This month’s blog is on the theme of ‘Life at King’s’. Below are 10 questions that may be on your minds as prospective students. We’ve tried to cover the major topics like accommodation, career prospects, nightlife and course advice. If there is anything you think we may have forgotten, or a burning question that’s still not been answered, make sure to join our online Q&As on the IoPPN 2017 Offer Holders Facebook page.
Hopefully these tales from our time at King’s will both inform and excite you about starting in September!
Tamsin & Sarah
- Do I need to do any work before I start?
This most definitely depends on your course. Most courses will send out reading lists nearer to September, which usually contain a list of resources and papers that will help introduce you to the different modules on your course. Unless stated otherwise, this ‘suggested reading’ is optional. I (Sarah) didn’t do any of the suggested reading because I was working all summer and then spent the weeks before term settling into King’s and the IoPPN and getting on with administrative stuff like registering with a GP and getting my student card. So in short, no, you most likely won’t have to do any substantial work before you start. However, I would highly recommend once student registration is open, that you register and set up your King’s email address because your course administrator will email important information the weeks leading up to the start of term.
- Is there an active postgraduate community?
Of course! If the offer holder’s page on Facebook is anything to go by, the postgraduate community at King’s is an exciting mixture of students from diverse backgrounds at different stages of their academic career. This makes for a fun collection of people to mix and socialise with, whether that’s on a course level – most courses have end of term social events, full of free food and drink, or on a wider postgraduate level – the student union (KCLSU) puts on lots of events and workshops aimed at just postgraduates. There are postgraduate fresher’s events, or seasonal balls and other mixer events to get to know postgraduates around King’s.
- What are my job and career prospects as a King’s graduate?
King’s College London is a widely respected university, that tops lots of the university leader boards. We’re even luckier to be studying at the IoPPN which is a world renowned institute in the area of psychiatry, neuroscience and psychology, 2nd only to Harvard! This means job opportunities and career prospects are plenty for students here, and the careers service helps you find the opportunities for you.
Personally, I am yet to use the career services, but I am inundated with emails of job opportunities at the IoPPN. Whether that’s opportunities to further your research skills and experience, or student ambassador roles or exam invigilator jobs, there’s a lot of opportunity to gain part time work. Even better, being at the IoPPN means there are a lot of research projects looking for paid volunteers – nothing better than earner £15 over your lunch break (and contributing to research)!
- The IoPPN/Denmark Hill campus is not as central as the other KCL campuses, are we a bit excluded from KCL life?
A lot of students worry about the location of the Denmark Hill Campus as it is in South London, but I honestly wouldn’t consider this a disadvantage. South London is definitely a fun place to be, places like Brixton and Peckham are good places to go out and the nightlife is pretty fun. South London has amazing places to eat that are usually cheaper than eateries you’ll find north of the river! So you may find that friends will want to come visit you at Denmark Hill.
Nevertheless, you’re not restricted to staying at Denmark hill, as a KCL student there’s lots to explore. I have tried to make the most of being a King’s student by travelling to the different campuses as much as I can. For example, on Fridays, when I don’t have any teaching time I travel to the Strand Campus and make use of the beautiful Maughan library located in the centre. This also means it’s easier for me to meet up with friends and go for a drink at King’s Waterfront bar which has an incredible view of the river.
- What is your day-to-day life like during term time?
Term time is extremely busy, that’s both with work, extra-curricular activities and having social life too! But as with any course, your busiest times come when you’re in the full swing of things and have gotten used to a schedule, so it’s more manageable. For example, in my second term I had clinical placement on Mondays which was 9am to 5pm and then I had full days (9.30am-3.30pm) Tuesday to Thursdays. I also play for King’s Netball team who have matches on Mondays and Wednesdays, and train on Tuesday evenings. On Fridays I’d usually spend most of the day in the Library working on an assignment, but take three hours out to teach at a local secondary school as part of my role as a Widening Participation Student Ambassador. Overall, that’s an insanely busy 10 weeks, but I wouldn’t have it any other way, I feel I’ve really got the most out of my time here. Although all the other activities are things I’ve actively taken on, if three full days of uni is enough for you that’s fine – in fact, it gives you more time to try out all of the bars and hang out spots.
- Where’s the best place to live?
I really do enjoy living in South London, it has lots of green space and travelling around is cheaper as you can walk, cycle or get the bus. Truth is, where you live really depends on your personal preferences. If you want a more central location, then you may need to look further away from campus. If you want to live in university owned accommodation, then there are lots of options, check out our March blog the different options for University accommodation.
- What’s been your favourite experience at King’s so far?
It’s really difficult to pick one moment or time, but as sad as it may sound I think my favourite experience was when I met with my personal tutor for the first time to discuss an issue I had with the suggested dissertation topics. I told her specifically what research interests I had and what I had hoped to get out of the dissertation module. I felt that none of the suggestions met my needs, but I was scared to do an independent project as I heard they were much more difficult and I didn’t know who would be a suitable supervisor. My personal tutor was amazing, and reminded me that dissertation is a huge undertaking and therefore should be on a topic I am passionate about and I shouldn’t be deterred to follow my research interests. Within the same 20-minute session, we’d chatted, got to know one another, planned a potential dissertation and emailed three potential supervisors. This experience was like no other form of academic support I had received before, and I really was glad to have picked a course and institution that cared so much about student satisfaction.
- What have you most enjoyed about your course?
Ok, now I’m really starting to sound nerdy, but have I really enjoyed the variety of assignments and ways in which we are assessed. In my undergraduate degree there were only two types of assessments: essays and exams – and I wasn’t really good at either. On my course now we’ve learnt so many new skills because of the different assessment techniques. I’ve learnt how to write a research protocol, a grant application, a patient case presentation, as well as that I’ve delivered several assessed and unassessed presentations and debates. For me, this variety in learning is the only way that I can really stay engaged!
- What do you wish you’d known before you started?
That you can add your 16-25 railcard (or any other railcard) to your oyster card to get discounted travel on the London Underground.
- Any final words of advice for prospective students?
Don’t feel you need to know everything about your course and King’s before you start. Enjoy your summer, you’ll figure the rest out when you get here.
That’s it for this month’s blog post, we hope it gave you a little taster of what it’s like to study at the IoPPN and King’s. Do not forget to sign up for the Offer holder’s reception on May 16th.
Tamsin & Sarah