You picked Imperial to become a scientist, engineer or a medical doctor. What do these careers have in common? You’ll need to write a lot: scientific?papers, grant applications, lecture notes,?popular science articles.?
As soon as I found out that I’d be studying here, I was immediately filled with petty worries.
Now that I’m back to my little town on the Island of Borneo in Malaysia, how does my workflow look like as I prep for remote exams? Absolutely no one asked me this question but I just felt like writing this so, you’re welcome!
10 am: Rise and Shine!
Those who know me will find this shocking as I usually wake up around 6.30 am every day. The only reason why I wake up this late is that I now have to go to bed at 3 am. The only reason? To accommodate for exam schedules as they are set based on BST.
Fellow coursemates and I were looking forward to our dissertation, the most exciting and final part of a Biology/Biochemistry degree. Biology and Biochemistry both belong to the Department of Life Sciences so have the option to share courses together in the final 3rd year. Unlike having to do a dissertation, you can opt to do a lab-based project instead of a literature review as your final undergraduate assessment. Each individual gets their own supervisor which is impressive considering there are more than 200 of biologists and biochemists combined.?
Although COVID has disrupted the chance for half of us to spend 2 months in the lab, our department has responded promptly to student concerns, clarifying the safety net policy College has imposed shortly after government and College lockdown.
Taking charge of your own mental health support.?
We have been in a state of nationwide lock-down for a few weeks now. This has understandably taken a toll on everyone’s mental health. Some may have managed to cope more than others. However, professional and academic commitments still need to be met even during a pandemic. The pressure from keeping up with that alongside the uncertainty of the current situation may lead to heightened anxiety among students. This can manifest in many ways some of which are erratic sleep, loss of appetite, irritability or panic attacks.
With the pressures from the crisis and everything being run remotely, the access to professional mental health support has unfortunately diminished.
Work and assessments at Imperial are continuous, but completing the final summer exams does feel like a milestone. Ever since my frantic air travel from London to Jakarta, worries, and concerns regarding the future of the summer exams were indeed the forefront concern in my mind. The only indication given in the initial weeks was that the exams were to be “remote, formal and written”. My daily morning ritual was (and still is) to check my phone and scroll through the email inbox to find out whether the daily update emails were of any relevance to me.
Nature and Style of the Exams
Then came a series of emails from the EEE Department regarding the style and nature of the exams and for most modules (Mathematics, Signals & Communications, Analysis & Design of Circuits, Digital Electronics & Computer Architecture):
- The exam papers would be most similar to what we would’ve received under normal exam hall conditions
- The exam paper would be timed for the same duration as a normal written exam would have been for that module.
Seeing that the country I live in is now stuck in a state of quarantine, it’s become impossible to hang out with friends like I used to. However, my high-school friends and I have found a means to connect together over online games. Not online videogames, but online board games.
Despite not being able to play in person, this tool has allowed my friend and I to play together. It’s fantastic, as it simulates an actual 3D playing environment, allowing players to interact with virtual board game pieces including dice, cards and tokens. It’s been a great source of laughter and a good chance to reconnect.
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the way we live in just a few days/weeks. One of the consequences of that is the new exam organisation at Imperial this year. Using my own computer at home, I have already sat two remote open-book exams and I am about to have another six assessments in the next 3 weeks.
In this post, I am not going to comment on fairness of the Imperial’s decision to hold remote examinations. What I would like to do instead is describing what they look like in our department.
Are you seriously thinking about a research career? If so, there are many opportunities to try out leading-edge research as an Imperial undergraduate student. Some time ago, I wrote a post about IROP, a programme that allows you to have a research internship at prestigious institutions abroad. Today, I would like to write a few words about UROP, which gives you equally-good placements at Imperial itself.
I know I’m not the only one for which time since mid-March hasn’t felt quite real.?The Easter break passed in a dissociative blur?and now it’s apparently summer term??It’s been challenging to get back into the headspace of academic work since I‘m still?stuck?in the?same?physical space?that I’ve been in for a month.?But since deadlines don’t stop even though time isn’t real, I’ve been?slowly clawing my?lockdown?life into something of a routine.??Morning?
I start most mornings with a run in my local park. Running has never been my preferred form of exercise but?being able to get outside and burn off some pent-up energy?helps me cope with spending the rest of the day in my room.?
Looking back on my time at Imperial
As my final year exams commence, the end of my time as a student here at Imperial is fast approaching. Three of the best years of my life have flown by and I couldn’t be sadder to be leaving. Don’t get me wrong, Imperial has had its downs as well, challenging exams and plenty of coursework, but there have been way more ups, which have kept me going.
Imperial has so many great things about it. I could sit here and tell you all about the amazing research that’s going on with Covid-19, I could tell you about the incredible moment that the Imperial team won this year’s University Challenge and a million other reason that we’re so proud to be a part of Imperial.
I’m sure this is your 100th time hearing, reading or watching anything that has to do with COVID-19 today, but many people have been asking me about the journey was like and was it safe. So, I’ve decided I’m going to write about what I had to go through to finally get back home (it’s a journey that spanned almost an entire month)!
So it first started off sometime mid-March. We finally started to take the whole COVID-19 situation more seriously. The numbers are growing exponentially by the day, all over the world. My parents (in Malaysia) are starting to worry as the numbers in the UK suddenly started growing extremely quickly.