’m sure I’ll be putting up a random spread of posts on different topics. So while a lot of my posts will be about graduate life at Imperial college and my adventures around London, if you’re also interested in reading about:
science (in particular cardiology *cheesy grin*)
Then please drop by every now and then because I may talk about these things!
Now that I am 19 years old, a second year and living in a flat that I rent myself, I feel like I should have my life slightly more together. I had grand plans for this year. I would decorate my new room with fairy lights and candles, prepare delicious homecooked meals every week in my new kitchen, study every night at my brand new Ikea desk and keep a spotless home. Domestic goddess meets super intelligent lady biologist if you will. I would have my cake and eat it too once I’d moved into my new flat with my housemates.
So, the other day I had my first comprehensive tutorial. I’ve mentioned them before—they are the two three hour papers on the last three years of Physics that strike fear into everyone’s hearts. Since the start of term I’d heard people discussing their revision plans for them, which is always a terrifying conversation to overhear, especially when you haven’t even looked at a paper!
Comprehensives are actually supposed to be a selling point of an Imperial Physics degree I think, because they are all about whether you actually can do Physics not just remember stuff for a one-off exam. Of course, that’s what makes them scary—I think to some extent everyone thinks that their good exam results are a very improbable fluke—or maybe that’s just me… 😛
Anyway, the paper we looked at in my first tutorial was actually much less scary then I expected.