Welcome to the inside of my head.

Posts tagged ‘university’

162. Graduation

I did it- I graduated! I survived four years of attending lectures, frying my brain over mathematical theory and stressing over exams and you know what, I’m damn proud. Some people think a degree is just a glorified piece of paper and whilst that statement is not completely inaccurate, for me it feels like something I earned.

Graduation has felt like something a long time coming. Imperial really make you wait; I was done in June but the ceremony was in October. What’s weirder is that I’m working now and don’t feel like a student any more. Going back to uni felt like walking into a previous life, like I was retracing old footsteps and reliving memories. It just goes to show how quickly we move on. But it was totally worth it. The venue, the Royal Albert Hall (a stone’s throw from Imperial), is just spectacular. How many people can boast of such a fine graduation setting?! And it was lovely to see everyone again and hear what they’ve all been up to #reunion.

The day itself was pretty manic- a mad dash from one place to another. Get to uni. Get the gown. Get some informal pictures. Get some official pictures. Attend the ceremony. Attend the reception. Keep track of my family members at all times (very difficult btw when one person needs the loo, someone else wants to wander around the campus and someone else wants to get food). I’m so glad I bought a change of shoes because I really was running around like a headless chicken.

As for who attended; my proud parents of course (who were literally beaming all day), my cousin Mele whose graduation I attended a few months ago and my aunty who came especially from France. It really felt like a family affair which is exactly how I wanted it to be.

Because I was super eager I bought my dress months in advance which turned out to be a very good decision because I seriously don’t have time to shop these days. I found the dress online (from Next) and I think I fell in love with it on sight. It is ivory colour (shutup that’s not the same as white) with embroidery on it and it’s just so well made and a very flattering shape. Better yet it was friggin 65% off. Hell yeah.

But enough chit chat, here are some photos.

 

And if you’re really interested, here’s a video. Skip to 52:20 . Notice my stupid wave to the camera, immortalised forever on YouTube. But hey at least I didn’t stack it.

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161. Working Life: The Sucky Truth.

So in that last post where I said I hoped to still keep up with my blog- yeah that didn’t happen. I can only apologise. I’m guilty. I chose sleep over blogging. Disgraceful.

So what the hell have I been doing? The daily grind covers it- the getting up, going to work, commuting home and collapsing in bed routine.

People ask me all the time how my job is going and I smile and say it’s good and that I’m being kept busy.

But here is what I really want to say.

I have caught myself questioning working life a hundred times over the past month.

The first, and it makes me sad to say this is, is this it? Is this what my life is going to be… 40 years of a daily 9-5  (let’s be honest 8.30-6) and catching up on sleep on the weekend. There’s got to be more, surely.

Then there’s WHAT I’m doing. I like that I’m being given responsibility and I’m doing something ‘real’ but I’m basically a glorified Excel person. Spreadsheets and Outlook are my two sidekicks.

Sometimes I feel like such a sellout. I picked such a ‘safe’, ‘stable’ career. I’ve been so busy being realistic about the future that I never sat down to actually ask myself what I wanted to do. I stumbled into this with my eyes closed and my fingers crossed and a mantra that it’ll work out. And you know what, it probably will. I just need to adjust and grab any opportunity to do non-standard stuff. But for now I’m going to moan because I bloody well want to.

I also worry about my time, more specifically the lack of it. What’s the point of earning money if you don’t have time to use it?  I am quickly beginning to realise that there are not enough hours in the day for me to do all the things I want, and this makes me feel bitter. I want to see my family, chat to my friends, keep up to date with all my tv shows, listen to all the new music and spend hours exploring YouTube and WordPress. But I can’t. And I think it sucks.

And the bit that shocks me is that I’m lucky. I can come home and my parents take such good care of me. How do people living alone function? When do they find the time to go food shopping or cook? How do parents drum up the energy to entertain their kids and keep up to date?

The way I see it…if you let it, work will suck you in and take over your life. I need to prioritise what is really important and do enough things in my personal life so that I don’t lose my identity.

I need to remind myself that I am so much more than just an employee.

159. My Adventures in Italy!

I was supposed to post this quite a while ago. It’s been almost two weeks since I returned and what a whirlwind it has been…but more about that later! 

I have to begin with saying that it was such an amazing trip and a fantastic experience to end with before I start adult working life (that still hasn’t sunk in and I start tomorrow!).

We were based in Florence and stayed in a rented apartment. I had no idea how nice it would be because there was a mix up with addresses and I wasn’t sure that the one we booked was the one we’d get. Sure it enough, it wasn’t…it was much better. We couldn’t believe our luck when we saw how good the location was (literally one road from the Duomo!), how clean it was, how BIG it was and how it was furnished with pretty much everything we could possibly need. It was great having a space to ourselves where we could be slobs together and do whatever the hell we wanted. The only downside about the flat was that it was on the third floor and there was no lift. My legs got a good workout climbing all those bloody steps.

