Coming from Poland, a country not necessarily famous for teetotallers, I thought that nothing could surprise me when it comes to alcohol. My confidence lasted until the first wine & cheese reception in the first week of my PhD.
I still can’t grasp the idea of serving alcohol in the workplace. And in academia it’s omnipresent: conferences, receptions, parties… “Free pizza” posters advertising academic events at my undergraduate university have been replaced by “free beer” at Imperial. Friday evening means a pint (or two) in a pub, unless the department is holding an event in the common room just next to my office.
For theatre addicts London is like a bar for alcoholics: a paradise and a hell at the same time. Since the beginning of my PhD I’ve spent a bit too much money and time on plays and musicals — more than I’d ever publicly admit. Meanwhile I’ve mastered the art of getting cheap tickets, so if you’re also a theatre lover on a student budget, read on! This article isn’t sponsored by any of the companies I mention (unfortunately).
- Install TodayTix on your phone. You’ll be able to book tickets with one swipe, get some additional offers (e.g. 24-hour-long sales) and, most importantly, participate in lotteries.
Attend Lectures and actually listen
A term in university thought me one thing, it’s to attend your lectures and actually listen to the lecturers, (don’t spend the entire 2 hours lecture scrolling through instagram feeds, I made that mistake). Most of the time, you’re probably already tired after a full day of lectures, and weekends feel more like a relaxing day than hustle days. So, I personally find being interactive in lectures (taking notes and ask question) should help a lot in your studying, also some of the lectures are actually really interesting.
Prepare your own meal
I know, this feels like a hassle, especially if all you want to do is sleep, I feel you hun.
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.
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.
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.
As the academic year comes to an end, I thought I’d reflect on my first year at university.
Here’s the thing- we all have a tendency to sugarcoat. We share all the good, but seldom the ‘bad’ times. Sure, there’s the occasional (or frequent) posts about workload and stress; but how many of us actually openly share our experiences when the goings get really tough? Following my last blogpost, I’d really like to keep the honesty streak going.
First term was a bit of a nightmare for me- it was almost a process of trying to rediscover myself in a sense.
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.
If you’re thinking of going to Amsterdam, go to Haarlem instead. No, seriously.
Haarlem is a smaller city just 15 minutes away from Amsterdam by train. It’s got far fewer tourists, cheaper and nicer accommodation, and way better food. PLUS, it’s a mere 20 minute bus ride to the beach!
With the final assignment of term 2 done and dusted, we decided to take advantage of Eurostar’s new direct train from London to Amsterdam (£35 one way). Well, almost direct. It does do a short stop in Brussels and the total journey is about 3.5 hours. Nevertheless, it’s still way more convenient than a flight.