So you’ve decided to study the BSc Psychology at King’s, congratulations! Although we can all agree we are currently living in extremely strange times, I can assure you the next 3-4 years are full of exciting new experiences!
Here are some top tips I wish someone had given me ahead of embarking on the student life. Hope they come in handy and just remember, this is YOUR time, so make the most of it and enjoy!
1.Make the most of first year
University is definitely a step up from school in terms of workload and effort required. However, something I only realised half-way through my first year is that all 3 years are not evenly weighted. At King’s, first year is worth 11% of your final grade, second year is 33%, and final year makes up the remaining. So, although I’m not suggesting you completely write off first year, definitely make the most of it as it’s the most relaxed time in terms of academics. Also, people will be more willing to explore new things, meet new people, and go on all sorts of adventures, so soak it all up.
2. Make friends, many friends
One of the most exciting prospects of starting university was all the new people I’d meet, and I was not disappointed! Uni is an incredible time to widen your social circle and get to meet people from all around the world with similar and also completely different interests. Don’t close yourself off and don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. Also, be mindful that although freshers may be slightly overwhelming with the amount of people you meet, you don’t need to stop making friends after first week. So keep an open mind and meet as many people as possible, life-long friendships are bound to be formed.
3. Sign up to clubs & societies
Did you know there are over 300 weird and wonderful societies and clubs at King’s? Have a niche interest? KCLSU might have a society just for you! I was amazed to discover the vast range of groups on offer. From Cheese & Wine society to Harry Potter. Truly anything you could wish for and more. I’d highly recommend having a browse through the catalogue of options and making a note of those you’re interested in. Come freshers fair you can go and visit their stand and find out what they’re all about. Who knows, you might meet people as strange as yourself!
4. Be strategic with nights out
This is a bit of a random one, but never underestimate the power a strategic planning when going out. First of all, pre-drinks are key. You don’t want to end up spending loads of money buying overpriced drinks in London bars/clubs if you can avoid it. Secondly, keep an eye out for free or student-night events. There are tons! And they’re decent prices which won’t unbalance your whole monthly budget the day after. And last but not least: Drink. Water. Before. Bed. After several horrendous hungover seminars I learnt the game-changing tactic that is downing a pint of water (or even Lucozade/Aquarius/electrolyte drink) before going to sleep. It won’t magically cure your hangover, but I can assure you will feel a whole lot better the day after.
5. Put yourself out there, try something new
This kind of links back to joining societies and clubs, but I want to really hone in on its importance. When I started my degree I had no clue what I wanted to do when I finished (who am I kidding, I’m still in the process of figuring it out). However, being exposed to an endless amount of new people, experiences, and opportunities, I started to discover what I’m truly passionate (and less passionate) about. In my case, in halls I lived door to door with a massive fan of Louis Theroux. Through her, I started watching loads of documentaries, something I hadn’t done before, and have now come to realise I want to work in the TV and media industry! Never underestimate the power of trying something new, you never know where it may take you.
It can be tricky to balance all the socialising, working, exploring, and studying. That’s why timetabling properly is a major asset. I personally swear by my To Do lists and weekly planner. However way you like to do it, it’s extremely useful to map out all the activities you want to do, and all the responsibilities you have to do, to make sure you have time for everything and nothing gets compromised.
7. Keep an eye out for work experience opportunities
One of the most useful things I did during my degree was getting involved in a number of research and work opportunities. For one it helped build my CV, and for another also helped out my finances by giving me an extra income. The Psychology department offers research assistant opportunities throughout the year which are an amazing chance to experience academic research. There are also plenty of opportunities to participate in research (as a participant) and get paid. Finally, you could consider working for the Student Union or becoming a board member of a society. All these things will look amazing to future employers while also exposing you to new experiences.
The eternal struggle that are student finances. I’m not going to lie, being a student in London involves being tight on money a lot of the time. But don’t fret! There are simple hacks and strategies you can use to make finances straightforward and, dare I say it, manageable. Try creating a monthly or weekly budget which takes into account phone bills, gym memberships, transport, food, etc. but also the money you want to allow yourself to spend on drinks and socialising. This will make your life so much easier in the long run, trust me!
9. Keep in touch with people back home
It’s easy to get carried away with all the new people and activities that London and King’s have to offer. However, don’t forget that your support network back at home is still incredibly important. Try scheduling weekly or monthly calls with friends and family to update them on how it’s going. I bet they’ll love hearing what you’re up to and you will probably find great comfort in hearing from those you love.
10. Don’t forget down-time
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry, it’s completely natural. University is a massive change and can get tough sometimes. That’s why it’s essential to make sure you’re making time for yourself. Try making a point of scheduling at least one session you ‘you time’ a week. In the same way you make plans to meet friends, go on dates, etc. make a plan with yourself! You can relax watching your favourite show, read in a park, treating yourself to a meal out, or doing some yoga. Whatever tickles your fancy. It’s easy to forget, but we should be our own main priority, and after all the fun, games, and hard work you deserve a break!
So that’s it from me! Hope you find some of these tips helpful, and most of all, I hope you have an incredible and well deserved summer!