The weather was hot, just as we expected it to be. When we stepped off the plane, the heat washed over us in waves. However it was dry heat so it was far more tolerable; humid heat is the worst. Eurgh! Despite the generous use of sun cream, I still came back tanned. This would normally be celebrated but brown people have this notion that fair is beautiful. Personally I think the tan looks pretty good but my mum was like ehhh. What do you expect when we’re out for 12 hours every day?!

The food was really really good. We had a few concerns about whether Meeti’s dietary requirements would be easily met (vegan plus no eggs, onions or garlic) but it turns out Italians use few ingredients and what they say is what you get. A margherita pizza is literally just dough, tomato sauce and mozzerella but my god it tastes good. One of the best places we ate at was called the ‘OK- bar’ which is quite a self-deprecating name. It ought to be called the ‘Mighty fine- bar’ or ‘A lot better than OK- bar’. I had pasta or pizza every single day. So good!

It’s always hard to describe an atmosphere but Florence had a really good one. Obviously there were lots of tourists but it still felt calm and all the people we met were super friendly. The evenings were particularly special because Florence simply lights up, both literally and metaphorically. The cool air is so inviting that it brings everyone out and you can easily chat the night away. In contrast to the intimate town feel of Florence, Rome strongly felt like a city in the sense that it was buzzing with people and was so big. However it also didn’t feel as safe. Case in point- Meeti felt someone tug on her bag as she walked off the metro. We were on high alert for the rest of the day as we simply couldn’t afford to lose our bags. Pisa also didn’t compare to Florence. Despite its beauty and being the home of the leaning tower, it didn’t charm me in the same way. Every road you walk down in Florence has something that catches your eye and steals your attention. It is so much more than just the sights.

But speaking of sights, Florence is of course famous for its art and culture and for being the setting of Dan Brown’s book which excited Meeti to no end. Being a Maths/Science orientated person I am really not the most cultured person. I don’t appreciate Art in the way other people do; I don’t know what makes one painting better than another; I can’t talk about brush strokes and historical background for more than five minutes. But even I knew that some of the stuff I saw was really special.

Every time I see this, it make me squee!

The level of detail of some of the paintings and sculptures was exemplary and subtle things like facial expressions and soft eyes captured emotion in a way that I had never seen before. But being us, we weren’t serious for long and very soon we started adding our own silly captions to the paintings and copying the some of the really bizarre stances of the sculptures to great comical effect.

Mad skillz right there

Mad copying skillz right there

Medusa!

Medusa!

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I have to say, back in the day the artists were seriously obsessed with the human body is all its naked glory. Boobs and pee-pees everywhere. It was quite disconcerting initially. I found it curious that all the men seemed to have abs of steel whilst the women were curvy, fat rolls in abundance, cleavage hanging out. Given the realism of the paintings I thought it was strange how everyone was hairless, even the guys (except for the mandatory man bush). I know it’s effort to add shadow but if they had time to include cellulite and butt dimples I figure it would have been a walk in the park.

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Is it just me or does this position look really uncomfortable?

Check out the level of detail- the veins in his hand!

Check out the level of detail- the veins in his hand!

I couldn’t possibly list all the things I saw so instead I will talk about the highlights. The best part of the holiday by far was our evening on the steps at the top of Piazzale Michelangelo. It was one of those moments you read about in books. The sun was going down; the air was cool; there was a man playing classic songs on an acoustic guitar to an enraptured crowd; the view was spectacular. It felt magical to be there with some of my favourite people in the whole world, munching on our cheese and tomato baguettes from home. It’s definitely up there in the top five best evenings of my life.

The view from Piazzale Michelangelo, simply magnificent!

The view from Piazzale Michelangelo, simply magnificent!

The awesome dude who kept us entertained all evening!

The awesome dude who kept us entertained all evening!

Climbing nearly five hundred mismatched awkward steps up narrow paths and in dark conditions doesn’t sound great but the view at the top of the Duomo more than made up for it. You could see for miles around, even mountains in the distance and it was so bright up there that it was hard not to squint in all the pictures. The Boboli gardens also provided picturesque views with its fountains and paths roofed by trees. The sheer scale of the gardens was impressive and its famous path lined with sculptures and plants definitely lived up to expectations.

One of my favourite pictures I took on the trip! Look at that sky!

One of my favourite pictures I took on the trip! Look at that sky!

Dat view though!

Dat view though!

Here are some more pics from our trip!

Over and Out!

156. SET Awards

I thought I was done with my project; in fact I took great joy in destroying anything mildly related to it after I got my results. But then quite out of the blue, my supervisor suggested I enter it in the SET (Science, Engineering and Technology) competition. The fact that she even thought it was worth entering is a huge compliment for me. However it’s a European wide competition and getting to the next round is a complete long-shot.

