In brief...

I'm a Nature-lover, aspiring conservationist, and wannabe traveller in search of outdoor adventure.
My interests vary from conservation to education to heritage to Nature (biodiversity & wildlife) to outdoor activities to life in general.
They occupy most of my waking moment.
Do read my blogs, follow me on Twitter (@jocelynesze) and friend me on Facebook (subject to my discretion). Visit my Nature blog, Nature Rambles, at

UPDATE 2 Apr 2017 - This site is no longer maintained, please visit if you're interested in more recent writing.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Starting life as a graduate student

Right in the middle of the first week of my MRes in Ecosystem and Environmental Change at Imperial College London now, and it's still kind of a honeymoon transition period. Despite London being in the name, I'm not actually based in London (please don't ask to come and visit, there is absolutely nothing here to do), but in between Ascot and Sunningdale. It's a pretty and nice, quiet place to be, but it's also far from the nearest train station and shops (30 minutes walk), and the trains to London are slow (1 hour).

My main gripe at the moment though, is that it's far from any climbing centre. I seem to have a knack for choosing terrible places to study (from a climber's perspective). Cambridge with it's one and only tiny bouldering gym, but at least it had a pretty awesome mountaineering club, and now Imperial's Silwood Campus which is at least a 30 mins drive to the nearest climbing centre (Craggy Island) and with about 100 students, little hope of forming a vibrant climbing club. Especially given that I can't drive/don't have a car anyway, unless I find other keen climbers it's not looking likely.

Work-wise it's still a pretty gentle start, for my course at least. Just about 7 of us in it for this intake, but for our lectures we're mixed and matched with other courses, and so far it's just introductory ecology, evolution and conservation. As our lecturer said, it's like an undergraduate course in that, but in a week. Not envying students from other backgrounds (physics, math, psychology) who have all that reading up to do.

I'm having to cook all my meals now for myself, though there is the refectory if I want to slack off on breakfast or lunch. Isn't too much of a problem for now, though perhaps at some point I'll get bored of my own cooking (cos I'm not into fancy cooking, plus Tesco the supermarket is too far to decide to whip something up on a whim).

I am undeniably missing Cambridge, for its convenience, pretty buildings, quaint/weird practices, and most of all the people. But wells fresh start here I guess (and having to make friends and do small talk again). Though not really when there are a smattering of people from Cambridge here as well. I am for now, still the only Singaporean around.

It's also been drizzling most miserably since Monday morning, and it's finally stopped. Gonna go for a wander (the only thing that is available as a free and convenient past time, unless you like pressing weights in the gym) while there's still light, though we did cover most of the grounds during our treasure hunt on Monday in the pouring rain.

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