Before I formally retire from this role since I’ll be graduating (yay!), I wanted to comment on work experience and the project viva, which is the presentation and discussion that takes place after you submit your final year project/dissertation…
I couldn’t get any internships, I’m screwed!
You’re really not. There are lots of activities you can do that can enhance your CV whilst at uni or during term breaks. For uni, there are part-time positions you can sign up for like student bloggers (me!), the President Ambassador’s scheme, and student caller campaigns. You can check out fellow student blogger Kinan’s experience with those schemes by clicking the hyperlinks.
Read The Last Time (For Reals) in full
As I have completed all of my degree assessments I thought it would be nice to end my time at Imperial and role as a student blogger with an overview of how my degree went.
You touch on the basics of biochemistry and molecular biology, namely amino acids, DNA, and biology of cells. The science is towards the pure side and if you were good at chemistry there are enzyme mechanisms. What I think was interesting was bacteria and genetics in bacteria which wasn’t covered in most secondary school syllabuses at all. Don’t underestimate these little things they can be quite complex!
Read The End – My Time at Imperial in full
As final year undergraduate, I’m marathoning towards the end of my life at Imperial as I shall depart for a different university for my postgraduate studies, scribbling away on neurotransmission in the nervous system and hoping my insights would somehow come to light by an aspiring researcher, and musing on my time here in between breaks…
What I’ve achieved The ability to exercise academic freedom and encouraged to be critical. Being critical towards science advances it and we should always question knowledge on how understanding can be improved or different ways of looking at a problem.
What I enjoyed I used to swim competitively at school, so even though I’m not good enough to try out for the College swim team I enjoyed a casual swim during first and second years.
Read Towards the End of My Journey (Almost) in full
Fellow coursemates and I were looking forward to our dissertation, the most exciting and final part of a Biology/Biochemistry degree. Biology and Biochemistry both belong to the Department of Life Sciences so have the option to share courses together in the final 3rd year. Unlike having to do a dissertation, you can opt to do a lab-based project instead of a literature review as your final undergraduate assessment. Each individual gets their own supervisor which is impressive considering there are more than 200 of biologists and biochemists combined.
Although COVID has disrupted the chance for half of us to spend 2 months in the lab, our department has responded promptly to student concerns, clarifying the safety net policy College has imposed shortly after government and College lockdown.
Read College Activity During Lockdown in full
Since self-isolating from Pi Day, I’ve been playing Ace Attorney- the game franchise where the meme came from. Jokes aside, discovering truths in the game doesn’t seem far from the truth from our role as scientists in real life. During this sensitive period, so many hoaxes, memes, conflicting articles and misinformation have been going around, leading to confusion, panic, ignorance and misguided practices. This is why analysing the TRUTH is important, unless you want to get sent the meme.
Imperial has been at the forefront of COVID-19 research, from urging the government to act to facilitating antibody research against COVID-19.
Read COVID-spired in full
Science is improving the world with new discoveries, but should we consider their sociopolitical implications?
I will attempt to answer that using anime. Before you cringe about how someone could compare storyline in a 2D world to our very real 3D world, the series I’m covering has not just advice relating to Imperial but on how as scientifically-minded jobseekers, the way we view the world is important.
All is One
In Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (FMAB), alchemy is considered a field of science. The plot is set in a pre-WWII context and follows two brothers. During their training to become alchemists, they were chucked to a desolate island to find the meaning behind alchemy.
Read What is the role of scientists in society? in full
What I wish I knew this when I was a fresher
You often hear from older peers or professional guidance about how different university is from school but it’s never really addressed or emphasised strongly enough what exactly is different. Learning the difference early on can make a big positive impact on your overall university experience. University life, in general, takes time to get used to even when it is positive so preparing more beforehand will make the transition from school to university much smoother.
Find a new study method
The way you study at school will not work at uni.
Read Why it is important to prep for uni over the summer in full
There’s this module called Science Communications in my degree and here is why it is unironically great.
Before starting the Science Communications module as part of the requirements for completing my final year Life Sciences degree, I was quite conflicted about needing to do it as an aspiring research-minded scientist.
You do the SciComms module in your final year of a Biology/Biochemistry degree (as they both belong to the Department of Life Sciences) alongside your literature project which is equivalent to your final year dissertation at other universities. At Imperial, there is the advantage of doing a research project alongside your lecturers or other researchers participating in cutting-edge research to make a real difference to the current scientific field rather than working individually or just with your peers.
Read Why You Should Do Science Communications in full
Reflecting upon my achievements last year and setting new goals for this year
Taking advantage of the New Year spirit is a great way to self-reflect and regain motivation for what you want in life. My goals last year were,
- Good work-life balance
- Spend more time with family
- Emotionally impartial when talking to people and completing daily tasks
- Cook more
- Eat healthily
- Be fluent in Python
- Be happy with what I do (biochemistry/AI)
- Attend social networking, conferences, follow science trends
so how do they tally up this year?
The good news is I’ve subconsciously managed to complete more than half of those goals despite my depression telling me otherwise, showing that we continue to grow as a person every day even when you don’t notice it.
Read 2020 Vision – A Letter To Myself in full
One of the things I was not expecting when I applied to Imperial is that there are many opportunities to travel abroad – whether it is for your degree (the Research Abroad option), an expedition with DofE society, or trips organised by societies. I attended one that fell into the third category – one that is organised by Data Science Society co-organised with Amstertech which allowed me to meet with London students from other universities and network with tech companies in Amsterdam through a series of talks by Sentient Machine Research, Uber, Bynder, Tesla and Nike, many of which headquartered at Amsterdam.
Read Trip to Amsterdam with Data Science Society in full