The last stretch

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I can finally see what my table looks like. It had been a long time since I took a look at its scratchy, stained surface. Papers, mugs, books and the rest of what constituted my life in the past fifteen plus days had cluttered it, to the point where I had to excuse myself to make space for more clutter. Enough with the depressing picture, you get it. This is what the final weeks of the term looks like and why I don’t have any Christmas pictures for you.

I do have to say though, that this essay writing period gets better each term. If I may do a little sports (or army?) analogy, it requires not only discipline and motivation, but training. Conditioning is key, as with each period, you will let out less sweat, frustration and tears (the last one hopefully never). I’ve also come to realize the sheer amount of knowledge I have stored in my brain in the past year. It gives me utter joy and satisfaction to have a thorough map of the Cold War – dates, people, places, you name it. I can also weave the information I got from different modules so I have a bigger, better picture of things – talk about contextualization.

This also happens to be the time of the year where institutions and organizations ‘wrap up’ their yearly activities. Here is a picture of the volunteer researchers at the Disability Rights UK, discussing the progress we’ve made so far with our findings. I had been looking for a research position for quite some time and luckily, I’ve found a something that I can also incorporate my passion for charity. The project I’m working on is on the Human Rights Act in the UK that has taken centre stage with the Tories’ proposal to scrap it. Before the year closes though, I’d like to speak a bit about the career aspect of the degree.

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Let’s start from the bottom: You need some kind of an experience before you apply for any job/volunteer position/internship. This is where the imagination can go wild –without setting off for that magic short cut to your dream job, try and gather experience and further your skills by volunteering or doing an internship. Fiona from Careers services has a regularly updated blog that features internship and job opportunities. Also, keep an eye on your emails as you’ll be getting plenty of notifications for positions in fields related to War Studies.

I volunteer for Citizens UK, where I go to a primary school with a group of King’s students to work on an after school project with the students there (I was notified by King’s regarding this opportunity!). They are lovely kids but not always receptive, so I have reached a different level with my communication skills. There are plenty of ways to get involved in King’s as well. Widening Participation is a fantastic department that has plenty of available paid positions. Doing campus tours, mentoring sixth form students and participating in open days are all jobs offered by the department and a great way to gain working experience within the university.

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

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A little extracurricular

I am quite excited to be writing this week’s post because it’s all about the fun and there’s a lot to cover, so let’s break it down.

Societies: First year (or every year, if you wish) opens with Freshers’ Fair which fills up the Barbican Centre for two full days. Here, you get a chance to meet all teams and societies. ‘Society’ has a sorority/fraternity kind of ring to some internationals, but I can assure you they are the opposite of exclusive. You can sign up for everything (it’s encouraged) and although some societies (sports and others that work with equipment) require a membership fee, the first couple weeks are usually free for trial. War Studies has its own society, so I advise you to become a part of it. If you want to improve your CV or are simply interested, Debate and MUN might be for you. You can also engage with societies on a purely fun level like I do, but all in all, societies may be the best way to get involved and interact with those you have a common interest with.

Events: No matter what you’re studying, you can always get more out of King’s besides your lectures. I was almost disoriented in my first year when I came across the discussions and talks happening at King’s on a variety of subjects from arts and religion to politics and security, and many more that I don’t even know yet. These events mostly take place after university hours and attendance for some is so great that you may need to book a place or make sure you’re there a bit early to grab a seat. They’re also a great way to network, especially in your second and third years. There’s almost always a chance to chat with the speakers (sometimes over wine) to introduce yourself and get their contact details. Making these connections may come incredibly handy when you’re applying for internships and jobs.

London: This city is a real gem no matter what your interests are. Most people complain that it’s a wallet-draining city but I disagree: a bit of exploring and avoiding the rookie traps, and you can easily live on a budget and still make the best of London. Culture-wise, London is the most student-friendly city I’ve seen. Most museums are free (as well as galleries) and you can get cheap theatre tickets off West End and movie tickets outside the centre (Monday and Tuesday are your friends). You will learn the most by walking so try and avoid buying a monthly Oyster plan for a little while and explore the streets around your accommodation and campus. If it’s your first time in London, join a free walking tour that will take you to London’s landmark spots (a friend of mine had a Shakespeare actor as his guide).