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conferences, receptions, parties… “Free pizza” posters advertising academic events at my undergraduate university have been replaced by “free beer” at Imperial.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.
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.
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.
This is how I’ve been wasting my time.
As the holidays came to a start- my initial mindset was, “Oh, I’ve got looaaddss of time. I definitely deserve a break. One more season of this show on Netflix won’t hurt.” It must have slipped my mind that the exam on the day I go back is not a mock. Now that I’m about 70% through my Easter/Spring break, I am filled with regret and drowning in revision. :’)
- Watching a season of Hell’s Kitchen
The first thing I did was binge watch as soon as the term ended. Personally a big Gordon Ramsay fan, even though he’s not a believer in Vegetarianism/Veganism cries.
And how to avoid it
However much you might try to think you make the best use of your time, I’m sure that there’s always some time during the day when you sit there not quite getting on with your work but pretending that you are. As a particularly keen procrastinator, especially when I find the work difficult, here are some of the ways I’ve managed to get through tough revision periods avoiding procrastination.
- Make a timetable with not more than 45 to 90 mins revision sessions at a time. Don’t just write down what subject or module you will be studying, include key details of what particular topic, or which past paper you will do in this time.
So how are you really feeling?
Thursday was Time to Talk Day 2018, a chance for us to speak openly about mental health, something that doesn’t happen as much as it should. There is a certain stigma associated with mental health, however when 1/4 people are affected by mental illness each year, it really is time to stamp out the sigma and talk about mental health. Following on from Paula’s post about what to do if you are worried about a friend’s mental health, I thought I would share some first hands tips of how to stay mentally healthy in a university environment and what to do if you feel that you are suffering in any way.
Mental health and university… recently I feel like I’m discussing this problem every single day. As a student representative I communicate this issue to colleagues, staff members, university support systems, external panels etc. I also wrote about mental and PhD – even if you’re not a PhD student, have a read, it might apply to you as well.
However, not everyone is talking about it. Some aren’t aware that this issue is important, some don’t care and many just are afraid or don’t know how to offer support to someone who might struggle. Tomorrow is a great opportunity to give it a try – Time to Talk Day 2018.
And how I wish I hadn’t been so worried
As soon as I found out that I’d be studying here, I was immediately filled with petty worries. Worries about whether I would miss home, not be able to make friends or struggle on my course! However since coming to Imperial I can say for certain that these concerns, and the many more I had, have all disappeared. Here’s a few of the worries I had and how I realised they actually weren’t actually such a big deal and how I wasted so much energy being worried about them!
Imperial ratios: Coming from a small, all-girls school, I was sceptical about dealing with the famous “Imperial ratio”.