When I first found out I’d be based at the St Mary’s campus instead of the main Imperial College stamping ground of South Kensington, I was apprehensive.
“I’m going to miss out on college life.” was my first thought.
“Does this mean they only serve hospital food?” was the other.
After a term here, I can happily say that I have not had any cause for FOMO, nor had to eat from any hospital canteens. I am also a bit better qualified to give you an insider’s look at life at St Mary’s. If you’re going to be starting a term here soon, this is your jam.
Let’s face it: doing a PhD isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. The process can be painful and annoying, and at some point you’re probably going to get completely stuck. If you’ve ever done any research, you definitely know what I’m talking about.
There’s something you need to do, usually some task that was supposed to be easy – a toy example, an almost standard code, a “quick” experiment to check your hypothesis. And here you are, spending long hours, days, weeks, even months, not even closer to solving your problem. You’ve tried everything, used all possible sources you could find, but this devil isn’t giving up.
As a prospective student, I once wanted to know what a typical day for an EIE student was so here is my version!
Living in Wilson House as a hall senior I wake up at 8:00am to get to a 9:00 am lecture.
Wilson House is conveniently ~25mins from the SK campus and the walk is visually captivating since you walk through Hyde Park! For those from countries which are really full of nature like me, you probably won’t get what the big deal is to have a walk though a park.
But a park like Hyde Park in a city like London is not easy to come by, so living in a hall that allows you to enjoy this walk everyday is amazing (except during the winters 😀 )
8:00 – Grudging roll out of bed – too early for Electronic labs or Computer Labs
8:30 – Walk to uni
9:00 to 12:00 – This is usually some sort of labs in 2nd year (in first year you enjoy the great life and have labs in the afternoons!
I want to tell you about EIE (cause I love it) and a bit on EEE!
So you are probably asking yourself the BIG question I was asking myself a while ago.
EIE vs EEE!?!?!?
Don’t freak out! I know it can difficult to decide but I am hoping to give you some insider information that can help you make that decision. If you still can’t decide, I guess it’s good for you to know you have about 2 weeks to decide once you join and try a bit of both!
But be careful of trying both you might fall in love with the EIE spirit 😉
Now we know one thing about the two: they belong to the same department so one would relationalize surely they must be similar?
I can’t cook to save my life. That was the greatest certainty I had, while stumbling confusedly from the stage in life called ‘moving out’. I’d never really needed to cook for myself (except on duke of ed over a dodgy portable oil stove) and whenever I tried, it either took FOREVER, or my mum would casually take over half way in an attempt to save the disaster. I mean I knew the general concept, its not rocket science, more chemistry 😛 … But, the fact remains that when I first arrived in halls I was completely clueless about food. What to buy from the supermarket?
Going to university is all about trying something new, you go to a new place, meet new people… there’s no better opportunity to reinvent yourself, make some resolutions you might actually keep.
Societies at uni are all about the effort you put in. If you don’t take part, no one is going to come after you, in fact no one will even care. You join a mailing list, you turn up to events that interest you and hopefully along the way you’ll meet some nice people you’ll come to call friends, and if not maybe at least you had a good time.
One of the major selling points of Imperial is that its specialises in science and engineering. In terms of environment, there’s nowhere you can go where you can be more surrounded by maths geniuses, mad inventors and generally very scientifically minded people. Personally, I’m more of a fan of the interesting personalities and generally more philosophically stimulating conversations that comes with people that study arts, but you win some, you lose some. I’ve never been one of those people firmly rooted in a love for maths and science. I loved writing essays (weird, I know), something about making an argument, and thinking about things in that totally non-sensical, non-linear liberal artsy way was compelling and freeing from the straight logic of science.
Sometimes the excitement of a new environment, new people and generally a new life can be overpowering. Its easy to be carried away in the wave of new experiences, so when an inevitable crash comes its completely unexpected and hits you much harder than normal. Speaking to my hall mates, I think the most problem we’ve all been facing is loneliness. Its not as though we aren’t surrounded by friendly people, but when compared to the tight-knit friendships we all have back home or back in high school, the transcient nature of friendships at university is a whole new dynamic takes time to get used to.
When people started coming back after the Christmas break there was an inevitable rush of social behaviour as everyone caught up with each others holiday exploits and just like the first day of school after the holidays, everyone’s just happy to see their friends. A group of us decided to go take advantage of the 2 for £10 deal at Gourmet Burger Kitchen and after hanging out in an almost empty hall with the same 3 people for 3 weeks, it was the best night out I’d had in a while. Not to mention, the food was very satisfying after months of own pathetic cooking and ‘healthy eating’.