It would be reasonable to say that I had a… last minute approach when it came to my UCAS application. I put off writing a personal statement until the night before applications closed because I had four possible paths to choose from and I couldn’t for the life of me decide. They were; philosophy, creative writing, english literature or biochemistry. Not your average selection but I am sure that you can understand my indecision. It felt as though choosing any one option would close off the others for good.
I chose biochem. I chose science because I felt that while I could imaginably keep up my english and philosophy through reading, biochemistry required a more serious application No insult intended to the arts, but I struggled to see myself sneaking into laboratories in my own time to learn about the intricacies of enzyme catalysis. This was my thought process at least. So with a heavy heart I submitted my application and resigned myself to becoming a sensible-shoe-wearing bespectacled scientist. I thought that while I could potentially try and keep up my reading, things like student drama and student newspapers would be beyond me, the preserve of arts students with time coming out of their ears.
What I hadn’t counted on was that at Imperial there are no arts students! Furthermore, this does not mean that all artistic endeavour is curtailed but rather that scientists that would usually have been relegated to minor roles and responsibilities thanks to their schedules are free to throw themselves into activities not usually associated with their degrees. The phrase ‘amateurish enthusiasm’ comes to mind and I reckon that anyone with whom I acted or worked at the student newspaper would agree. This is not to say that quality is reduced, not by a long shot. Rather, and I shall put it lightly, no one expects to see the works of Brecht put on in the near future.
I do not, however, see that as criticism. The students running these societies, putting hours into them often for little reward or recognition do this because they love it. They feel so passionately about what they are doing that they are willing to invest time, regardless, because they think that it is important. They might not have read as many plays as others or have an artistic eye as developed but they know that they like do. In my eyes, these are people to be admired, not dismissed. They know who they are and what they want to do with their time and if any of them are reading this I take my hat off to them, in awe at what they accomplish.
Imperial does also have certain perks that set it apart from other places and while this may sound like bragging it is true. Being in London means having world class culture on your doorstep and I have managed to get free press tickets to the incredibly wide variety of theatres and art galleries around the city fairly easily, perks of an otherwise relatively low demand. Finally and last but not least, Imperial has a certain reputation of being highly technical and nerdy. Try and imagine what that looks like when turned to building sets and doing effects for plays. What ever you are thinking, think harder. Just saying.