What an Imperial student does outside of lectures

 

I can’t believe we’re now already 5 weeks into term (6 if you count exam week)! So far I can say that I’m somewhat enjoying my degree (the lecture part at least, not so much for the exam/ assignment part) but there are times when I feel like I am so done with Geology and *flips table, throws papers/ notes everywhere*

When those times come, I know that I need a short break from all the rocks/ reports/ looking through polarising microscopes/ lectures and just take a breather. So what else can you do when you’re not going in and out of lectures? Well, there are a few options and here’s what I usually do in those times…

 

  1. Visit the museums

I’m lucky that South Kensington is home to three museums in London: the Natural History Museum (NHM), Science Museum and Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum (they’re all very good museums). V&A is all about decorative art and design stuff while NHM and Science pretty much explain themselves. I’ve been to all three, although I can’t say that I went to all the exhibitions yet since the building is so big (and there’s too many exhibits to see \(>.<)/ )Good news is that since they’re so close by, I can visit anytime I want. I’m aiming to explore everything by the time I graduate (go me)

Oh, and the Science Museum organises these themed monthly lates on the last Wednesday of every month which are free to attend (some events require tickets though). They’re pretty cool but you need to be over 18 to attend. You get to see how everything is at night (sort of like Night at the Museum) and the lighting gives off a different vibe than how the museum usually is so you should try going to one.

 

2. Clubs

Who says you need to leave campus to have fun? You can still get involved in a lot of things on campus. I talked about the clubs I’m in in a previous post and there are still hundreds more to choose from if none of those strike your fancy (but seriously how hard to please are you? Kidding). So yeah, a lot of people I know join at least one club even if they never go to any of the meetings.

 

3. Sports/ exercise (aka take a walk in Hyde Park)

I don’t do sports (or even exerciseImage result for sweatdrop emoji yeah, I’m a couch potato cat) so I don’t know much about sports club and stuff (I do know that there are a lot of these though). But, I generally like taking walks. Unless it’s winter and/ or raining. In which case, you’ll probably find me baking something in the kitchen (see 6). Anyway, Hyde Park is quite a nice place to just go for a walk. It’s big and green and there are a lot of birds and squirrels (at least there was when I went there last year). From what I see, quite a number of sports clubs do their practice there too (so don’t visit on Wednesdays if you don’t feel like bumping into an Impy student and having to say hello).

Also, if you feel like playing sports but don’t want to commit by joining a club, you can take advantage of taster sessions thanks to Give It a Go) and try out different sports. I went to frisbee taster before and I ~sort of~ like it, but finally didn’t join because the membership was too expensive for me. There are also other things like taekwondo, karate and fencing but they tend to run out of places quickly and there aren’t as many as them anymore since we’re getting to the middle of our academic year.

 

4. Volunteering

Imperial offers you a lot of volunteering opportunities whether it’s a one-off no commitment volunteering or a longer affair. You can get involved through your department (I was a student helper during PalAss 2017 last December- and got a free t-shirt yay), clubs (I’m helping out for ICSF Picocon 35 this Saturday so pls come!) or Union/ Imperial Plus.

Imperial Plus lets you log in your volunteering time and you’ll be awarded a certificate when you reach a certain number of hours. You can even attend Imperial Plus skills workshops that helps you gain understanding on various qualities like Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, etc. They typically last around 1 to 2 hours and you get fidget toys to play with during the workshop. You have to sign up online to attend these though, and they get booked pretty quickly so be fast if you’re interested. I attended 3 workshops last term and they were quite interesting as you’d have to engage in a number of discussions with the other attendees there.

Whatever issue it is that you’re passionate about, I’m sure you’ll be able to find a community that are involved in it. For instance, SoupRun collects food from various shops and distribute them to the homeless. Pimlico Connection tutors (which I was a part of last term) provide tutoring to school (primary to secondary) children to help them achieve in STEM subjects (and are reimbursed for their travels). There’s even online volunteering opportunities like through Zooniverse.

