A walk in Kensington Gardens

David Tyoember (Chemistry undergraduate) finds the perfect getaway.

"As founder of Imperial’s first Rap Society, you might think the peace and quiet of the flower walk in Kensington Gardens is the last place I’d like to be. But the solitude is often just what I need, and having such a beautiful place on my doorstep helps me to make the most of my Imperial experience.

David Tyoember in Kensington Gardens

Sometimes I’ll just walk and take in the scenery, but often I’ll sit on a bench and listen to audiobooks for hours – it’s a place that helps me think. You won’t ever find me here with chemistry books; it’s not somewhere I come to study. Chemistry is an intense degree, so this is the perfect chance to get away and clear my head.

Often the weather is better in the afternoons, which is when you might find me listening to podcasts and audiobooks. My playlist is mostly non-fiction – recently I’ve been fascinated to learn more about social mobility. It’s a topic close to my heart because of my own experiences. I came to Imperial from a south-east London state school and neither of my parents went to university – I’ve had to learn a lot to be able to capitalise on the opportunities at Imperial, and I want to help others going through similar experiences.

Kensington Gardens is also a good place to plan all the extracurricular stuff I’m involved in. Imperial has provided so many opportunities. I’ve been president of the Investment Society and now I’m focusing on music and leading the Rap Society.

And I’m also recording a series of podcasts – interviews with Black men who are pursuing a career in financial services. My aim is to help dispel “impostor syndrome” through increasing visibility, giving students an insight into various roles, and inspiring people who might feel too intimidated to enter the sector. After all, I’m the guy who stood outside a tube station with a sign reading: “Seeking work experience in the asset management sector. Ask for my CV. It’s not where I’m coming from, it’s where I’m going.” I learned many things about the finance sector from colleagues during my resulting year of internships in the asset management sector, and I hope this series will help more students access insights along those lines.

I’m a sociable person but I do like the solitude of the park, and this walk in particular. Although it’s just across the road from the Royal Albert Hall, it’s always quiet and I can be in my own world. Perfect."

Interview: Helena Pozniak / Photography: Joe McGorty