Top 5 tips for returning to university as a mature student

Hi everyone, Paige here.

Some of you may have graduated from your undergraduate degree a few years ago, so may have some reservations about returning back to student life. I worked for four years before heading back to education and it was a bit of a shock to my system. Have no fear though! Returning to education is an incredibly rewarding experience. I had a think about my own personal experiences, and wanted to share them with you.

Here are a few of my main thoughts about how to succeed through this transition:

1) Stay on top of the readings week to week

I know it may be tempting to catch up later but the workload is steady. I have tried to treat my more flexible schedule just like a regular job, giving myself a schedule with allotted times for different classes, readings, work and meetings.

2) Take advantage of the connections

In the workplace, I found who you know makes a big difference. Networking opens up opportunities, now is the chance to use your connections!

3) Go to the extra seminars and talks

Much like the above statement, seminars and talks around London are a great way to develop your interests, network and meet like-minded professionals. Being a student at King’s gives you access to lots of exclusive events that the general public cannot attend.

4) Explore your interests

Academia allows you to personalise your schedule and study specific areas of interest, unlike work schedules. Take advantage of this time to find out what you like and develop a base of knowledge that can help propel you into the workforce after graduation.

 5) Enjoy this time!

It can be hard to settle back into a student life if you are accustomed to a different lifestyle but it goes by so quickly. Take advantage of the flexibility and opportunities presented while they’re still there!

The thought of returning to university as an adult can be nerve-racking, but the life skills you have gathered in the time since you last graduated will go a long way in helping you make the most out of your experience at King’s.

Best Wishes,

Paige- MA Bioethics & Society

Paige Fitzsimmons

 

Finding Accommodation in London, by Tina

Hello everyone, Tina here!

In order to get you started with your accommodation preparations, my blog is about different ways to approach searching for accommodation in London.

If you’re an international student it can be difficult sometimes to get an accurate impression of what to expect with your accommodation, therefore it is advisable to arrive in London a few weeks before the official beginning of your programme so you can take the time to attend viewings. After all, you want to find an apartment or flat share which really suits you and meet your potential flat mates before making the decision to live with them. I moved to London before the start of my programme, and I spent the first month at a friend’s place before I found a nice and affordable room in a flat share in North London through Spareroom. Personally, I have had very positive experiences with this website and can also recommend Zoopla, Gumtree and a few Facebook groups (for example, Looking for a room in London or KCL Masters & PhD Flat/House Share Group Finder, specifically for King’s students) to support your search. Students usually pay between £500 and £1200 a month in rent; the price varies depending on factors such as the travel zone, room size, number of flat mates, etc. It is also common for landlords to charge a non-refundable administration fee which normally ranges between £50 and £500.

If you have not yet been to London or do not know the city very well, you may want to have a look at this neighbourhood guide compiled by Airbnb which introduces the different areas, richly illustrated with pictures.

Moving into a King’s residence is also very popular with students as it saves you from finding private accommodation. King’s currently offers accommodation in central London (zones 1 and 2), many of them are within walking distance from King’s campuses. The accommodation webpage is a really useful source of information as it includes pictures of all residences, information on prices and the application procedure. Also, the King’s ResiLife blog gives insight into various activities taking place at the different residences.

I hope this information helps when it comes to researching accommodation options!

Best Wishes,

Tina, MSc International Marketing

Tina SchmechelT

Perfect places to enjoy the sunshine near campus!

Hi Everyone, Hannah here!

This is a little photo blog with some ideas for lovely places to sit in the sun within 5 minutes of Strand campus. This week’s weather was great inspiration, roll on summer!

1) Somerset House Courtyard. Take a seat here with an iced coffee from Fernandez & Wells!

Places in the Sun- Somerset House

2) The Victoria Embankment with a lovely view of the Thames and the London Eye.

Places in the Sun- Victoria Embankment

3) Fountain Court Chambers.  A tranquil spot hidden away seconds from the Strand!

Places in the Sun- Fountain Court Chambers

4)The terrace, at the King’s building with great views of the city!

Place in the Sun- King's Terrace

Hope you enjoyed the pictures!

Best  Wishes,

Hannah, MSc Climate Change

Hannah

4 Tips on networking as a postgraduate student at King’s

Hi, Hannah here.

As a continuation of my interview with Fiona Richardson (SSPP careers consultant), I asked how to make the most of networking whilst being a postgraduate student. Networking is a fantastic way to improve your career prospects, Fiona gave me these four great tips to share with everyone…

1. Use the King’s networks

Your department will hold many events throughout the year, attending these is a great way to make new contacts. King’s Careers and Employability also run a lot of events which are great for networking- these are particularly good for meeting potential employers. Finally, don’t be afraid to speak to people in your academic community, be that your personal tutor, lecturers or other students. They could have really valuable connections that they would be more than happy to share with you.

2.  Use Online Networks

LinkedIn is great for finding the kind of people you would like to network with. You could find alumni that are working in a sector you’re interested in, and ask them about their career progression, or stay connected with students and staff on your course, they may have backgrounds relevant to your work interests.

The careers service can offer you support with setting up your LinkedIn account and helping to make sure you are getting the most out of your profile.

3. Pitching your Approach

Most people you meet when networking will be willing to help you in some way. However you must be mindful of what you expect from them and pitch your approach appropriately.

It’s likely that someone may offer you advice about the industry they work in and how they got to be in their current position. You should not walk up to someone at a networking event and ask them for an internship.

4. Do your Research!

This point is vitally important if you want to gain valuable information from networking and not embarrass yourself. Read about who is going to be at the event by looking them up online, and make sure you know who they work for. The last thing you want to do is ask them a question that you could easily find the answer to online- this is a waste of your time and theirs.

Blog - Hannah March

Best Wishes,

Hannah

5 Ways King’s Careers & Employability can support you

I spoke to Fiona Richardson, the careers consultant for Social Science and Public Policy (SSPP). She gave me these 5 tips on how postgraduate students can make the most of the careers service at King’s…

  1. Tailored Careers Events

Your faculty and department will hold tailored careers events based around the kind of jobs, internships and volunteering opportunities students in your area of study are likely to be interested in. These events include sector insights, talks from professionals, employability skills, job hunting workshops and more.

  1. One to One Guidance

Each faculty has its own specialist consultant (like Fiona for SSPP). It is great to arrange a meeting with a consultant to discuss your career progression and get personalised help. You can get an idea of the current King’s Careers consulting team here!

  1. Accessing Internships

Careers can help with making you aware of the internships available, what may be suitable for you and help with applications. There are 3 main internship pathways available at King’s. You can find out more through the links below:

  1. Application & Interview Support

The careers service offer meetings with application advisors to support you personally with any applications you are undertaking. They also offer mock interviews to put you through your paces and make sure you’re prepared for the real thing!

  1. Alumni Mentoring

Alumni are invited to King’s through faculty and department programmes so that current students can meet them. They even hold alumni speed meet events to help you broaden your network.

Through King’s Connect the careers service runs a scheme that allows you to be matched to a suitable alumni. They then mentor you to help with your career progression.

5 ways Careers & Employability can help you- PG

 

Hello Postgraduate Offer Holders!

Hi Hannah here,

I’m a full time ClimaHannahte Change: Environment, Science and Policy MSc student in the Department of Geography. I would like to wish you many congratulations on your offer to study at King’s College London, something to be really proud of!

In the course of the next few weeks you will be hearing from me and other students from the Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy with information about life at King’s, our own  postgraduate experiences and what it’s like to live in London.

Next month we are launching a buddy programme where you will receive emails from us, have the chance to chat with us over virtual fairs, and can follow our blog posts. We hope that we can be a helpful resource to you while you prepare to study at postgraduate level.

If you have any questions feel free to send them our way, we’d love to hear from you! In the meantime, stay tuned to see more blog posts from us soon.

Surviving the dissertation period by Matt

It’s dissertation time. I have exactly five weeks (and counting) left until I hand in my dissertation. I have approximately 9,000 words completed and am starting to feel ‘the fear’ creeping in. Right now I’m in the super-efficient stage of the fear, feeling very focused and spending the majority of my spare time in the library. The battle is to keep from teetering over into panic and doubt – it’s about focus, perseverance and determination. It’s also really important to not put too much pressure on yourself, as well as look after yourself so that you’re healthy and happy.

I am confident that if I keep up an even pace, I will not slip into that all-too-familiar trap. So far I’m enjoying my work – I have never been so immersed in a topic – and believe this is the key to an enjoyable dissertation period. One of the biggest challenges for me has been keeping a narrow focus on my research question, and not drifting off into interesting, yet irrelevant, territory.

