I have an unusual routine every Thursday night. I pull on a pair of swimming trunks, a dive mask and snorkel, and a pair of fins before diving into the deep pool at Putney Leisure Centre. I am an underwater rugby player.
Underwater rugby is played in a 3D-environment where attacks can come from anywhere: above, below and all around you.
Underwater rugby (UWR) started life in Germany in the 1960s as a way for divers to stay fit during the winter. It quickly took on a life of its own and today, it is played in much of Europe, as well as the US, Australia, Colombia and Singapore.
I’m definitely a social animal. While I need some “me time” once in a while, I tend to surround myself with people. This is why when I embarked on my first PhD journey, I wasn’t too thrilled to learn that I’d be travelling alone. That sounded so scary, I was afraid that something would go wrong or, in the best case scenario, I’d just feel lonely and miserable for a few days.
Since then I’ve been to so many conferences in various countries, often extended to a mini-vacation. Almost always, completely alone. And let me tell you, I learned to love it.
This week I celebrated my 25th birthday, which put me in a slightly reflective mood. Here are 25 things I learned in 25 years. Cliché warning!
- Failing doesn’t make me a failure. The only way to avoid failing is to stop trying, and this won’t get me anywhere.
- I fight for my friendships, but accept it when they die out. Throughout my life I’ll be able to keep only a few good friends, most of them will disappear at some point. I let them go and make the room in my life for new amazing people waiting for me out there.
This is the one where I open up.
“Imposter syndrome is a recognised phenomenon, first identified by psychologists in 1978, and describes a feeling that your achievements are undeserved and the fear of being exposed as a fraud. Those with imposter syndrome tend to feel that luck rather than ability lies behind their successes.” (1)
Getting into Imperial was a massive deal for me. I had not planned to apply at all- but I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life looking back with what ifs.
I didn’t think I was smart enough. I’ve always had a fluctuating impression of myself; ranging from borderline conceited to possessing a pretty low self esteem.
First things first, who saw (and recognised) that The Hobbit reference in the title? 😉 🙂 🙂
Anyway moving on to less important stuff the main point of this post, every international student (whether Imperial student or otherwise) should have heard of HOST UK. And maybe go for a HOST visit at least once over the duration of their study here. No? Well, you must!
So what is HOST UK?
HOST UK is a charity that arranges visits for international students to stay with a host family anywhere in the United Kingdom. The visits can range from a day or 2-3 over the weekend.
“Joining cheer was the best decision I’ve ever made”
“I was not proud of the bow, nor the uniform. I was proud of what it meant”
“When I initially message the president asking to join cheer late in the term, I hadn’t really left my bed in three months. I was then in hospital for about a month in December. After that, cheer was the only time I left my house for in a while. I just want to thank all of you so so soooo much for being so lovely and welcoming from the start, and just overall amazing people.
I don’t come from a background in science – my Bachelor’s is in History and I’ve spent the past five years working in marketing – so I often get asked how I’m coping with doing a science degree like Public Health.
And the answer is: not too badly, so far. At least judging from my results for term 1, especially statistics and epidemiology.
Part of this is definitely down to pure elbow grease: extra hours rewatching lectures, consulting YouTube tutorials and making sure I got all the homework done. But thankfully, it’s also because postgrad education is more about the application of technical knowledge to the real world than whether you can memorise formulas.
You know the situation: you’re attending a presentation, you eagerly wait for new information, but the guy in front of you firstly begins by talking for 30 minutes about himself and his references! This has happened too often, so I want to be as brief as possible for the sake of German politeness.
My name is Alex, I’m 23 years old and I have the great chance to complete an ERASMUS+ exchange at Imperial College! 🙂 When I’m not studying for my subject, mechanical engineering, I do a lot of physical training (boxing and weightlifting) in my spare time. I also like to write – especially about things that move me (not the tube).
Being able to pursue higher education in London has always been one of my objectives on my ever-growing to-do list and quite frankly, I believe the same for many of you guys reading this too who are considering to undertake a degree in London!
It’s very true when they say living in London is costly. But that’s not the point of this post and in fact, it’s quite the opposite. It’s going to incur some unexpected expenditures, and for me, that is *cues drum rolls*…..
Yes, you heard me right. Food glorious food! I mean, do I even need to introduce this to anyone at all?
One of my highlights this year at Imperial has been the honour of holding the role of Year Representative. All in all, it has been a lot of work. But it has been immensely rewarding nonetheless.
Here’s the actual job description for a Year Representative:
- Act as a voice for your Year Group in Staff-Student Committee Meetings
- Collect feedback from your year group
- Inform your year group of the department’s response
- Liaise with lecturers about tutorials and any other matters
- Organise summer revision sessions
Your reward: Free Lunch during Staff Student Committee Meetings (Twice a Term)
Here’s what I’ve got up to, with the help of my fellow Year Rep, Anthony (AKA A Bold Ant):
- The actual roles stipulated above and…
- Setting up in an informal events committee
- Starting a Weekly Update (newsletter featuring tutorial work, exam dates, social opportunities, puns + a fun picture showing what members of our year have got up to that week)
- Obtaining content for the weekly update
- Emailing the Student Office
- Visiting lecturers officers if they haven’t replied to an email
- Messaging MatSoc Committee members to check when events will be happening
- Creating polls to help MatSoc know which events our year are interested in
- Promoting said events via the Weekly Update
The truth is, you put in as much as you get out.