For my entry I had to write a 2000 word synopsis of my project and really sell it. I’m not sure I’ve ever given the details of what I did here on my blog, but to summarise I analysed multiple choice questions and compared differences in performance between the males and females. I liked that it was about education and psychology and not just Mathematics. However condensing 60 pages of work into 2000 words in a coherent way whilst including all the main points was a real challenge. I thought I’d be able to copy and paste huge chunks but I ended up re-writing a lot of it to make it flow better.

It took me HOURS. And it took even longer to convince myself to get my head down and actually do it. I’m getting too used to lazing around.

My supervisor also has to write a supporting reference explaining how fantastic I am and how dedicated I was to my project and what a fabulous ambassador I am for my subject. lol, just lol.

  Over and Out!

153. Ten Things You Really Shouldn’t Say To Me After I’ve Just Completed My Degree

1. Oh- I didn’t even know you were at university.
What did you think I was doing for the last four years?

2. Mathematics- Isn’t that a boy-subject? What can you do with Maths?
1) Maths isn’t gender specific. 2) Plenty.

3. You got a First?! *surprised* I thought you didn’t specify because you only passed and were embarrassed.
-_-

4. Yes it’s all very well you can do this Maths-shaths but how are your rotis?
Edible.

5. Acha good, uni finished. When you getting married?
*sigh*

6. You know this degree paper means nothing till you find a good boy and settle down. Life isn’t complete without shaadi.
*sigh*

7. Did you meet anyone at uni? *suggestive look* You can tell me, I’m your Aunty.
*sigh*

8. Oh you’ve finished your degree. My daughter got married this year and she’s pregnant. She has a family.
Good to know.

9. Oh you have a job. Will you leave when you have children?
I haven’t even started my job yet. Gimme a chance.

10. Look at the girls these days. They all want to do the job-shob but can they run a home? No.
Thanks for the vote of confidence.

I am sad to say there is no embellishment in this post. In fact most of them are quoted directly. Aren’t people sensitive?

Ahh the plight of a brown girl!

 

Over and Out!

152. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

GUYS Guys guys! I got a FIRST! I GOT A FRIGGIN’ FIRST!

During these holidays I employed an avoidance tactic when it came to results. Of course that didn’t stop it popping into my head and making my stomach drop, but each time it did I made a quiet a prayer and pushed it out my mind. I refused to be that person sitting by their computer hitting refresh a hundred times. 

So where was I when I got my results? Tesco. My phone started blowing up. People were posting their results on Facebook and I was just standing in the vegetables aisle gripped by anxiety. I was with my parents at the time but I made a decision not to tell them in case they crashed the car on the way home in their haste. So I played it cool and wandered around the store for the next twenty minutes looking at toothpaste and pasta sauce. 

When I eventually made it home, I trudged up the stairs, turned on my computer and found my hands shaking. Why was I so nervous? Well last year, I was kinda disappointed by my results. I didn’t do as well as I wanted to so I worked my butt off this year to compensate for it. I just wasn’t sure whether I’d done enough. 

I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT when I saw that it said ‘First Class Honours’ next to the degree classification. I think I blinked several times just to check I wasn’t imagining it. I even asked Shakira if that meant a First because I seemed to have lost my handle on the English language.  

Even better I saw that I got a First in every module except one which was off by two marks. On top of that I got a First in my project/ dissertation which blew my mind. Hands down the best set of marks I have ever obtained at university. 

So basically I was standing in my room kinda overwhelmed and on the verge of tears (but I managed to hold it it together). The fun part was telling my parents. I crept downstairs and calmly announced my results. The next thing I know I’m being squished to a within an inch of my life by my mum and we were jumping up and down like crazy people. My dad was much more subdued though I’d say equally pleased. 

So yeh I am pretty darn happy right now and this grin I’m wearing ain’t going nowhere for a while. 

Over and Out!

151. The End of an Era

It been a few weeks since I finished uni for good, finished my full time education for good. Last year I wasn’t ready to leave. This year I am. I have loved Imperial College London. I have never been worked so hard, never had my brain fried so thoroughly, never taken such terrifying exams. At the same time, I have never been so proud of what I’ve achieved or learnt so much so quickly or loved the people around me so fiercely. These four years have been really special.

Despite still living at home, I have experienced independence in a way I had previously not known. My oyster card has been my gateway to London, with which I have mastered the underground. I could sleepwalk my way to Gloucester Road; in fact I probably have…9am lectures are rough.

Anyway I don’t want to gush. The pictures say it better than I could ever describe. *gets out tissues*

 

 

I made a video montage with many more pics which can be viewed here, if you wish to experience the full journey.

Over and Out!