As I’m writing this blog now, I am sitting in one of the tutorial rooms on the sixth floor of the City and Guilds building in Imperial. Normally, this is where I would be working on my tutorial sheets with my fellow course mates, and the whole room would be filled with ideas. But now because of the pandemic, I am here alone in this room with my own thoughts. Walking around campus now feels completely different, as I have seen more people here in normal weekends as compared to what I see now. Most of the shops are closed, but the library still remains open as long as everyone practices social distancing. Let me bring you all back to the times when campus was filled with students rushing about and the Union Bar was filled with cheers of laughter.
In my first year, I lived in halls which were situated so close to my department that I could wake up at 8:50am for a 9:00am class. I’m a Mechanical Engineer, and my department is located in the City & Guilds Building, or might I say the best building in Imperial! I remember how fascinated I was when I arrived in our lecture hall CAGB200. It was the first time I got to have a class in a huge lecture theatre with the capacity for 200 people. Does that make teaching more efficient as compared to in a small-scaled classroom? Debatable. It’s still a fantastic experience though! Inside our department, we have our own social space called Mech Space, where students can socialize in a comfortable room filled with bean bags, board games, a coffee machine and even a foosball table. There are also tons of study spaces around the building for students to work on their projects or if they just want to find a space to have lunch. Something I never noticed until a week ago is that our tutorial room ceilings are designed in a way where the pipes are not covered completely. It bothered me during my first two years due to the lack of aesthetics this cause, but I recently realized that these pipes are all labelled with signs saying ‘Chilled Water Return’, ‘Condensate Return’ and so on. Is it a coincidence that these signs are put there for us Mechanical Engineers to understand how piping into air conditioners work? Who knows?!
The library remains one of my favourite venues on campus still. It consists of 5 stories worth of study spaces and study material. One of my favourite games to play on campus would have to be ‘Can you find a seat in the library at 12pm?’. Even though it is always extremely crowded, it remains such a therapeutic spot to study at mainly because of the big study spaces and quiet atmosphere. The Union Bar is also one of the most popular places on campus, as it is situated right below one of the oldest halls of residence of Imperial. Whenever sports night arrives, you will not fail to see a crowd of people surging into the pub. Living so near to campus was a blessing as well because I got the chance to head over to campus any time I wanted to play the piano and relieve some stress. The Blyth Centre in Imperial offers loads of individual music rooms and also a few ensemble rooms for people to practice. There are also multiple multipurpose rooms around Imperial, where clubs & societies can gather in them to work through their activities.
One thing that remains the same even after the pandemic is that no one is allowed to walk up the Queen’s Tower. If you ever get lost at Imperial, just look up and find the tallest tower around. That would most definitely be the magnificent sight of the Queen’s Tower. Below that is the Queen’s Lawn, where people will sit around busking in the sun on the rare occasion that the sun shows up in London. While I’m writing this right now, I am also looking forward to the day when I can attend physical lectures instead of online classes, and campus will be filled with the hustle and bustle of students again.