Before I got here, I was stressing about money considerably more than I’m stressing about it now, which is worrying in itself. So for anyone in the same situation, I’m going to break down how I survive.
Background: I receive a student finance loan, as a home student. I also happen to recieve the minimum student loan there is and no grants or bursaries. At the same time, the financial situation at home is such that I wouldn’t nag for money unless I need it, although of course they take care of me and are prepared to be a safety net, so I never end up selling my own kidney.
One of the highlights of societies so far was the kayaking freshers trip to Wales. We stayed in the Imperial Mountain Hut somewhere in Snowdonia.
Standard start with superhero-resembling poses atop a minibus, because there is no mundane way to get 12 kayaks on a rack. I don’t know how to describe a long bus journey, other than with the confession that I now know what the worst radio stations of London sound like.
The hut is cool. It’s a hut and it’s cold, so it’s cool. The evening consisted of the intellectually fulfilling creation of architecture on the ceiling beams using the many cans of *hot chocolate* we emptied.
Both the Felix and the Tab today released an article stating that after a year of open opposition from the Union and most of the student body, all halls in Evelyn Gardens will be closed down at the end of next academic year.
I for one am absolutely gutted by this news. I have loved living in Evelyn Gardens so far this year and for people who want to live close by but can’t afford Prince’s Gardens, it’s the perfect place to live as it’s only a 20 minute walk away. Imperial will be moving all of this accommodation to Acton, 30 minutes away by public transport and over an hour to walk, meaning that students will need to shell out quite a lot of money in tube/bus costs whilst living in halls of residence.
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.
The Christmas holidays are indeed a well needed break for everyone that has been working so hard this term. Coming home has given me the TLC I didn’t realise I had needed and the food my body has craved. However, I have come home absolutely broke.
I have zero money. These last few weeks of Christmas events have officially ruined my bank account. I have spent an excessive amount on Christmas presents for my family and I have splashed out on my “Secret Santa” presents. I guess this is something you would be expecting living in the richest area of London (Thanks Imperial!).
2) Family– My family hasn’t really changed to be fair, but the amount of time I see them has increased a lot. Before university I would sit in my room, alone. Most of the time in the dark. Now I see them about once a week. Result!
3) Food– Oh gosh food is amazing. I have really fallen in love with big meals. My cooking “buddy” makes me eat a lot of vegetables which is a nice change from the lunchtime £1.43 chips at the union. Some of the meals I have had have been full of imagination and creativity with favourites including burgers on waffles with nutella.
It is hard starting afresh. New friends, new environment and new lifestyle. It was even harder coming to Imperial, one of the greatest Universities in the world, with preconceptions of what life would be like here. After hearing all the rumours about Imperial’s (lack of) social life, I sought some advice from an older student who told me to just throw myself into Imperial and I will love it. I followed this advice and am now able to smile at a weird, wonderful and frankly exhausting week.
I must admit, it wasn’t as simple as I had hoped it would be.