124 weeks at Imperial College London cost me (or more accurately my parents) £4450 in tuition fees and left me with over £16,000 of student debt - despite over 1,500 hours of paid employment in the Students' Union.
My cupboards are bursting with 33 ring binders and 10 lab books full of lectures notes and coursework from 823 hours of lectures and 626 hours of labs. I managed to only buy 4 text books, but I borrowed about 60 others from the library.
Worst of all, I spent 57 hours in the exam hall.
On the political side of things, I'll always remember the fact that I was at university at the time when Top-Up Tuition Fees reappeared on the political scene. I'll remember that I was at the "world class institution" whose Rector was spearheading the campaign in their favour. And, despite a uncharacteristically high profile campaign by ICU, I still remember where I was when the vote came in.
The top-up fees issue may have got the better of the merger plan, but undeterred, the College decided to rebrand instead. Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine became Imperial College London (no comma) and the new brand was born.
A week is long time in politics and, unsurprisingly, these issues have drifted off into history. The college is left with a new logo and a couple of strange looking new buildings [|http://live.cgcu.net/news/?id=151], [|http://live.cgcu.net/news/?id=926]. Indeed, if new buildings are proportional to controversy then there must be a coup d'etat brewing in College given the construction work currently underway [|http://www.imperial.ac.uk/sports/centre/index.htm], [|http://live.cgcu.net/news/?id=1028!]
Yes, four years at Imperial College has seen some frivolity.
And the Union always did its best to match the controversy. Naughty presidents [|http://live.cgcu.net/news/?id=584], [|http://live.cgcu.net/news/?id=610], [|http://live.cgcu.net/news/?id=934], [|http://live.cgcu.net/news/?id=1062], [|http://live.cgcu.net/news/?id=1074], taking control of the Reynolds Bar and then relinquishing it, employing Permanent Secretaries and then "letting them go, losing thousands in summer balls and holding annual farcical elections [|http://live.cgcu.net/news/?id=106], [|http://live.cgcu.net/news/?id=377], [|http://live.cgcu.net/news/?id=641], [|http://live.cgcu.net/news/?id=856], [|http://live.cgcu.net/news/?id=1056].
There really is nothing as petty as student politics. And, fittingly, the Union now has plans for its own building too!
But after the amazing dance that Imperial College has led me, I'm left standing somewhat breathless, dazed and confused. I don't exactly know what I'm supposed to do now. Maybe I'll find my direction sometime soon, maybe I won't. When I attend Commemoration Day at the end of October I'll look back warmly on my time here and smile, perhaps a little wryly, at the "quality" of my degree certificate.