Anyway, you get the point. There’s no excuse to not volunteer in Imperial. We take community service pretty seriously here 😀

 

5. Travelling

Travelling is popular among students here. Especially during Reading Week (technically you’re still expected to be here during RW but since there’s no lectures, some of my friends take this time to go travelling instead). Even your department don’t have RW, you can still go on a weekend trip somewhere and come back on Sunday evening/ Monday morning (perks of not having a 9am on Monday 😉 )

I went to Budapest about two or three weeks ago for a weekend trip (it was organised by Linstead and the tickets were subsidised so how could I resist?) and it was a good experience. I’d blog about it but then you’d be seeing not-so-good photos of the breathtaking sights so I’ll just refer you to Constança’s videos instead (day 1 and day 2).

Friendly reminders: Keep your tickets save and bring enough money! Also, you’re travelling by plane, make sure you get the luggage measurements right (for economy, if you’re having trouble with cabin luggage sizes and happen to have more than one bag, consider stuffing everything into the smaller bag and leaving the other in lockers, or post/ ship it back. The overall cost is usually cheaper than paying to check it in).

 

6. Baking

Well, this is what I do when I’m stressed or upset. I find it comforting that when I mix together flour, eggs, oil/ butter (softened/ melted), sugar (and a personal favourite is vanilla essence) in different proportions and orders and tadaaa… I’d end up with either some cake or cookies or pancakes. Plus, more dessert is always welcome. And sharing those is a good way to make people like you (unless they’re on a diet in which case they will probably hate youImage result for tear laughing emoji)

Oh by the way, I baked chocolate chip cookies today for Valentines (yayy)! My floormate, Sam baked brownies for Valentines (he’s a baking nerd too).

Anyway, if you need a recipe, or some science-y facts on the various types of flour (cake flour, bread, all-purpose, etc) or the difference between baking powder and baking soda or effects of using brown sugar and white sugar to make cookies or you want to hear about my Math IA project on the effectiveness using real egg white and egg white-substitutes in making meringue (complete with normal graph distribution and some statistical data), you know who to come to. Sometimes I wonder whether I should have became a patissier (or a food scientist) insteadImage result for thinking emoji I mean, I even wrote a mini-paper centred on meringue… but then I did write one about minesweeper (yeah, the old default Windows game. I used to be obsessed with this thing) and two on geology/ environmental science, so geology won in the end (and I just revealed how weird I am… Shhh it’s a secret k) Don’t let those fool you, they’re definitely not as impressive as they might sound (they were all IAs for IB requirement after allImage result for tear laughing emoji)

 

7. Hobbies

Everyone has hobbies, right? Or at least something they tend/ like to do in their pastime. For me, it’s baking (see above), reading (plus maybe a bit of free-writing like this blogging gig) and anime. Well, I told you how much into anime I am before. And I told you about the story/ book me and my friend are working on. So, reading… I read anything really, although I have a preference for Fantasy/ Sci fi/ Young Adult books. Hit me up for book recommendations and feel free to suggest some too pls:3 (I’ve always wanted to say that!!! but am too much of a shy kitty cat… blame my social awkwardness/ anxiety)

I’m also trying to do artsy stuff (I dabble in painting but am just average at it). BTW, the Blyth Centre offers visual art classes and they even have open studio afternoons on Wednesdays. They’re free to attend for Imperial students and you can email Naomi for access. They also have practice rooms that you can book if you play any instrument (which I sadly don’t, as much as I would love to play the piano). They offer music lessons that cater to a wide range of levels from beginners to advanced too; but considering the fact that I don’t even recognise musical notes… I’ll pass on those, thank you very much.

 

So yeah, that’s it for now. Next time you’re feeling like banging your head against the wall or regretting your choice to come to Imperial, maybe go visit the NHM or Hyde Park or if it’s too cold or raining outside, come have a chat with me aka sitting together in comfortable silence (sorry, my mind tends to go blank in the presence of actual human company). Thanks listening (reading?) my ramblings… especially if you got through to the end (woohoo you deserve a cookie). Til next time. Bye!!!

 

P. S I’m curious… how many people even read these?Image result for thinking emoji

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