I should probably introduce myself properly seeing as I am going to be blogging for the next few months! I am a third year biologist at Imperial College specialising in Ecology. ” Ecology?!” I hear you cry, “Whats Ecology?!”. With many people I have spoken to regarding biology, usually non-science related people, many don’t grasp that biology encompasses a lot more aspects than just human biology! My first year modules were made up of cellular biology, biochemistry, biology of organisms and ecology. Hence no strict human biology! So I should probably explain what ecology is now I have left you hanging!
“Ecology is the scientific study of the interactions between organisms and their environment”. This definition is the shortened version of what can be a paragraph to explain ecology. Now that is out the way I should probably go on and tell you a bit about me!
I have never blogged before so this is a whole new exciting experience for me! I enjoy writing for fun, so hopefully my writing can be put to good use by telling you all about life for me as a student in London!
I live in a flat in Shepherds Bush with four other flatmates, three of which are medics, one of which is a computer scientist and all of which are girls! They may appear on here in some of my photos (I think they just want to be famous myself :P). They also want code names to make the blog more exciting?!
Activities I enjoy include skating (both ice skating and roller blading) although I’m probably better at ice skating. By better I mean less prone to falling over. I sometimes skate in Hyde park when its sunny although the tourists can make the process extremely confusing, as they generally act like herds of sheep, as well as having a whole hoard of children with them (if you are particularly unlucky on the day you happen to be skating). There are quite a few skaters in London, some of which use Hyde park regularly. I remember one time. I was lazily trying to avoid several pedestrians, skating slowly and considerately, ok quite slowly and a skater came up to me and said “You know, you’d do a lot better if you skated faster and put more effort in!”. He then skated nonchalently off with me slightly fuming. Overall though skaters are usually quite friendly even if they do appear to be laughing behind their padded gloves at you!
I also like playing flute. My other flatmate plays flute as well. I enjoy joining in with her when shes trying to practise. Warning! This can seriously annoy someone especially if they are serious about their practising I play regularly with Imperial Windband which involves a weekly rehearsal as well as termly concerts!
Other facts about me are that I enjoy eating and sleeping (both in large quantities). I like reading, although university has not left much time for that particular hobby unless of course you count the free london papers you get given by those people with the bright purple/orange jackets that always seem to be loitering around every tube station. Being a biologist I have an innate curiosity regarding anything that is furry, small or moves! This can lead to conflicts if you live with people that don’t understand this curiosity! One of my flatmates has a phobia of spiders. One day she came home and told me there was a huge spider on the stairs, so I went out to have a look. Sure enough it was huge. I got rid of the spider eventually although I was tempted to take a picture of it first! The picture below was taken on a third year biology trip to London Zoo!
Other interesting facts about me include: I am the only person that can change our flat kitchen lightbulbs, I have a blow-up globe in my room and I have three cacti plants, one of which I suspect I have overwatered quite significantly/sent to its death because it is shrinking in size!
So whats it like to be a student in London? If you read my blog you will find out! Below though I am going to put a few tips for people wanting to come and study at a university in London:
1)Buy or ask for socks for birthdays and christmasses. You will always lose some per week, depending on how often you use the student washing machines in your halls or your shared house or flat. If living with flatmates you will often suspect accidental sock swoppage especially if you own the same type of sock. A way to counteract this is by buying bright socks with distinctive patterns! Avoid socks that sing - these are not practical for the modern London student! My friend below demonstrates what distinctive socks are!
2) Get yourself a student oyster card. You can save considerable amounts of money by buying student bus passes either weekly or monthly. (This is if you travel to university daily).
3)Take the bus occasionally. Taking the bus helps you learn about London topography and how one place relates geographically to the next. Medic flatmate below demonstrates how to do this in style!
4)Accept that you will get lost at some point whilst travelling round London. If not up for the adventure that inevitably follows this, take at least a tube map so you can get back on course by finding the next tube station to get to your destination.
5) Walk fast, walk faster! London moves very fast. Stay one step ahead of the game by keeping up! If trying to negociate huge crowds of tourists pick a person that seems to be parting the crowds successfuly and tailgate them until you can breathe again. This practise is best on busy streets such as Oxford Street and Leicester Square.
6) For students beginning university: Go to freshers fair, sign up for lots of clubs, join two or three and turn up once in a while to meetings/rehearsals etc. This helps you make other friends outside of your course.
7) Buy some ear-plugs for the time when your hall has a raucous party and you have an exam the next day.
Bring a dressing gown for those oh-so exciting moments when your hall has its 10th fire alarm at night in the week. At the very least you want to be warm when stood outside with fellow hall mates even if you do look stupid.
9) If moving into a shared flat or house, extention cables are a godsend for all that electrical computer equipment you seem to have amassed whilst in first year. Buy only certified cables and check they do not smoke when turned on.
10) When out and about in some of the more “dodgy” areas of London, make sure you do not have obvious bulges on the outside of your clothing. Try and keep your ipod, purse and phone secure in a pocket or bag that cannot be seen. Do not pat your clothing too obviously to find these objects whilst sitting/standing on public transport, this can alert thieves to where your valuables are!
This list could easily be longer, but for now I think I shall leave it at 10 things to remember. I hope you visit my blog!