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.
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.
When you’re a student at Imperial, you don’t have to stick just to classes and coursework. You can do many extracurricular activities by joining one of over 300 clubs and societies. As a space enthusiast, I’ve decided to get involved in the Space Society this year.
More specifically, I’ve joined the CubeSat team which meets every Monday evening. Our aim is to make a satellite (for the UKSEDS Satellite Design Competition) which studies a hostile lunar-like environment. I’m currently in the Sensors & Data Handling group responsible for choosing, programming and obtaining meaningful data from sensors.
Huxley Building is on the South Kensington campus and is the main building for computing students. Having been coming to Huxley every day for over a year now, I know by heart how to navigate through the most important points there. However, there are some rooms in the restricted lab area (which I should be most familiar with!) I haven’t really noticed or used until recently and are very useful, either for working or well-being. These are my subjective hidden gems in Huxley.
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
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.
In heart of Imperial’s recent campaign for Student Money Week I thought I would add a few of my own tips that help me manage and budget my money effectively. The #FindTheBalance campaign run by the university gave some really helpful tips and advice from Student Finance Services and from current students. Here I have compiled some of the most helpful and achievable ideas in one place, so you can come back and reflect should you need to throughout the year.
Keep a Spending Log
It doesn’t have to be pretty and artsy like the ones you see people spend their life designing in bullet journals, but I find it really helps to make a note of everything you spend each week and calculate your weekly outgoings.
Too often people dissociate Art from Science and Technology almost as if it were a field only accessible to the white blouses, natural scientists and engineers. In fact what people tend to forget is that Art is a major driving force of advances in both Science and Social Sciences. Not only is it a mean of communication, education (figures, graphic designs) but it very much impacts how we understand and tackle modern problems. The emergence of biodesigns to promote sustainable fashion through the use of bacterial strains or adaptive building material reflect this. When exposed to the same environment daily, we often tend to forget what actually precisely constitutes it out of habitude.
I’ve never really been much of a “library revision” kind of person. Something about how silent libraries are gives a chatterbox like me so much anxiety. To top it off, I’m also that annoying friend who constantly disturbs everyone else’s revision to show them memes because clearly quality memes are most appreciated when you’re nose deep in a textbook (to all my sixth form friends, I’m sorry guys!).
However, university has hit me differently. I might as well not be paying for accommodation at this point considering how I spend the majority of my time on the fourth floor of the library – and yes, for all those aunties out there, I swear I’m actually working!
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.
I still face my fair share of feeling inadequate, feeling like I’m not enough for the course that I do and not enough to match up to the people around me. Studies at Imperial already comes with tons of workload. Being the overly ambitious person that I am, I just can’t stop myself from committing to exciting opportunities and projects! I’m literally surrounded by the best and brightest people around and if I were to experiment or embark on a new project, it’d of course be here, no brainer! That being said, every now and then, I’d get hit with the thought that I am inadequate and that I do not belong here.