Starting the research early has been crucial. As a part-time student studying a master’s over two years, I have had plenty of time to think about my topic. However, recently I’ve had to do a lot of juggling as I have been working full time for the last two months – three days a week paid work for a charity and two days a week work experience for an MP – so I mainly study in the evenings and weekends. Although this has been difficult at times, I have had no regrets. Combining study and work experience will hopefully ease the job search following the dissertation hand-in.

I started researching for my dissertation in April before the exam period started, allowing myself a month off for revision and an additional week to recover. Clearly defining when and what I would be studying has helped me to keep focused. I also try and plan social events a week or so in advance so I can manage my study timetable accordingly. This may sound a little tedious but studying for a master’s is a great opportunity and it’s important to make the most of it.

As the hours and days go by, I have a building sense of both nervousness and excitement. It feels like there’s still a way to go, but I’m determined to do the best I can. I’m looking forward to handing in a piece of work I’m proud of, and then I will be more than ready to celebrate.

Balance and planning your dissertation by Mian

Mian photoI am a student pursuing an MA in Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages. My dissertation is a questionnaire-based study, which means it will take a lot of time to design, hand out, collect my data, and analyse it. I prepared my questionnaire design in April and used the entire month of May to collect data from my participants. At the same time, I was studying the third-term modules and doing the assignments for each class. Following the third term, I travelled to Norway in order to clear my mind and relax; it is important to approach the dissertation with a level head. Currently, I am analysing my research data and writing my dissertation. Overall a well-planned schedule is really useful for a smooth dissertation period, and may help you avoid suffering to complete your work too close to the deadline! :D

Dissertation and the British Summer Time by Shayda

Hey everyone!

Today’s entry is about staying balanced, while maintaining focus, during the dissertation period. This discussion couldn’t be more fitting for this time of year: we’re in mid-July now, which means there’s only a month and a half to go! Summertime in London creates an interesting predicament for MA students who need to stay atop our research, while also enjoying the rarity of a sunny afternoon.

In the dissertation period I’ve realised that it’s very easy to dip in and out of productivity, and unfortunately I’ve experienced it firsthand.  I had a strong couple of weeks researching in the middle of June but, rather than keeping up the momentum, I found myself neglecting my responsibilities as I subconsciously felt justified in taking a long break. The problem for me is that I also work full-time. I had a pretty big reality check last week as I noted my August rota and came to realise how little time I have left before my dissertation is due.

The million pound question is then how do we successfully balance work and study? First and foremost, be honest with yourself and your capabilities. If you’re planning to be employed during dissertation time it’s important for you to make yourself a realistic research schedule. Outside of my “relaxation period” I’ve made weekly goals of either reaching a specific word count or finishing a subsection. I try not to push myself too far and make individual goals catered around what my life is like each week, as I feel it’s important to avoid feeling discouraged by failure of not achieving those goals.

The second important thing is to make some time for your friends. Yes, they will be there when you finish, and yes there will be social events after your dissertation deadline, but it’s important to stay sane during this intense period. Reward yourself for meeting your goals by allowing yourself a cheeky day or night out with your friends to unwind and give your brain a break. As it stands, I research after work and typically allocate all of my days off work to research as well, but give myself one to two nights a week after work to socialise. I have found this to be the best way of maintaining research alongside employment and friends (assuming I make the most out of my days off)!

Staying balanced during the dissertation period by Ingvild

Ing photoWhile writing your master’s dissertation at King’s (and almost every other university in the U.K.), everyone else is enjoying their summer holiday on vacation or doing other things to enjoy their break from school or work. Therefore, I have discovered some things to help me keep motivated and efficient throughout the dissertation period. Here are my tips:

  • Organize: From the very beginning of your dissertation period after the examination period in May, start to plan your summer. Maybe divide the time before the dissertation deadline into different parts with specific goals for each chunk of time. This will all help you to keep the bigger picture in mind, and help you structure your days. It will also keep you calm, because you are following a track you know will end with you being done.
  • Break: Take a break after the examination period, even if it is just a few days; it will make the transition to writing your dissertation much easier. It will also help your mind prepare to produce your best work yet, all during one summer. And, after the exams, you deserve a break from school!
  • Plan the fun: Plan fun activities all throughout the summer, so you always have something to look forward to. This helps to keep motivated and efficient when you are working.
  • Study together: the library is significantly emptier in the summer months than during the year. As a result, it can feel quite lonely and demotivating to study alone each day. Therefore, I choose to often go with friends to the library, so we can have break together and talk about things that do not involve the dissertation or school at all.

 

-Ing