by Rufeida Alhatimy
This post is part of The LION Series from the Freshers’ Magazine Takeover. Each post this week features a snippet from an article in The LION Magazine 2020/21 Issue 1.
The LION magazine is written by third-year King’s students, all of whom have recently completed their BA English degrees.
The magazine helps first-year students in the English Department transition into university life.
This article is by Rufeida, a third year, soon-to-be English BA graduate who is invested in community building and in the education sphere as our miniature society.
University has always been presented as the place to be, and I was told that the years spent at university were going to be the best years of my life. This was all true, and I definitely did enjoy my time at uni once I had properly settled down. However, one thing that I wish I was told before starting, was that things can get difficult and there are hurdles that get in the way. For the first few weeks of uni, I was under the illusion that I was the only one that was lost, confused, too small and too young for the great maze of the Strand building. This was far from the truth. The more people I spoke to, the more I realised that most of us were in the same boat of confusion, attempting to navigate our way through the turbulent waves- ok, things weren’t as dramatic as I’ve just made them out to be, but what I’m trying to say is that there are collective struggles and everyone faces their own unique struggles. You are not alone.
Having joined various societies as a fresher, I was personally very lucky to develop friendships with a few senior students, some of whom were doing my course. The relationships I had developed with people were like multiple lifelines for me and enabled me to see how invaluable our support for each other is. Whenever I needed clarification, some sort of stress relief, or had any questions, I knew that I would always have an experienced older sibling to go to.
My appreciation for the support that I had received in my first year, motivated me to get involved in a number of welfare and mentoring initiatives provided both within societies and the college itself. For example, through the Islamic Society, I acquired the opportunity to be a mentor for a small number of first year students studying English and received welfare training from the society’s welfare team that enabled me to develop closer connections and be a point of call for first years. My advice to anyone is to not underestimate how much help you can get from your own peers, and how much help you can be to others. Speaking to the older students who have been in your position and know how daunting the first weeks are can really put your heart at ease. Some of the people you meet might even be trained to provide welfare support and are practiced listeners. partaking various peer support roles.
Throughout King’s, there are various resources for those who find it easier to seek support from peers. For example, there are Campus Conversations hosted by the Student Success department where you can get peered up with an older student from your own faculty. This initiative is focused on community building and enables you to connect with other students across departments. KCLSU also has an outreach officer who can pair you up with a buddy from within your course and shares similar interests who you can go to for support, attend events with and maybe even befriend for life.
Alongside all the peer-support focused resources, there are various means of getting the support you need in the environment that is most suited to you. For example, you immediately have the unsung heroes of the English department office, your inspirational personal tutors, and year heads who are always happy to help you. External to the department, you can seek confidential support from the chaplaincy, Student Union advice team, student services, counselling services and access many more resources to support you with your studies and wellbeing throughout your time as a King’s student.
Blog posts on King’s English represent the views of the individual authors and neither those of the English Department, the LION Magazine and its editor, nor of King’s College London.
You may also like to read other articles from the LION series: