From an Imperial Survivor, I mean Graduate!
It’s crazy to think that its already been 3 years since I was moving into halls to begin my Mathematics degree at Imperial. Carting box after box into my new room at Beit hall, to say I was nervous would have been an understatement. Coming from a small all girls school I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t even know if I remembered how to make friends… but not for long. Life at Imperial was so busy, from a challenging academic course to tons of clubs and societies there was hardly any time for me to even spend worrying!
In the last three years I’ve been given some incredible opportunities, from writing this student blog to playing netball for Imperial, being president of the Mathematics society and even representing students’ needs by sitting on the Union Council. On the academic side, I’ve analysed election results, curry ingredients and clothing catalogues, presenting my findings in poster sessions, presentations and in reports. I even got the chance to spend one day a week teaching Maths in a local secondary school during my final year and it all counted towards my degree. Despite my degree being heavily mathematically focused, the skills I have gained outside of Mathematics, for example in presenting my findings, thinking logically and problem solving have helped me immensely in life beyond Imperial.
Whilst life hasn’t always been peachy and I have found my degree painfully difficult at times, with the incredible support of my friends, personal tutor and other staff members, I have always been able to pick myself up and try my hardest. Even when I thought I wouldn’t be able to achieve the grades I needed (or wanted), the community I have been lucky to have around me at Imperial never let me give up. Whether it be supporting me with coursework, answering my tedious questions or even just comforting me through my many study room breakdowns, there was always someone beside me. (My constant, panicked tears even won me the award of “Most breakdowns in the Maths study room 2019/20” not an official award though, don’t worry!)
Whenever the Maths got a little to intense I was so glad to have a whole host of other things to distract me and provide a well needed break. Netball provided a great physical activity and an amazing group of girls to get to know (as the minority at Imperial this was much appreciated), whilst being President of MathSoc allowed me to organise a bunch of super cool events, from dinners and balls for 250, to bowling, ice skating and of course classic pub quizzes. Given the amount of time I invested into MathSoc (perhaps at times more than into my actual degree, whoops!), it was an absolute highlight of my degree winning Imperial College Union’s Society of the Year Award and my Union Fellowship. It was the cherry on top of an already amazing degree. Looking back over all my blog posts since first year, I feel so grateful to a have documentations of the highs and lows of the last three years; something I will treasure and reminisce over for a long time to come.
The last four months after finishing my last exams have been filled with immense change, from starting my grad role and paying council tax to trying to keep in touch with friends now dispersed all across the world. There are so many things I am glad I did during my time at Imperial, but also some regrets. Given my experience, my absolute top tip to making the most of your time at university is to:
Take every opportunity you have. Run for a role in the Union Elections, apply to be a President’s ambassador or try out for a sports team, or all three! Some of my favourite memories have come from applying for things on a whim and, I kid you not, they have been life changing.
Through societies I joined, or sitting next to different people in lectures, I have met some of my best friends, people who have massively shaped my time at Imperial and even my life. It’s so cool to think that my first year neighbour is STILL one of my best friends, someone I arguably met just by chance.
Receiving my results and knowing I am officially graduating from Imperial was probably one of the best moments of my life, especially given the many challenges I faced during this degree but above just a degree, I feel like Imperial has given me so so so so so much more. So all in all, thank you so much Imperial for giving me friends for life, some of my favourite memories and of course a very employable degree!
For the last time: Best wishes and thank you for reading my blog over the years!
Aishy Chidambaram, BSc Mathematics