The LION Series 7: Carving Your Own Path, or, Guidance for Students from Underrepresented Groups at King’s

By Rehma H

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.

I remember feeling like a fish out of water when I first entered university, unsure of where I would fit in or how I would adjust to the new and challenging environment. Despite being extremely excited to embark on this new journey, I couldn’t help but feel slightly out of place especially when I looked around and found it hard to see myself reflected in the student body or faculty. It’s common to feel a sense of imposter syndrome when first joining university but it’s so important to realise that this feeling of doubt can be overcome. Imposter syndrome is the phenomenon of feeling unworthy of your success or place in a certain space, namely at university, and it has been suggested that it is a more common experience for students from underrepresented groups.1 Being a state-school educated, first generation black student I certainly felt a sense of imposter syndrome during my first year at King’s.

However, I found various resources and support systems at King’s to help overcome this feeling of being an imposter. An integral part of getting past this roadblock is creating a support network around you throughout your university journey (even if that does mean a virtual community) by getting involved in societies, student networks and seeking advice from the various resources the university has available.

Widening Participation

Before joining university, I was a part of King’s K+ programme which was a widening participation scheme that allowed sixth form students to experience academic workshops and events at King’s. So, when I eventually started studying at King’s, becoming a widening participation ambassador to guide other students from similar backgrounds seemed like a natural progression. A Widening participation ambassador is a paid role in assisting the Widening Participation & Student Success Division in the various projects they run throughout the year. I finally became a student success ambassador in my third year, and I was provided with the irreplaceable opportunity to meet like-minded people and find a network of friends from across years and departments. With the Widening Participation & Student Success Division also moving to deliver programmes online it would be a great way to feel like a part of the King’s community and meet other students from the university whilst still at home. Becoming an ambassador also means that you can work with schools in the surrounding area which provides the possibility to discover the surrounding areas of London whilst working for the university.

The First Generation Network was created by first generation university students for other first generation students. Knowing the unique struggles faced by students who are the first people in the family to go to university, this network provides a safe space for first generation students to discuss the unique challenges and experiences they encounter and create solutions to help remedy those problems. Created by former third year English BA student Rufeida Alhatimy, the First Generation Network continues to grow and develop. Joining the network within your first year of university could be a fulfilling way to see the impact you can have as part of this growing network in establishing a more welcoming environment for other first-generation students in the future.

Although joining Kings might initially feel quite daunting it is important to remember there is a wide range of help available at King’s and several support systems put in place for students who may be struggling or feel isolated for different reasons. My final piece of advice would be to familiarise yourself with the strands of support available within the English Department and King’s more widely and to ask for help or assistance when you feel that you need it.

1. Richard Harrison,3 Tips to Manage “Imposter Syndrome”’,  <>, [Accessed: 16-09-20].

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: