In one of my previous blogs, I mentioned that due to the pandemic, clubs and societies have been finding creative ways to maintain active in a remote environment. Throughout the year, my A Cappella group – The Scopes have been searching for creative way to release content throughout the year. This includes releasing different music videos throughout the past two terms, while also engaging in different social sessions with other A Cappella groups around the UK.
After not being able to see one another for more than a year, we are now finally able to rehearse outdoors together and sing live for the first time with our new members.
As I finished up my last Design Project Exhibition through Microsoft Teams, the sun greeted me with its warm embrace as I finally let my laptop go to rest. This signifies the start of the summer break, and this is an especially exciting year for me because it will be the first summer break that I will be spending in London instead of in Malaysia! Even though I miss my family and my friends back home tremendously, I decided to not travel back home this summer after careful discussion with my family. Travelling back home this summer proved to be quite risky as Malaysia is still struggling with its fight against the pandemic.
They always said that my university days are meant to be the best moments of my life back then, and I held on to that belief throughout my years in high school and college because it gave me one simple yet powerful thing – hope. Though the catch was that they never really warned me about the initial shock that I might experience once I landed at London Heathrow Airport for the first time.
Put simply, I was told:
“You are on your own now. Take care and be smart about it.”
Fly away home
I would say that I am in a relatively privileged position where living with my family at home meant that I was occasionally spared from certain household duties.
There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenges. Among these is a complete upheaval of the education system. In years gone by the university application process had been largely predictable. I had taken this for granted during my time. You applied via UCAS with your GCSE grades, wrote a personal statement, sat any admissions tests, took interviews if necessary and received offers or rejections based upon them. Then you sat your A-Level exams and hoped you got the grades needed to meet your offer requirements on results day. I’m not saying the process wasn’t stressful or hard work, and I certainly did my fair share of complaining, but compared to the situation now I realise we had it easy.
In case you are new to this space – hi, I’m Bianca. In the final term of my MSc Management degree at the point of writing. The workload’s tough (would even dare say it has been way more intense than my Biochemistry degree), and you can imagine me as a swan paddling hard beneath the waters to stay afloat whilst trying my absolute best to appear like everything’s going fine on the surface.
Nah I’m joking. I can be more of a sinking ship at times.
But as much as how hectic and messy my life probably sounds like, I thought of sharing a little bit about how I try to introduce order (and calm) amid the chaos.
Medicine is not always a using a stethoscope and learning anatomy. I think a lot of people have the perception that that is all we do for the entirety of the degree. For the summer term of my 2nd year, I am doing a CRI module which stands for Clinical Research and Innovation, in which students complete different research opportunities and we come together at the end to share our experiences at our individual placements.
I am fortunate to be at the Parkinson’s UK Brain Bank at Imperial’s campus next to Hammersmith Hospital. I still have a few days left here but I was excited to tell you about it.
I tried to start a diary at least five times in my life.
I can’t quite remember why, but I’m willing to bet that it was most probably because I drew a lot of inspiration from the Diary of Anne Frank. They all failed, miserably, in the sense that I tend to either (1) forget to write a paragraph after a week or two since getting started, or (2) I’m just a perfectionist and I often find myself cringing at my own work ten minutes after writing.
That clearly went well.
But if I were to look back at those years after spending some time “growing up”, I guess the mistake I (again, probably) have made is that I was trying to write a diary not exactly for myself, and therefore, it became hard for me to sustain that habit over a long period of time.
With our second-year exams well and truly over, this week we had been timetabled several sessions entitled ‘Medical Skills Kitchen.’ I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was slightly confused by this in the first instance. This confusion further increased when we received an email informing us that we would require two potatoes, two carrots, two bananas and one courgette to take part in these sessions as well as telling us to pick up a ‘kit’ after our last exam. However, when I actually read the session description in full, this confusion was soon replaced by excitement.
The ‘Medical Skills Kitchen’ is a course co-created by medical and culinary professionals enabling us to develop our practical skills, in preparation for third year, from the comfort of our own kitchens.
It is strange seeing familiar faces in my grocery store. The lady who works there on Tuesdays lives on my street and I haven’t seen her at the till in months. I met my best friend for her birthday, after having to postpone two of my other friends’ as they were during stricter periods of lockdown. I see people sitting with their dogs outside cafes, drinking lattes and reading books. Everyone shyly coming out of cocoons to visit the world again. There is traffic and train delays and everything is slowly coming back to normal.
I just finished my last summative exam for the academic year (but still one last summer assessment left ☹), and I am feeling a little listless before the summer term starts up.
You’ve selected Imperial as your firm choice (great choice), but what comes next? Ah yes- applying for accommodation. I still remember how anxious I felt when faced with my ‘Accommodation Hub’ portal trying to decide which 5 halls of residence to apply to. The gravitas of this decision really got to me. After all, the hall I lived in was likely to influence every aspect of my first year experience- the friends I made, my day to day routine, the part of London I would spend the most time in. To an extent, I was right. I couldn’t imagine spending first year in any other halls of residence and, if I had, I suspect my life would have been markedly different.