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.
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?
Having finally finished the lab cycles, I can talk about them in a much less bitter manner. They are split into three sections and there is a lab guide flying around the internet if you wish to see what actually goes on, but I’ll just go over them briefly through the filter of my opinions.
Measurement and Uncertainty
This isn’t really a lab cycle, just an introduction to the pain of error propagation. It’s an unfortunately useful pain and actually clears up some confusion from A-level. I always asked why we calculated errors in one certain way, when more than one appeared to make sense and heard “because they are all valid, but OCR only accepts this one”.
Working on weekends kills the relaxation aspect that they are associated with, so I’ve adapted to consider Tuesdays and Wednesdays as the weekend. Mainly because they contain clubs, so since I have things to say about them, here’s a general overview of the clubs you should go join.
Juggling and Circus- This used to be just juggling, but I wasn’t around in that era. It now consists of people standing in a room playing with various crap – perfect. There’s a bit of poi, staff, diabolo, uni cycling, rolla bolla joys and balls flying around. Outdoor sessions also involve a slackline, until the guy I borrowed it from remembers that I have it.
Back to money. Warning: I’m about to go into detail of how much money I have or don’t have and where it comes from. If this seems boring, that’s because it is, but I need to rant about my own stupidity.
Background setting of sorts:
As I’ve mentioned at some point already, I receive no bursaries or grants, the minimum student loan and I live in Beit. Complain complain my own fault for choosing expensive accomodatipon weep weep I know. My parents are also not super-rich; they just have a lot on paper and no-one in Student Finance cares how many people your dog eats for or how much debt you have.
Yes. Yes it is stupid to go on a kayaking trip in late November with nothing to keep you either warm or dry. As wonderful as club wetsuits are, they’re not fantastic if there’s a massive rip on the backside. So mistake number one was really just agreeing to go at all.
Bearing in mind the outcome of the trip, I would call the first day a success. We arrived at around 2am and did the sensible thing and went to bed. This still didn’t leave me with a lot of sleep, since I decided that the words ‘morning mission’ were enticing enough to wake up at 6.30 and go do something with five people who actually knew what they were doing.
Before I got here, I was stressing about money considerably more than I’m stressing about it now, which is worrying in itself. So for anyone in the same situation, I’m going to break down how I survive.
Background: I receive a student finance loan, as a home student. I also happen to recieve the minimum student loan there is and no grants or bursaries. At the same time, the financial situation at home is such that I wouldn’t nag for money unless I need it, although of course they take care of me and are prepared to be a safety net, so I never end up selling my own kidney.
One of the highlights of societies so far was the kayaking freshers trip to Wales. We stayed in the Imperial Mountain Hut somewhere in Snowdonia.
Standard start with superhero-resembling poses atop a minibus, because there is no mundane way to get 12 kayaks on a rack. I don’t know how to describe a long bus journey, other than with the confession that I now know what the worst radio stations of London sound like.
The hut is cool. It’s a hut and it’s cold, so it’s cool. The evening consisted of the intellectually fulfilling creation of architecture on the ceiling beams using the many cans of *hot chocolate* we emptied.