Sitting in my uni flat bedroom, facing the daunting task of packing up essentially 3 years of my life, it felt appropriate to actually assess how much of this stuff I needed to being to university and how much I could’ve left at home. So here are my top tips of what to actually bring when you move into halls in first year. It’s important to remember that you will only be in halls for 9 months in first year and then you’ll be moving your stuff back home, into storage or straight into your accommodation for the next few years, so don’t overpack!!
Imperial is challenging. Every Imperial student can tell you that. But some people REALLY struggle with their degrees. I am one of those people. Imperial was not what I expected and I have had a love-hate relationship with this degree. Before I leave Imperial, I want to share my up and down journey during the course of this degree because it really hasn’t been perfect, but I have almost made it and I know you will too.
I really loved maths. There is no other way to describe it. Between my four A-Levels in Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry, I spent over 70% of my time doing maths or calculations of some kind.
In the summer before Year 13, my family decided to take me university hopping around the UK. We’d go to different cities, stay at a local hotel, attend an open day, explore for a day or two and then move swiftly on to the next. Sometimes we’d visit 3-4 unis back to back – no stops, just songs blasting from the car speakers and my dog jumping up at every red light. I felt like a traveller (minus the caravan).
Back then I had no clue what I was going to do. I’d always wanted to study medicine, but I just wasn’t sure if I was passionate enough to dedicate 5-6 years of my life to one subject.
For any regular readers of my blogs out there, you may have noticed my slightly long absence from writing. To say that I’d been struggling with ‘writer’s block’ would be a fairly accurate description. For weeks I kept thinking “What do I write about?” and even though I’d start the occasional blog, I could never finish anything and I’d end up ditching them as drafts. I spoke to a friend of mine who’d come across my blog and he said “Why don’t you write about not having anything to write about?” – so that’s exactly what I set out to do.
Work and assessments at Imperial are continuous, but completing the final summer exams does feel like a milestone. Ever since my frantic air travel from London to Jakarta, worries, and concerns regarding the future of the summer exams were indeed the forefront concern in my mind. The only indication given in the initial weeks was that the exams were to be “remote, formal and written”. My daily morning ritual was (and still is) to check my phone and scroll through the email inbox to find out whether the daily update emails were of any relevance to me.
Nature and Style of the Exams
Then came a series of emails from the EEE Department regarding the style and nature of the exams and for most modules (Mathematics, Signals & Communications, Analysis & Design of Circuits, Digital Electronics & Computer Architecture):
The exam papers would be most similar to what we would’ve received under normal exam hall conditions
The exam paper would be timed for the same duration as a normal written exam would have been for that module.
For the first few weeks, I had a routine going – I got up an hour before my 9am classes (a huge change from waking up 20 minutes before), made myself a healthy lunch, actually managed to get some breakfast down and was up to date with deadlines. I had enough time to see friends and go on a fun night out and I also saved some time at the end of the day to read a little just before bed. Boy, was life going great.
Honestly, I don’t really know what happened after the third week.
Important factors to consider when flat-hunting in London
Before coming to Imperial, I was concerned about how there is no campus accommodation after your first year. However, this offers flexibility for you to decide how you want to live. There are many options, living alone, with friends, in halls…so what are some factors you must consider?
Staying in halls close to campus
If you haven’t gathered the courage to find friends to live with, don’t worry. Evelyn Gardens is an accommodation for returning undergraduates that has similar layouts to first-year halls, letting you make friends with people on your floor whilst having your personal space in one-person bedrooms.
Coming to Imperial was honestly surreal for me, it felt like a dream, and when I woke up it was exam time, and I had to fought tooth and nail to survive. Until I was actually in London, there was always a possibility at the back of my mind to back out. I wanted the easy path, the “I know I can ace every
single class”, which was why Imperial was sort of my second choice. Yes, you heard me, it was my second choice, despite the fact that tons of people are dying to get in.
I know from the beginning, that Imperial would be hard, so I lost hope since the beginning.
The number one question I hear about studying at Imperial
In short, yes. But of course studying here isn’t easy, but if you’re at Imperial now or are thinking of coming here than you probably already know that and can handle the challenge! (If it was easy then everyone would be able to do it) After speaking to countless perspective students and my friends at other universities, this is often the first question I’m asked about what it’s like to study at Imperial. I have often struggled to answer this question succinctly as it has many different aspects to it. There’s of course the academic side, but the also the concept of work-life balance and having a social life.
Everything that was going through my head when I firmed Imperial
For any perspective students reading this post, you’re probably going through the daunting process of selecting your firm and insurance choices on UCAS. I remember this being quite an important decision and a lot of time and thought went into making it so I thought I would share some of my thoughts on choosing universities.
After being a student caller, speaking to perspective students and answering all the questions over the phone, I started thinking about all of the reasons I myself chose Imperial and I thought it would be useful to share some of them with you.