There have been a few phrases that I have adopted since coming to University and they have been detrimental to my bank account balance and lifestyle choices. ‘I am treating myself‘ or ‘I deserve this’ have been absolutely awful. When I walk into Sainsbury’s and see a large Lindt bar on the shelf calling my name I manage to convince myself I need or deserve a treat…which is never, ever the case.
Another great phrase is ‘you’re only a fresher once’. Because…it’s true. It is an excuse to do pretty much anything ridiculous as you have the excuse that it is all part of a ‘fresher experience’.
I just realised I haven’t told you anything about my lectures this term! So much for this being an informative and insightful blog about life at Imperial…
We are now almost three weeks in, and the structure of the term is starting to reveal itself. Firstly I have Wednesdays and Friday mornings off, which makes my week very on-off intense, with nine ‘til six on a Monday and nine ‘til five on a Tuesday and then a day of pure pure rest. I have fewer lecture courses than last term to add to the relaxation—Sun, Stars and Planets, Electromagnetism and Atomic Physics, which you should read as interesting, awesome and evil respectively.
I went to a talk on thursday by Grant Miller who works for Zooniverse, a citizen science website. He was a great speaker, and the talk was very interesting so I thought I would share some of it with you, and also address some of the criticism of this and similar projects.
If you haven’t heard of it before, the idea behind citizen science is getting the public to help sort through scientific data. This can be all kinds of things, from pictures of animals taken by motion-sensitive cameras in the Serengeti, to the different kinds of whale song.
If you have been following my blog for any period of time you will know that I frequently like to talk about the lack of women at Imperial. As most of my friends will tell you, this is something I feel pretty strongly about (no for real, even if they care 0% about the gender ratio, I rant about it so often they will still be able to tell you why it can be hard to be a woman here). I do think it’s important for Imperial ladies to stick together and to know what to expect so here we go, from one female to fresher to (hopefully!) another.
So, interviews have started. Yipee!! We have seen lots of fresh faced applicants wandering around SAF and it has been pretty exciting. I was having a think about things that I wish I had known when I was getting ready for my interview and I hope that this will help you guys (this is only my opinion though!).
1) Why do you actually want to do medicine? No seriously. We know you like people and that you hope the world will be cured by your skills…but that’s not a full answer. Come up with something original and really think about it.
Today I started a new lab cycle on Charges and Fields. There are two experiments in it— Millikan’s famous oil drop experiment to measure the fundamental charge of the electron and measuring the Earth’s magnetic field. Both of them are quite simple ideas (observing how oil drops are deflected in a capacitor and watching the deflection of a current carrying wire respectively) but they are both difficult to carry out accurately and get good results. Also they are done in the dark.
I am doing the floating magic oil drop one. I have a vaporiser to squeeze in a spray of oil droplets between the capacitor plates, a power supply to adjust their motion and a microscope to squint in at the tiny tiny little floating dots.
First weekend back after a long first week at Imperial! I’m actually exceptionally lucky to have reading weeks at the moment before my exams at the beginning of Feb so it’s been a reasonably gentle but also quite full on ease back in to uni life. Social life is obviously a really important part of your university experience and I did worry before I came to Imperial that I’d spend my weekends locked in to my room either studying or staring at the wall because I had no friends. Luckily I don’t do either of those (at least not every weekend haha) so this is a post to dispel any myths that you’ve heard about the Imperial social life.
Life has reached a sort of crazy equilibrium in the last week as I’ve started to truly grasp how much my course expects me to know for my exams (and I thought the twenty amino acids would be a lot…) and at the same time had some of the better nights out (and in) I can claim at Imperial. Unfortunately (and very aptly), in the beautiful world of bioenergetics, equilibrium means death. And so we beat on, biochemists against the biochemistry, borne back ceaselessly down the marking scale.
There was a surreal moment this week when we were told a practical we’d done ages ago (I hadn’t remembered doing it and certainly didn’t want it back) had been ‘marked and returned to our pigeonholes’.
I was absolutely delighted to have been given a place on the Netball (and Football) tour at the very last minute. This exciting sporting highlight was cleverly named Fetball Tour and was held in Bristol this year.
The coach journey entailed books being read aloud on the bus, medical students practising their history taking skills and all round pleasantness. Some of us were even able to do some acting on the bus- I found the plays very thought provoking. We were assigned groups which we would stick with during the weekend. I was delighted with my group and my pink accessories we wore!
If you’re reading this blog you are probably at least vaguely interested in science. However, you are also more than likely of the view that real science is done at high levels by people who are very clever and very well trained (and who you might one day hope to become one of).
These days though, citizen science projects are becoming more widespread, meaning that anyone can take part in a little bit of science for themselves. You might have seen on the BBC’s Stargazing Live programmes recently, that volunteers were asked to head online to help spot gravitational lenses from a bank of astronomical pictures.