The mission of my life is to show people surprising ways of using maths. However, today I’ll make an exception: I’ll talk about an example of maths abuse.
Surely you’ve heard that tomorrow we have the Blue Monday, apparently the most depressing day of the year. Even restaurants and shops all over the UK become almost charities by offering great deals (I can’t believe I just linked you to the Mirror!) to make this day a bit brighter for us, customers – I’m sure they do it solely out of goodness of their hearts, without any profit…You might also have heard that it was scientifically proven and that this date is found using a mathematical formula.
Some people were just born public speakers. Others are terrible at it, they suffer from stage fright and should just avoid talking to crowds altogether.
That way of thinking is very convenient but, unfortunately (or fortunately), not supported by facts.
Most of us have attended some presentations or watched TED talks that left us with a feeling: “Wow, this guy knows how to get the audience’s attention! I’m so jealous, I wish I was like him/her”. What if I told you that this guy isn’t “a natural”, but has been working very hard to sound so? What if I told you that you can give talks that people would enjoy listening to?
Firstly, a disclaimer. I am in no way trying to slander Imperial College London and the Physics department. They are being very supportive and understanding of my newly developed situation. This is more of a personal account of what’s been happening in life, because answering the question ‘Hey, you’ve not been around…what’s going on?’ gets tedious a hundred iterations in.
Around June, I had my last two exams of first year postponed to the September re-take period. I spent a healthy chunk of the summer revising and felt on track to do just well enough to be ready for second year.
What better way to spend a Friday afternoon than packing a minibus? After two days of annoying the union and five minibus swaps, we finally had roof racks and set off to grab the 8 extra boats we needed from Heston. Four stalls later, Noah hadn’t killed either of us and we were many a boat heavier. As a perfect coincidence, we then drove by Sacha’s house just as she needed picking up and began the process of minibus Tetris. Both buses had left by 6.30 and we successfully rendez voused at Warwick services after a lovely shout out to the twats with the boats from the closest thing we could find to Flex.
You can find the official stuff on horizons here, but I’ll try to give an idea of the experience behind it. Either way, I’d recommend the course, as it’s a nice non-course-related thing to do with your life.
Background: as part of the Year in Europe part of my degree, I have to study the appropriate level of the appropriate language (as well as a special language course which I’ve mentioned elsewhere). For me, this was level 4 German, since I had studied it up to A-level. The course outline, assessment details and learning objectives for this particular course: bam.
Most people seem to be starting their recent blogs with one particular phrase, so I shall follow suit: I’m still alive. Holidays began and things were happening.
Easter Tour happened and we paddled some rivers faffed around in France with canoe club, but this will be described in a separate rant.
I also visited my family back home, as most people do. Home being the one in England and not the one that involves flying away. I saw my sister and dog, aka the two best small creatures. My friend also took me to The Hobbit, where many hours of playing Articulate ensued.
Everyone has questions about accommodation, so here’s another cheesy helpful extract answering questions you may or may not care about the answers to. For background: I currently live in Beit hall, in a single without en suite. I pay £192 a week, £2 of which are for hall activities, like karaoke, Netflix & chill nights and Beitan’s got talent.
IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE THAT IS, MAP WILL BE YOUR GUIDE
So here are questions stolen from places, provided by the union and invented by my brain.
Every hall has a different atmosphere; how would you describe the atmosphere in your hall?
I’ve lost all control and can’t stop going on trips. It was was meant to be to Devon, but ended up heading to Wales almost last minute. This worked out pretty well as we got lovely, all be it expensive, accommodation with a cute old couple that gave us food and actual real beds with actual real pillows! Bam.
A few experienced people went off to paddle some nice grade 4, called Nantygwyryd…or so we thought. They returned displeased and it turned out to be a lovely grade 4 scrape. Apparently they actually had to exit the boats and walk a few times.
Before my interview, I called anyone I knew who had anything to do with Imperial and read every student blog that even mentioned the word. If that’s why you’re here, hey. Hopefully an extra insight will prove useful.
Outline of the day
This can obviously change between subjects and years, but the general outline is likely to stay the same.
The general idea is that you get a tour of the university from a student, along with a lunch, before meeting the human that decides your fate interviewer. This is the opportunity to ask questions about student life, stresses, work load and living in London, which may be more helpful answered by someone freshly going though it all.
Picocon 33: Origins has now happened and the SciFi library has stopped looking like a frantic booklet folding factory. For those who aren’t aware, Picocon is a tiny ComicCon, i.e. a mini ultimate nerd fest organised by ICSF. It included talks from guest authors, silly games, readings and viewings of hilariously terrible content with the chance to bid money to make it stop and destruction of dodgy merchandise with liquid nitrogen and big hammers. The one thing that most certainly didn’t occur was a fish duel and I most definitely did not have salmon stored in my fridge, stinking out the kitchen.