Easter break is normally one of the best holiday for me. After horrible winter weather and what feels like the longest term ever, I look forward to Easter. Not this time, and not at Imperial.
Easter break means its getting much closer to exam. You heard it right, exam. And that might or might not be stress you sense. Being a first year, people kept telling me that what I do as a first year won’t matter. That I can do whatever I want, get drunk, skip lectures. But what I do matters, I realise it now as it is nearly the execution time.
“We, humans, are killing our planet”
How many times have we heard someone saying that phrase? How many times has it appeared on the news? How many scientific articles have been published about it?
Yet I believe it is not entirely true. There are two keywords which I find to be a lie. Let me explain myself.
First of all, the term “our planet”. It is a huge mistake to consider the Earth as ours. It has never been a gift nor it has never been available for us to use as we wish. This planet is our home, indeed, but not our property.
In a previous blog post I managed to summarise my first term at Imperial with the song lyrics of ABBA. As the Easter holidays begin, I have attempted to use the words of the legendary band, Queen, to reflect on what has been an incredibly busy second term.
We Are The Champions
Dance Company has continued to be a huge presence in my life at Imperial. In February we travelled across the country to compete in two university dance competitions for which 8 teams have been preparing hard for. Dance Company truly were the champions as we ended up winning a total of 13 awards across the two competitions in Southampton and Liverpool.
One of the best parts of my life at Imperial
With the Netball season coming to a close, I thought it was time to reflect on another year as a member of Imperial College Netball Club (ICUNC). If you’ve ever seen me around campus during the week, there’s a high chance I was probably covered head to toe in Netball Stash, but my love for Netball and the girls at ICUNC doesn’t end there. As a girl at Imperial, it can be pretty lonely, but the saving grace has been the incredible girls I have met through Netball. Training together through the freezing winter, matches in the rain and Sports Nights going wrong has made me so close to all of the girls in my team and the rest of the club, and I have so appreciated always knowing that I have a whole team of girls to turn to.
I couldn’t call myself a mathematician if I didn’t celebrate Pi Day. Let’s take a moment to appreciate this mathematical constant for… staying constant. Today’s hero came by a hair’s breadth of being changed to 3.2.
Since ancient times mathematicians had been trying to “square the circle”, so given a circle construct a square with the same area, using just a compass and straightedge. Unfortunately for all these fame-seeking mathematicians and amateurs, in 1882 the task was proven impossible. And the culprit was… π.
To square the circle we’d have to construct a square root of π. However, a German mathematician Carl Louis Ferdinand von Lindemann proved that π is a transcendental number, which means it’s not a root of any polynomial with rational coefficients.
The other day, one of my classmates came up to me with a rather interesting question. He was wondering whether student bloggers were able to say bad things or criticize Imperial in any way.
And the truth is that yes, we can. I guess we simply don’t do it because we want to spread positivity within our readers. However, he made me realize it was time to share our not-so-pink reality. After all, prospective students need to know what they are getting themselves into.
The downside of Imperial’s internationality
Although diversity is one of the qualities we are most proud of, it does drag along a small issue: background inequality.
Choosing a PhD supervisor is one of the most important decisions you must make before you start grad school. A bad one can turn three or four years of your life into a nightmare, while a good one will make the experience bearable, if not enjoyable (at times).
I often get asked for advice on how to approach this decision. Today I’ll share what I did and what factors mattered to me most. However, bear in mind that everyone has different needs and deal-breakers, so please don’t blindly apply all my advice!
I started looking for a supervisor quite early, over half a year before beginning my PhD.
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.
As we all know, Imperial is one of the world’s top universities, with an internationally recognised reputation. Would you say that this reputation is obtained by having students chilling out? You guessed right, it isn’t.
If you are a student here, you will already know what the overload of work is like. If you aren’t a student yet, do not worry, you will find out.
So, when you have a computing exam coming up, three tutorial sheets to be done, a few lectures to Panopto, two labs to write and a life to live, you better organise yourself.
Here are a few tips that may help you to be the most productive you can possibly be:
Your whole year is already timetabled, the least you could do is check how does your week looks like.