Last week I went down to London with my mum and sister to continue searching for flats for next year. My other two housemates are in Japan and Southampton at the moment so the responsibility fell to me!
It’s hard to find a place around Imperial campus close enough to walk, which is what we really wanted, having lived further out in first year and not enjoyed the experience of getting the bus everyday through London traffic (especially early in the morning or on Friday night). Obviously most of the closest areas to Imperial (South Kensington and Chelsea for example) are far too expensive for us to find anywhere suitable, so we ended up looking around Earls Court, Fulham and West Kensington.
I enjoy music, but until now had never been to a music festival, all those crowds of people, loud noise and camping was not something I thought I could cope with. However I was aware from talking to my colleagues at the University of Reading last year that festivals are not just about music, and often have stands and science activities run by universities and other institutions. This felt like something I would enjoy so I put it on my mental list of ‘things to do while studying for a PhD’. I was very excited to see a call from the Royal Society of Biology and British Ecological Society for volunteers to help run ecology themed activities and bioblitz (an event where you try to identify as many species as possible) at Latitude Festival in Suffolk.
I’ve been a bit lax with my blogging over the last few weeks as I have been busy writing and submitting my early stage assessment – a report of what I have done so far in my PhD and what I plan to do next. This will be followed up with a short viva from my panel – eek! So it was good to get a day out doing outreach at Imperial College Silwood Park a few days after submitting. Silwood Park is Imperial’s postgraduate campus near Ascot, Berkshire, with research and teaching in ecology, evolution, and conservation. One of my supervisors is based there, so I occasionally visit for meetings and eventually will be going there to extract and analyse microbial DNA from my soil samples.
The scene is set: you’re stood in front of the entrance to a cave. Visibility is non-existent past the few metres in front of you. Suddenly, you hear footsteps. The footsteps slowly turn into a dishevelled figure and soon enough you’re met by this haggard stranger. He brushes his wild hair out of his face and as your eyes meet his, it strikes you that you know this person. But who is it?
Wait a second.
Yeah, that’s right. It’s-a me! It’s been so long that I wouldn’t be surprised if all of you thought my exams had completely annihilated me.
Since the end of term I have looked round at least half of London’s flats and houses. Things are a bit trickier this year as one of our housemates is an international student who doesn’t have a UK guarantor (someone who can sign a form to say they will pay her rent if she doesn’t). This is a real problem, especially with visas running out and houses in London costing all the money.
We did find one house that only required a guarantor for three out of the four of us, which sounded good until the estate agent lightly explained to us students, that we needed to show savings of £30000 each.
‘Congratulations! We are delighted to let you know that we have decided to make you an offer to study H801 Chemical Engineering (MEng 4YFT) in 14/15 at Imperial College London…’
I squeal in delight upon reading this email. I rush to my parents to tell them of the good news. After many hugs and kisses, it dawns on me that I am going to Imperial College (if I met my entry requirements), one of the best academic institutions in the world. Little did I know what this academic year had in store for me.
One of the most important aspects of university life is the accommodation; this is the first time many students stay away from home for a long period of time.
Sometimes it is hard to think what to write on my blog posts, especially when I am supposed to be writing a 9 month report for my PhD! To help I have started a ‘Throwback Thursday’ looking back at some of the posts I made on my pre-Imperial College blog. This one was written in April 2013, when I was 6 months into MSc Taxonomy and Biodiversity at Imperial College London.
The Wildlife Gardening Forum is a group of organisations and people who are passionate about wildlife in gardens and seek to help people value and enjoy wildlife in their gardens. While there has been quite a lot of interest in gardens as habitats for birds, mammals and pollinating insects, few consider the life below ground so this conference was a great way to raise the profile of soil organisms and discuss ideas.
I haven’t blogged in such a long time! But exams are now finally over, the summer ball was last night and term has finally drawn to a close. It’s crazy to think that this time last year I was moving out of halls. Second year has flown by and I’m frankly terrified by the speedy passage of time. I feel like things definitely go quicker the older you get! So I’ve been exam-free for a week and it’s been great! I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve been up to (and my apologies to the second year medics who haven’t even finished their exams yet… thinking of you guys!).