MPH Student Blog - Noor
Noor Alabdulbaqi (MPH student)
Choosing which university to join for my Master’s degree was tough. I am indecisive even when confronted with a simple six dish food menu, let alone picking where I will be spending the next year. After the first day of induction week at Imperial, I knew I made a great decision. After all, it is important to remember that it’s not about making the right decision, but about making the decision right. We were given an overview of the MSc and I was already smiling in my seat. It’s one thing reading a prospectus PDF on your laptop and another hearing what you will be learning, with whom and by whom it will be delivered. Yes, the overview was followed by a maths test. A maths test on the first day does initially strip a few degrees of excitement from that ‘first day of school’ feeling, but the excitement was completely restored after. We prepared for this test during the summer via an online course where we were also given the chance to interact with future fellow classmates. Meeting my nationally diverse classmates was fun. The upside is that they were all friendly and talkative from the start. The downside is that I am not that great with names. All in all, it was a great first day.
The rest of induction week was filled with sessions and activities, but I’ll give you the highlights. We met a few students from the previous year cohort. They happily answered all of my tedious and important questions. It seems as though everyone who does this course is friendly and easy to talk to. I deduce this pattern will continue for those of you who are considering joining the course at another year. Another highlight is visiting the Alexander Fleming Museum and gaining a few bragging rights for studying 20 seconds away from the exact place where penicillin was discovered. Later in the week, my indecisive ways were only highlighted at the Fresher’s Fair where there was a choice of 340+ societies and clubs. Everything from athletics to lego building.
The academic term started and what seemed like a hectic schedule, fast became just routine. The schedule definitely has its perks. We start at 9:30 most days, which helps me avoid becoming a canned sardine during the morning tube rush hour. It important to note that the nature of the course requires self-motivation and independent learning. The two will naturally come into play if you are curious and passionate about Public Health. One of the four modules I am taking this term is especially good at weekly reaffirming my love for Public Health. More about this next time.
Fun fact of the post: 1 billion people still practice open defecation.
(Fun fact of the post will feature a bizarre or noteworthy fact that I recently learnt at lectures)
Blog Post 2
We did it! We have just completed Exam Paper 1, which was a 3-hour exam covering the first term. Now that the clock ticks a little slower, I thought I’d give you some miscellaneous tips on how to make the most out of living in London as an Imperial Master’s student:
* Attend talks at different London universities, but also keep an eye out for those taking place at Imperial. A recent one held here was titled, “Can we feed the world sustainably?”
* If the timing of these talks is not suitable for your busy schedule, don't fret. Many universities provide podcast recordings or videos of these talks (the one mentioned above can be found on YouTube, if interested).
* Join a society and commit.
* Try new food. London is notorious for the variety of food available. My friends and I like to have a cultural food swap where we introduce each other to our favourite cultural dishes.
* Work hard and keep up with lecture material, but also try not to neglect your social life. Form and cultivate new friendships.
* Go on day or weekend trips that are held and organised by Imperial. Stonehenge is one of many popular destinations.
* Volunteer. Many opportunities can be found on the Union website, from participating in food drives to becoming a museum guides.
* Don't be afraid to ask for help whether it is regarding lecture material, emotional or financial support. Make use of the many facilities provided.
* On taking advantage of the facilities, do release some endorphins at the Imperial gyms and swimming pools.
* Attend professional skill courses held by the university on free Wednesday afternoons. These include cultivating your negotiating skills, academic write and more.
* Network. Engage with your lecturers and visiting speakers. Write a blog. Talk about e-health electronically with academics on Twitter if you’d like.
* If you plan to peruse a PhD following the course, keep an eye for different application openings and deadlines preferably during the summer prior to joining and first term of the Master’s. Ask the PhD consular for help.
* Perhaps most fittingly and importantly, stay healthy. Take care of yourself throughout the year, especially during flu-season.
I hope you pickup a few of these tips during your time at Imperial. I will share more tips in the future about my learning experience and studying techniques during the MPH.
Fun fact of the post: It is projected that unipolar depressive disorders will be the number one leading cause of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) by 2030.