The work I have to do is looking ominous, so here’s something I wrote earlier.
Below is how I got this blog. It’s the (rather longer than usual) post I wrote as part of my application. Hopefully it will give you some idea of what the first few weeks at imperial can be like.
I think I’m just about starting to recover.
The beginning of my second year studying physics at imperial was very different to my first. Last year I applied and was accepted as a hall senior in Holbein and Willis Jackson (HWJ) halls. This means that this year, it’s my job to ensure a brand spanking new group of students settle in to London life, and generally have a great time.
As a first year, I remember the week before the start of term being filled with nervous anxiety, excitement and uncertainty about what I was about to embark on. As a second year hall senior, the week before the start of term was filled with endlessly putting things in each of the 100+ rooms in the hall, staining garden furniture (normally a punishment for naughty students, but it needed doing), getting to know my new hall senior pals and planning the events we would be throwing during the welcome fortnight. There was barely time for such frivolous emotions as anxiety. Not that there would be: that left after the first week at imperial, replaced with thoughts such as “oh, I could try rowing!” and “am I sleeping enough?”
But I digress, what I thought was the second most tiring week of my life was followed by the actual second most tiring week of my life (the most tiring week is a story for another day). Saturday the 1st of October rolled around and lots of parent and luggage baring new students overcame nerves and horrendous traffic to enter their new home. And what a home greeted them: Banners! Balloons! Room keys! Refreshments! Conversation! And (most importantly): helpful hall seniors carrying luggage to rooms! A 4 floor hall with no lifts ensured that no visit to the gym was required on that day.
Free food is always a great way to gather students. An open bar is even better. Thankfully HWJ had both for the opening weekend: pizza and responsibly distributed pints drew crowds that were then ushered to a boat party on the Thames.
The new students were perhaps slightly reluctant to hit the dance floor, choosing instead to take challenges from the wardens to win free drinks (“find the names of all 3 zoologists”, “tell me something I don’t know about Boston” and especially for me, “go find a random fresher and tell them your most embarrassing story”). The other hall seniors were anything but reluctant, breaking out the shuffling (a kind of dance) we had honed during the week previously. We enticed others to join in and I taught a crowd a silly dance as we sailed under Tower Bridge. Once in a lifetime I suppose.
The rest of welcome week was great fun. On Sunday came a champagne breakfast, barbecue and The Mingle (a chance for freshers from different halls to meet one another at a music filled night at the union). On Monday I presided over a non-alcoholic but sugar filled evening of “speed meeting”, which was meant to be like speed dating but without the immediate romantic side. In reality people chatted and laughed whilst drinking coke floats and non-alcoholic cocktails. I occasionally shouted at them to “CHANGE PARTNER” with a megaphone.
A blur of tiring nights-out to union events and clubbing followed, as well as actually studying physics. Fresher looking-after-duties even broke my personal “sequential going out record” by doing 4 nights in a row. This previously stood at one, because I value sleep.
Any recovery from the knackering first fortnight may be short-lived. The freshers still need a friendly face to talk to and events to go to. Us seniors will rub the sleep from our eyes and make sure it’s a fantastic year.