You picked Imperial to become a scientist, engineer or a medical doctor. What do these careers have in common? You’ll need to write a lot: scientific papers, grant applications, lecture notes, popular science articles.
As soon as I found out that I’d be studying here, I was immediately filled with petty worries.
I haven’t written for a while as I recently moved to Exeter for a summer internship in Met Office. If you’re interested in what the research here involves, check out my popular science blog. However, my Exeter adventure involves way more than work.
While London and Imperial are as international as it gets, Exeter has a very British (or rather English) feel. Today I spent ages queuing for cream tea and discussing with English colleagues what being British actually involves. Here’s the list of very British things I experienced only today.
- Queuing. I come from a Central European country, where your place in the queue depends pretty much only on how cunning you are.
Is it even possible?
That was my first thought when confronted with the challenge of the Imperial College Graduate School Masters 3.60 competition. Can anyone actually present their research project to a panel of judges and an audience of peers in only 3 minutes? That was indeed the challenge of the competition and I have to say that initially I doubted if it were possible. However, since I was at that time very much mired in the ‘slough of despond’ with my project, trying to figure out what my research design was really supposed to be, I thought that condensing the whole thing into a three minutes overview might help focus my mind on which elements were really critical.
What is first year of uni like?
Because it is a lot more than just “fun”, I had to make a video about it.
Four years of hard work, finally completed. Sitting on the coach on the way home from London seems like a fitting place to write this blog post…
A little over a week ago I officially handed in my final piece of work for my Imperial undergraduate degree – my dissertation. It was a huge piece of work, entailing many hours in the library, last minute meltdowns and far too much coffee. On the day of hand-in I was exhausted, having given it my all, handing in the 44 page document was a bit of an anticlimax. Let’s put it this way, my friends and I celebrated completing our dissertations with some time at the union – we all ordered soft drinks and food.
This week marks the 70th anniversary of the NHS and the celebrations are really inspiring. A couple of years ago when the junior doctor contract strikes occurred in my 3rd year the outlook felt quite bleak for a career in the NHS. Many of my friends considered switching career paths and I think we all felt quite unsure of how our working life would be shaped by the changes. However, 2 years on and now about to start final year…there really is a different mood in the air.
We know that the life of a junior doctor is going to be hard, and we know that it will be a shock from medical school life.
The Isle of Skye will ruin scenery for you forever.
You have been warned. There is no place more dangerous for your sense of beauty, especially if you go when the sun is out. After that, no other scenery will seem to measure up. Future holidays will be spent passive-aggressively trying to get fellow travellers to look at pictures of Skye on your phone.
I mean, just look at these photos from Talisker Beach.
Blue skies, crystal clear water, black sand and green pasture behind us. Just shocking.
And the scandalous seafood lunch with Talisker Bay oysters going at ~£1 a piece.
My Top Tips for getting the most out of your visit
In all of the chaos it’s easy to get lost and forget about what you need to find out from open day. Here are some of my top DOs and DON’Ts, that helped me to get through countless open days when I was in yr 12 and 13.
Before the Open Day:
- DON’T attend with people who you feel might try to influence your opinion of a university, at the end of the day, you will be the one studying at the university and so it’s important that you feel comfortable at the university, not your friends or family.
In a rather abstract way, I became Hall senior for my year abroad. After the previously-selected senior jumped off for private reasons, I was asked by the subwarden whether I could be up for the job. Since I always like to organize things and had some leadership experience, I thought to myself: why not. The following things are an excerpt of the things I’ve learned during many many events throughout the year.
People seldom thank you for the organization
Somehow organization has always been there, everything seems to run by itself, everything seems to fit together by magical forces. But no, behind these magical powers are people doing the work, sometimes less, sometimes more.
Studying at Imperial College can seem like the perfect recipe for falling ill. One part stress, two parts exhaustion and liberal dashes of damp, pollen and air pollution mean that lots of students – myself included – have to deal with being sick in London at some point.
Thankfully, the NHS is around to offer quality care, but navigating it can be tricky, as I’ve since learned. For example, many people think that the NHS is free but that’s not exactly true. It’s free at the point of care. This means that only the services you access at NHS clinics or hospitals are free.
As you know, Imperial gives all of us medical students an iPad which we use to get a whole range of resources. This includes eBooks for modules, we complete our sign offs for hospital placements on it and even have revision tools on it. However, this was the first time I have completed an actual end-of-year summative exam on the iPad and it was really interesting.
So the exam was the Pathology exam (5th year exam) on Monday which covered Microbiology, Immunology, Haematology, Histopathology, Chemical Pathology and Ethics & Law. It was 175 questions with 50 of them being very short answer questions (vsa).