It’s my second of year of War Studies at King’s, and I have to say, it’s all busier than ever – in a really good way. It’s as if, suddenly, London has more to offer, King’s has more societies and events. First year had gone in a split second, now it seems second year will be even more ruthless in how fast it goes.
Let me first talk about my experiences in first year: frankly speaking, War Studies is a demanding course. Readings flow like a river each week and I re-question the capacity of my brain to absorb the amount of information needs to each week. Under all the books and online articles though, appears this untapped potential, having waited all this time to emerge. That’s what university is about to me, not merely the lectures and the essays but the opportunity to tap into this potential, challenge yourself and explore all your interests. It may be exhausting at times, but at the end of the day, it is truly a rewarding experience.
All first year War Studies modules are compulsory (joint honours students have more flexibility though). While that might sound annoying at first, it all builds up so that you have the foundations for second year. Moreover, you would be surprised to see what might actually interest you! I was initially not the slightest bit interested in this module called the Experience of War. For me, I was more interested in the historical aspect of war, and this whole experience thing sounded too far from the big picture, the context, the heavy stuff. It was probably the second class that burst my preconceptions bubble. The lecturer, Dr Stephen Weiss, is a Second World War veteran and a man of great intellect and productivity. On top of military experience, he has additional experience in psychotherapy and Hollywood film-making. This roundedness showed, and made his lectures all the more interesting and compelling.This micro aspect of war, has contributed to the big picture I was so after. In fact, this course completed the missing puzzle pieces of the big pictures, as one might lose sight of the soldier, the one who’s doing the actual fighting, in the midst of all the politics and history.
For my second year, I had the choice to pick all my modules and my first experience told me to go for variety and explore a bit more. So I’m taking Intelligence, alongside International Law, Human Rights and Intervention. If you really want to explore more, you should take a look at the external modules you can take within any university from the University of London group, which includes some of the best universities in the country. This is one of the benefits of being in London, taking advantage of the synergy between different institutions ande xpanding your horizons. Luckily King’s College allows students to do that depending on on your course.