I’m halfway into my second year and currently loving it. Yet, I cannot help but be nostalgic about last year. My first year at King’s was many things: fun, chaotic, but above all, over before I knew it. Here are a just few major things that I learned:
1. You will make friends from all over
As a languages student, I had a group of amazing people just handed to me. We were – fortunately – stuck together in small-sized classes, and could not help but bond through our linguistic struggles.
This is often the case with courses where tutorials/seminars are small, however, if you find yourself in a lecture theatre with 100 other students, do not fear.
2. Joining a society or club really is a fantastic way to meet people.
Last year, I joined KCL Taekwondo and took part in a department production of a Spanish play; I have met so many great people as a result. If you have a popular interest, we probably have a society for it (listed on our KCLSU website).
I’m always struck by the sheer diversity of backgrounds and life experience of the people that I have met here. It’s one of the best things about King’s.
The classic ‘freshers friends’ trope is not something that I experienced, but it is certainly true that my friendship group lost some and gained others as the year went by. In the end, I have made great friends from various parts of my uni life (course, halls, clubs) and from all over the world!
3. You can have a great, but cheap, time in London
London costs put many people off. However, if you know where to look, there is so much on offer that is cheap. Some of the best times that I had last year included going to Sky Garden, an over-18s night at the Science Museum and a KCL boat tour of the Thames. All were completely free.
If you keep an eye out then it is surprisingly very easy to find exciting things to do that won’t cost you much, allowing you to save for the bigger events that are worth the spend.
4. It’s ok to stay in sometimes…and it’s also perfectly ok to go out
I can honestly say that I found a good balance in all of this, and that frankly, first year is to be enjoyed. I believe that university is about having new experiences and personal development as much as it is about pursuing your chosen discipline.
Learning to organise yourself can be pretty jarring for many, as it was for myself, but it’s important to make the most of uni social life while doing your best. After all, at some point you may want to apply to internships and/or study abroad – first year grades are usually factored into these applications.
Just remember that everyone will suddenly have to navigate this newly important work/leisure balance, and that we all find it eventually. Your first year will likely be your first time with this much independence, and for many, your first time somewhere as dynamic and alive as London. So, make some fantastic memories while putting yourself in good stead for the years to come.
Most of all – enjoy yourself, and good luck.