A week ago I moved out of my student accommodation. So much has changed in this past week, and social isolation has become of utmost importance. There’s been a lot of uncertainty from the outbreak, particularly for those being made redundant, or the GCSE and A Level students. The country, the world, has felt a lot of anxiety. The Covid-19 outbreak has had the unexpected side effect of significantly worsening the world’s mental health. It’s hard enough worrying about catching coronavirus yourself, but the thought of spreading it to the vulnerable makes things all the worse. I’ve found a couple of things have really helped my mental health during this outbreak, and may well help yours too.
Not quite how I thought my time at Imperial would end
Last Friday night standing in Metric, waiting for the results of the Leadership Elections 2020, little did I know that that would be the last time I saw so many of my friends, the last time I stood in the Union Buildings and my last gathering of more than 5 people as an Imperial student. 10 minutes later, we received the email that told us College was due to close and that the entire community of 17,000 students and 8,000 staff would be moving online.
The world has been shaken up by Covid-19.
Recent international, governmental and institutional decisions have truly shook the face of the Earth. The empty supermarket shelves, the lack of pasta and toilet paper, the closing of universities and borders… Currently on my way home with mixed feelings, my chest seems to weigh a ton but I wanted to share the main highlights of my second term:
I have taken part in a range on events this term: creating Beeswax films with the Ecology society, debating with FemSoc, participating in the FoNS-MAD Science competition, attending the musical Dear Evan Hansen, Biochemistry Ball, Science challenge… The diversity of these have not only allowed me to forge new connections but also engage in interesting conversations such as “to what extent do quotas reflect merit?”
I haven’t written a blog since I have come back in January, and I’ve realised why. In all honesty, I have really had a horrible term. It is beginning to look up, but a lot has happened that has made me hold off on blogging. I have had amazing experiences at this uni, but for the last eight weeks I’ve really struggled to see the positive from all the rubbish that has made me ultimately hate being here for a bit. However, I wouldn’t have published this if I didn’t have a positive spin on my awful second term. While I’ve hit my lowest points a few times, I’ve been proactive and have made some changes which are beginning to make my uni experience less terrible.
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.
So this term started off pretty well.
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.
When I’m not doing problem sheets, or writing lab reports, or reading ‘recommended reading’ so dense with acronyms I just skip entire paragraphs, I try to relax.
Of course, working out regularly and going to Taekwondo really helps in this regard. But sometimes you just feel like it’s become a routine. A routine where being 2+ weeks behind on problem sheets and taking longer then you estimated to complete anything is the routine.
Ergo, it’s great to break that routine. Recently, RCSU – the science subjects union, organised a trip to Urban Axe Throwing. I don’t know how they know these people exist, but it’s fantastic that they put these things together, particularly since as a teetotal I don’t go to socials at clubs or bars.
Many of you are aware that since Thursday, the 20th of February 2020, around 50,000 lecturers, technicians, librarians and other academic and support staff at 74 universities are taking part in a total of 14 days of strike action, staggered through February and March, which will potentially affect about 1.2 million students through lost lectures and tutorials. The inclusion of Imperial College London came after the second round of ballet, where a majority of the staff voted for strike action due to pension and pay-related issues. The strike action is due to last till the 13th of March, with a gradually increasing number of strike days each week.
Design week, the infamous week that we’ve all been hearing about since the start of the year. For those of you who do not know what Design Week is, it’s essentially a whole week dedicated to the Design and Manufacture module. In one week, all teams will have to design and complete a product for one of the 3 given problems. Yeah it’s crazy. Previously all design projects span for the term but now we will be doing all that in within one week.
Previously, it’s known to be the week where students compete to see who needs the least sleep but now the department has made significant changes to the structure of the week; having deadlines and tasks to be submitted by the end of each day and it’s godsend.
Disclaimer: This is probably the most real I’ve ever gotten in these posts
(Don’t make the same mistake I did, please)A trip down memory lane
Throughout my time at Imperial I have been documenting my time through these posts. In my current emotionally fragile state, dreading the idea of leaving the comfort that has become Imperial, I took a trip down memory lane reading over everything I seem to have been a part of at uni. From Netball, wellbeing, MathSoc and the RCSU, I have kept myself fairly busy, with my volunteer roles for the Union taking a forefront in my daily life.