So here I am a few weeks into term and, like hundreds of other new students, I’m trying to get to grips with the new routine and understand what’s expected of me, what are my priorities, balancing the early beginnings of my course-load with the host of other opportunities & activities available. How do I settle quickly into a new routine? That seems to be the most pressing question. Well a good starting point is getting into College each morning, which itself depends very much on the question of deciding where to live and finding accommodation (and I’ll have more to say about that process in a future blog…) For the time-being let me just confess that despite my number one criterion when flat-hunting being a maximum of 30 minutes walking to Imperial, I somehow ended up near Vauxhall Bridge- about 6 km away, taking at least a good hour’s walk.
Establishing a new routine therefore started with exploring my commuting options, which I quickly narrowed down to the following:
- walking – very slow, but quite pleasant early in term-time in the remaining autumnal days and weeks;
- micro-scooter – seriously? Yes, I still have a couple of these once-trendy lumps of metal from when my daughters were young. Quirky and twice as quick as walking but scooting through London take a little getting used to;
- by bus – noisy, smelly and not very quick or reliable from my limited experience (once was more than enough for me to opt out of buses for good);
- the tube – relatively quick and functional, but somewhat impersonal and transactional in feel – maybe a useful fall-back?;
- cycling – now we’re talking: freedom, control, speed, convenience, and by carefully selecting my route I can avoid most of the heavy traffic and busy junctions. Indeed about a quarter of my cycling commute is through Battersea Park, one of London’s most beautiful parks – what’s not to like?
THE LONDON RUSH-HOUR COMMUTE: NOT ALWAYS SO BAD.
So I am now more than happy to be back where I wanted to be originally: within 30 minutes of college, 25 minutes by bicycle plus a few minutes to park in the bike-sheds, and I get free exercise thrown in without having to stump up gymn fees. Whoo-hoo.
Getting into college each day, and home again, is now beginning to provide the ‘book-ends’ to help organise my daily routine, providing a modicum of stability to allow me to address the much more important questions of where is my next class, shall I join the Union squash club, how about trying salsa dance lessons, and which of the various lunch venue options have I not yet tried? With that onerous burden off my shoulders I can now look forward to the unfettered joys of thermodynamics and computational numerical analysis…