…are paved with gold? Is that what Dick Whittington heard when he started his journey to London all those years ago? Well maybe there’s no gold paving, but there’s more to being in London than following the highways of learning and earning, and so there is surely plenty of opportunity for detours along the byways of cultural advancement as well. The legendary Whittington rose from a pauper boy to Mayor of London, via cats, rats and wealth, undoubtedly acquiring cultural improvement in the process. And now? What is there for a poor mature student to do in London when not under the academic cosh at Imperial?
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.
The Easter holidays have been and gone, punctuated by too much chocolate, lie-ins and the guilt of not working. All of this however, gave me a chance to sit and enjoy some quality movies. One evening, as I settled down to choose a film (it always takes me far too long) with my last remaining Easter egg, I stumbled across a good-old Will Smith movie. Now, you wouldn’t be mistaken for wondering where I’m going with this story, but bear with me…
Seven pounds is a 2008 Drama/Romance film featuring Will Smith, Rosario Dawson and Woody Harrelson among others. Without completely ruining the plot, the movie starts with the main character, Ben Thomas (Will Smith) phoning 911 to report his own suicide.
I visited Amsterdam this easter, during the week where it was an intense 29 degrees pretty much everywhere in Europe. Though the iconic city is mostly known for its liberal drug use and prostitutes there is much to do even if you are not there for its special activities. For students in the European Union, it’s pretty much a free pass to travel during holidays. Be sure to check if your passport is valid for the country, or if you need to get a visa.
Amsterdam is full of small islands, connecting each one through multiple bridges. This makes for some incredibly stunning views, just simply walk anywhere with the iconic houses on either side.
A good, moist steak is one of the purest pleasures in my lifes. Today I will be advising you based on my years of experiementation, in my preferred methods of Steak preparation, so that you can also participate in this pleasure.
Of course, the first thing you have to do is arrange for a piece of meat. Here you can find various cuts from different supermarkets in all price ranges. But there is also something for small budgets. Tesco has excellent test objects for 3.24, not too thin, not too expensive. When buying meat, however, be sure to pay attention to the grain: the finer the small fatty veins are that run through the meat, the better!
Sometimes it catches you, a book, an author, his or her view of various things.
I love books that enrich my perspective or increase my level of understanding. The more you learn, read and think your way into different topics, the more you realize how little you actually know. Furthermore there are books on almost every topic, its incredible!
From the application of algorithms to the philosophy of a virtuous life, how to short stocks on the financial markets, how to eat properly according to your blood group, there are dozens of sometimes contradictory treatises on everything. But exactly in this contradiction emerges the germ for one’s own thinking, for the explorative discovery of one’s interests, for the expansion of one’s own horizon, for picking out the right piece of the puzzle fitting into YOUR life.
Many students are tired of the renowned library cafe and the free baked potatoes you can get with yoyo points. However, there’s plenty of options nearby that will definitely satisfy the most innate hunger.
- Bosphorus Kebab: The most amazing kebabs in the world for a cheap price too! (6 – 8 pounds per meal)
- Go(Vietnamese): 8 pounds for the lunch deal. Best things are the chargrilled lemongrass chicken or the curry
- Dozo(Japanese): Usually quite full, but the lunch deals range from (8-10 pounds)
- Pret – sandwiches, hot-food ( 4- 7 pounds)
- Wasabi – (6 – 9 pounds)
- Honest burgers: Fries are amazing ( 8-12 pounds) – simply one of the best burgers
- Oriental canteen(Asian): (6 – 10 pounds) – south-east Asian cuisine
- Jia(Chinese): (10-12 pounds) – this one has dumplings and stuff
Usually, for lunch, it’s either Go or Dozo.
Just thought I would share this tip that’s been saving me 40 pounds – checkout meerkat movies.
It requires you to buy insurance from compare the market.com (Google it/checkout a guide) but the caveat is that you can actually buy the cheapest insurance (roughly 1 pound) – 1 day in the UK without cars. There’s plenty of guides out there and I’d suggest you check them out. Its completely legal and free, and you may have seen it in cinemas anyway.
It works for the popular cinemas (tried and tested personally) such as VUE, Odeon, Cineworld, etc, and for that 1 pound you’ll get 2 tickets for the price of 1 (usually comes around to 5 pounds each person for a standard 2D).
Most people have an incredible facebook account. 500+ friends, tons of photos and videos. However, I’ve stopped using Facebook as a social media platform – there are many reasons why but I won’t go into them here. That said, Facebook is definitely good for communicating with everyone, but beyond I just feel aimlessly scrolling through the posts on Facebook just isn’t healthy.
Instead, I’ve started using LinkedIn and have never looked back since. Students are worried about getting internships. Most of us are anyway. Do not underestimate the power of LinkedIn here. I’ve gotten a fully fledged summer internship at one the largest banks in the world through a simple message from a recruiter, and almost 20 messages flooding my inbox throughout the year.
You may have seen a company called TeachFirst around Imperial during the year. They are a charity that helps schools combat educational inequality due to different backgrounds, (i.e. children from homes with lesser financial background). So why am I talking about them?
For students, they offer 2 programs, an insight program and a graduate scheme. Last April, I got into their insight scheme which consisted of 2 weeks:
- One week training
- One week placement in a school
This was, without doubt, one of the greatest experiences of my life. I understand that many at Imperial/elsewhere look down upon teaching, but hear me out.