It is hard starting afresh. New friends, new environment and new lifestyle. It was even harder coming to Imperial, one of the greatest Universities in the world, with preconceptions of what life would be like here. After hearing all the rumours about Imperial’s (lack of) social life, I sought some advice from an older student who told me to just throw myself into Imperial and I will love it. I followed this advice and am now able to smile at a weird, wonderful and frankly exhausting week.

I must admit, it wasn’t as simple as I had hoped it would be. I was chosen by the Imperial Sorting Hat to be in the incredible Bernard Sunley Halls. Here the ratio of about 1:70 girls to boys meets the gender balance criteria across campus. I was filled with hope on my first day that all my fellow freshers would have their doors open and be greeting me with “HEY FRESHER FRIEND” when I passed them in the corridor. This wasn’t the case. I finally found an open door and…a girl was inside! What started with 2 people having a quiet chat ended with the majority of the hall chanting “Bernard Sunley” in the common room. Result.

I could tell a hundred stories about the little ways Imperial has come to surprise and impress me, but none quite does it justice like Mums and Dads night. Here I met my new parents who have done their most to be there for me whilst I settle in, and I am so grateful! Despite managing to take myself to A and E after an ill advised (but definitely worth it) gymnastics effort, I was truly set at ease by seeing the number of fourth fifth and sixth years still freshers at heart during the evening. There is something about the imperial experience that seems to imbue energy rather than exhaust it, and if that doesn’t inspire the most quivering of freshers then I’m not sure what can.

Now I am faced with a giant conundrum. My room. Trying to decorate my room is stretching my creativity to its limit. Torn between making my room a museum to my former life, an episode of MTV cribs or as obsessed with Imperial as can be, I have currently settled for making it look like the inside of a laundry bag. The clothes are strewn across the floor much like the crisp autumn leaves “decorate” the streets of Kensington. I, like many lost, confused and lonely students of Kensington have found solace in the deep fried love of Burger King and KFC only 7 minutes walk from Bernard Sunley Halls. Val at Burger King has become one of my closest friends at University.

So, as I sit between hundreds of handouts, takeaway menus, leaflets and invitations on my floor, I can’t help but think the world has Imperial all wrong. So far it’s felt like the beautiful lovechild of a frat party and an episode of The Big Bang Theory. I have met people from more than 10 different countries, travelled around London, examined my first cadaver, learned to play pool and proved to everyone that I really can do the splits at the cost of my knee. Freshers may be over, but I am pretty excited about what has just begun.

Mala Mawkin

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