Hello Second Year

What does a drowning mathematician say?

Log, log log, log, log log, log…

Top tip for starting conversations at the start of a new year: type ‘tell me a joke’ into Wolfram Alpha. Oh Wolfram. How you amuse me and help me integrate things that should never be integrated.

Hi, potential readers of this blog. I’m Emma, a second year physicist- as you’ve probably gathered, who is hopefully going to be blogging here for the next year.  I thought I’d start by telling you a bit about the start of my term.

This year I am renting a house with four other lovely people from halls last year, so I started the term carting down boxes of stuff that (now almost at the end of term) I still haven’t unpacked one of. The house I am renting is beautiful- a properly huge family home with pretty ceiling decorations and chandeliers (!) downstairs. We discovered recently from a neighbour that the whole thing is slowly sinking into the house next to it, so that’s probably why it’s affordable. Fingers crossed it remains afloat until next year.

It’s great for house parties which have been fun for catching up with people from last year who have all dispersed into their own houses, as well as meeting my flatmate’s um, interesting friends. Having been lucky enough to have lived a five-minute dash from lectures in our first year, the bus ride into Imperial still comes as a bit of a shock to the system though.

Second year Physics is a big step up from first year. The lab experiments are longer now and more intense, and our lecture courses, while all being very interesting (especially thermodynamics, where our lecturer is amazing, and Fourier which is just cool) have been whizzing through new material.

Also, my new-for-this-year horizons course, Communicating Science, despite making my Mondays nine-to-six (!!), is brilliant. After spending all day trying to make your results make any kind of vague sense and squinting at equations, arguing with nice people about how scientists should have coped with bird-flu risk is refreshing.

This year I told myself I was going to try and be more involved with societies. Last year I signed up to millions of mailing lists at the fresher’s fair but only ended up going regularly to windband (one of the more relaxed non-audition music groups at Imperial) as I play clarinet. I have diversified a bit this term- I’ve been actually writing for Felix, Imperial’s student newspaper. I say ‘actually’ as last year I signed up for this too, but was far too intimidated to reply to any of the emails. I’ve also been to recreational tennis a couple of times when it hasn’t been icy cold, and have been really enjoying volunteering with a charity for disabled children called KEEN on the weekends.

KEEN is a really great charity that provides one-to-one games and activities for disabled children and their siblings. The volunteers all meet up beforehand and are given a booklet with information about their child’s needs and favourite activities, and warm up with some games themselves, as well as learning a bit of Makaton. I find it fun to do something so absorbing and totally different from all the stresses and stuff I have to do for uni, as well as just enjoying playing games and messing around- I probably enjoy the games more than some of the children there. I hope that I can continue to go for the rest of my time at Imperial.

Another thing I really wanted to do this term was to find somewhere that hosts spoken word poetry readings, having watched millions on YouTube last summer. I haven’t got round to any yet, but next week Imperial are hosting an event, which I am super excited about and dragging my boyfriend to, though he will almost certainly hate every second of it.

Also one of my housemates and I are a Physics mum and dad this year! Imperial student ‘families’ are hugely laid-back compared to similar things at my friend’s unis. We have only met our children once, for lunch at the union, and once accidentally at the RCSU winter ball. They were nice though- hopefully we’ll see them again before Christmas and see how their first term went!

I tried to find some photos I’ve taken this term to jazz this post up, but about 98% of them are of food. Not a joke. If what you take pictures of without thinking is what you are truly like without thinking (to horribly ruin an Oscar Wilde quote) then I am incredibly greedy or hungry- or both.

So, here is a photo of toad-in-the-hole, mashed potato and peas that my boyfriend and I made… 🙂 Hope you enjoyed my blog.

Toad in the hole

Mmmmm. One of my proudest moments of the term.

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