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.
Growing up I don’t think I was actually aware of the gender gap in STEM. Having gone to an all girls school, I grew up in this idealistic bubble where I thought I could do anything and be anything I wanted. I am glad for this bubble as it didn’t hold me back from trying to be the best at Science, Maths and Computing. However in yr10 this bubble was popped. No it wasn’t popped by some boy saying he was better than me or a teacher telling me girls couldn’t be engineers.
It is ironic, if nothing else, when people expect calm down to somehow solve, nay, cure someone’s anxiety, but won’t accept that climate change is real. How naïve it is to believe that a person with depression could simply “stop being sad” and go on about with their day? You cannot recover from anxiety by just staying calm. You cannot recover from depression by just being positive. You cannot recover from anorexia nervosa by just eating more. If mental illnesses were that easy & simple to cure, we wouldn’t be struggling in the first place. I remember reading in Wonder, by R.J.
How have I already reached halfway through my time at Imperial?
As we hit the middle of February there was only one thing I could really think about, coming to half way through my degree. All undergraduate Imperial students studying engineering and most science students are on 4 year programmes, however, breaking tradition, I have decided to only do the 3 year BSc. A lot of this is due to my focus away from research and towards industry as the 4th year of the maths degree leans towards research.
During my year and half here I have definitely made some incredible friends from all over the world, learnt so much – not only academically but also practically and also had some of my best memories.
Can you believe the time for New Year’s resolutions has come again? Maybe this year you can add to the traditional “I’ll eat healthily”, “I’ll stop smoking” and “I’ll hit the gym regularly” a new one: “I’ll look at statistics carefully”. You can start with these five simple tips.
- Reported averages might be meaningless
An arithmetic mean (sum of all values divided by the number of values), often reported as the average, in fact doesn’t say much about the average value.
Imagine you’re describing humans to extraterrestrial visitors. How many legs does an average person have? Slightly less than two.
For theatre addicts London is like a bar for alcoholics: a paradise and a hell at the same time. Since the beginning of my PhD I’ve spent a bit too much money and time on plays and musicals — more than I’d ever publicly admit. Meanwhile I’ve mastered the art of getting cheap tickets, so if you’re also a theatre lover on a student budget, read on! This article isn’t sponsored by any of the companies I mention (unfortunately).
- Install TodayTix on your phone. You’ll be able to book tickets with one swipe, get some additional offers (e.g. 24-hour-long sales) and, most importantly, participate in lotteries.
You picked Imperial to become a scientist, engineer or a medical doctor. What do these careers have in common? You’ll need to write a lot: scientific papers, grant applications, lecture notes, popular science articles. Unfortunately, university curricula lack writing courses, so we end up with thousands of unreadable scientific papers. In my research I’ve chosen some mathematical methods just because the authors made them easy to understand; nobody has time or energy to look for interesting science hiding behind word clutter.
I’m a mathematician, not a writer, and my writing is far from perfect. Let me share five tips to improve your writing so that you can learn from my mistakes.
I’m definitely a social animal. While I need some “me time” once in a while, I tend to surround myself with people. This is why when I embarked on my first PhD journey, I wasn’t too thrilled to learn that I’d be travelling alone. That sounded so scary, I was afraid that something would go wrong or, in the best case scenario, I’d just feel lonely and miserable for a few days.
Since then I’ve been to so many conferences in various countries, often extended to a mini-vacation. Almost always, completely alone. And let me tell you, I learned to love it.
In my post about affording London prices I suggested bringing lunches to work, just to save money. No matter how busy I am, I do it most days, thanks to a collection of delicious and ridiculously quick recipes I collected (let me know if you’d like me to post them!). However, sometimes I treat myself to a lunch at Imperial. Where do I go?
At South Kensington campus we have a big choice of catering outlets that serve everything from sandwiches and salads to Japanese and Indian. About 11am they post the menu of the day, which helps to make an informed choice (and procrastinate from work for a few minutes).
And how to avoid it
However much you might try to think you make the best use of your time, I’m sure that there’s always some time during the day when you sit there not quite getting on with your work but pretending that you are. As a particularly keen procrastinator, especially when I find the work difficult, here are some of the ways I’ve managed to get through tough revision periods avoiding procrastination.
- Make a timetable with not more than 45 to 90 mins revision sessions at a time. Don’t just write down what subject or module you will be studying, include key details of what particular topic, or which past paper you will do in this time.