In the first week of March, my life was pretty much in the “business as usual” mode. Attending lectures, meeting friends, working on group projects, chilling out. Yeah, nothing special.
In the second week, something began to change. The COVID-19 situation was becoming more and more serious. There was a growing pressure on Imperial to start delivering remote classes as soon as possible. People got concerned about upcoming tests and exams in the last week of term. My coronavirus anxiety increased so much that I started dropping classes to stay in my room in Evelyn Gardens instead (normally, I don’t skip lectures at all!).
Studying Environmental Technology has been, more often than not, a bleak undertaking. My classmates and I have made a whole lot of jokes about each lecture being a new existential crisis. It feels like climate change is a train wreck in slow motion: a present danger with the potential for utter catastrophe and an increasing number of people frantically waving their hands about trying to warn others. Its most immediate effects are often played down or ignored, not helped by the fact that it can be hard to definitively say which events have been caused or exacerbated by climate change. It’s far easier for those in positions of power to continue with “business as usual”, kicking responsibility down the line until the situation inevitably reaches a point of no return.
After a week of lying around the house, “getting used to” isolation, as I like to call it, and feeling a little bit sorry for myself, I decided it was finally time to start revising for those all important final exams. Except, there was one big problem, I had absolutely no motivation to do much work. I would wake up and just not know where to start, it felt overwhelming that there was so much work to do.
I wanna take a moment to say that it is totally okay to not feel completely normal right now.
Ever since the World Health Organisation’s classification of COVID-19 as a pandemic, a new face of the world was unveiled to us. A world where countries are progressively shutting down borders and locking down. A world where supermarket pasta and toilet roll aisles are ravaged and international capital cities turning into ghost towns. A world that I took for granted.
Taking a step back from this exceptional sanitation crisis and with the social distancing, I realised how elements of what seemed part of a natural lifestyle were in fact blessed treasures: walking in to university daily, picnicking in Hyde Park with some friends, attending workshops, conferences, art exhibitions, socials and the list goes on!
Are you seriously considering a career in research? Do you want to discover new places while doing what you love? Or maybe you just want to spend your summer in an exciting way? The International Research Opportunities Programme (IROP) might be for you! It is an exchange programme which allows you to undertake a 2-month research internship at world-class Imperial partner institutions, with all costs covered by a bursary. This includes accommodation, food, flights and a visa!
I promise you this is not going to be yet another standard blog about the medical or biological nature of COVID-19 and it’s physiological and socio-economic impact – I am sure you all have been reading plenty of well-researched, well-articulated articles across the world written by experts, including a report published by our very own Imperial College London which many news articles claim was the prime catalyst for the UK and US administrations to step up their actions against the spread of COVID-19! My intention, however, is to reflect on what I have learnt from the ancient epics and scriptures from my traditions and culture and what it taught me about the attitude and mindset one needs amidst this global war.
I have done and still do a lot of part-time work at Imperial. It is financially rewarding and it feels that I am contributing to the Imperial community in some way. Last time, I spoke about working as a student caller and fundraiser with the regular giving team. This time, I am going to tell you about what the President’s Ambassador (PA) scheme is and what it is like to be a PA.
The Application Process
Hiring usually opens a few weeks into the first term of the academic year. You are required to fill a standard application form to provide your contact details, the reasons behind applying, and any previous experiences you have.
A week ago I moved out of my student accommodation. So much has changed in this past week, and social isolation has become of utmost importance. There’s been a lot of uncertainty from the outbreak, particularly for those being made redundant, or the GCSE and A Level students. The country, the world, has felt a lot of anxiety. The Covid-19 outbreak has had the unexpected side effect of significantly worsening the world’s mental health. It’s hard enough worrying about catching coronavirus yourself, but the thought of spreading it to the vulnerable makes things all the worse. I’ve found a couple of things have really helped my mental health during this outbreak, and may well help yours too.
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.