Is it even possible?
That was my first thought when confronted with the challenge of the Imperial College Graduate School Masters 3.60 competition. Can anyone actually present their research project to a panel of judges and an audience of peers in only 3 minutes? That was indeed the challenge of the competition and I have to say that initially I doubted if it were possible. However, since I was at that time very much mired in the ‘slough of despond’ with my project, trying to figure out what my research design was really supposed to be, I thought that condensing the whole thing into a three minutes overview might help focus my mind on which elements were really critical.
Four years of hard work, finally completed. Sitting on the coach on the way home from London seems like a fitting place to write this blog post…
A little over a week ago I officially handed in my final piece of work for my Imperial undergraduate degree – my dissertation. It was a huge piece of work, entailing many hours in the library, last minute meltdowns and far too much coffee. On the day of hand-in I was exhausted, having given it my all, handing in the 44 page document was a bit of an anticlimax. Let’s put it this way, my friends and I celebrated completing our dissertations with some time at the union – we all ordered soft drinks and food.
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.
My Top Tips for getting the most out of your visit
In all of the chaos it’s easy to get lost and forget about what you need to find out from open day. Here are some of my top DOs and DON’Ts, that helped me to get through countless open days when I was in yr 12 and 13.
Before the Open Day:
- DON’T attend with people who you feel might try to influence your opinion of a university, at the end of the day, you will be the one studying at the university and so it’s important that you feel comfortable at the university, not your friends or family.
In a rather abstract way, I became Hall senior for my year abroad. After the previously-selected senior jumped off for private reasons, I was asked by the subwarden whether I could be up for the job. Since I always like to organize things and had some leadership experience, I thought to myself: why not. The following things are an excerpt of the things I’ve learned during many many events throughout the year.
People seldom thank you for the organization
Somehow organization has always been there, everything seems to run by itself, everything seems to fit together by magical forces. But no, behind these magical powers are people doing the work, sometimes less, sometimes more.
Why would we expect it be any different, during the exam phase everything revolves around exams. I have now finished all exams at Imperial and it went quite well. Most of the exams were fairly constructed, but personally it felt more difficult to reach 100%. The fact that I have written exams in both the Chemical Department and the Mechanical Department allows me to make an interesting interdisciplinary comparison of my observations.
Ban on eating
Fortunately, I was allowed to bring food on the latter, so that I could fill up my sugar reserves after 2 hours of concentration. Unfortunately, this was forbidden in the Chemical Department.
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.
It’s no secret that London can be expensive to live in but thankfully, having a good meal doesn’t have to burn a hole in your pocket. Here’s a quick guide to getting tasty treats at wallet-friendly prices.
1. Supermarket meal deals
Every supermarket and also Boots chemists do meal deals that bundle a sandwich, a snack (e.g. chocolate bars, crisps, side dishes), and a drink for anywhere between £3 – 5. Tesco’s is the cheapest but I generally prefer the stuff at Boots and Co-Op.
2. Ready-to-eat/cook meals
London favours the supermarket savvy. Most places have loads of delicious ready-to-eat/cook meals at bargain prices.
Just a few thoughts as I close the lid on two momentous terms at Imperial.
1. You don’t know what you can achieve until you try
I took a big risk doing this course considering the huge cost and my non-science background. Plus it’s been almost a decade since my undergrad days. Yet somehow I have thrived. Amid the flood of new concepts, information and working styles, I find myself with a fighting chance of a distinction (although maybe I’ve just jinxed it). Of course, I still have the massive challenge of my dissertation but this is already beyond what I imagined this time last year.