By Zara Lim, MEng Electronic Engineering
When I was in sixth form, I remember having difficulty trying to narrow down which universities I should apply for. There were so many things to consider: location, types of societies available, if I would fit in socially, job opportunities after graduation, and of course, league tables.
Having grown up in London, one of the main things that I chose to prioritise was location – I’ve always been a city girl, and the idea of moving to a smaller city with fewer things to do sounded less exciting. Staying in a familiar region meant that I didn’t have to spend as much time finding my bearings and also meant that I could live at home and not pay rent (thanks Dad)! King’s is located in the best parts in the city – since I’m currently part of the Department of Informatics, I’ve been lucky enough to study in Bush House, which used to be the headquarters for the BBC World Service and is now part of the Strand campus. If you’re unfamiliar with London, this is probably one of the best places to be based, since it is within walking distance of Covent Garden, Chinatown and Southbank, which means that if you’re a foodie like me, you are nearby lots of good food and study spots.
But why did I specifically choose King’s and not any other London university? King’s has such a large multi-cultural community and there are students that come to study here from all over the world, so it’s great to meet such a range of people from all kinds of backgrounds. This is reflected in our Student Union, where there are over 300 societies to join and you have the opportunity to bond with students from other degrees over shared interests! King’s also has an amusing history and rivalry with other universities, which has led to our participation in the annual London Varsity sports series.
One of the other main aspects that really drew me towards King’s was its high reputation for research. For me, I knew that I wanted to stay in academia after my degree, so it was important for me to surround myself with inspiring lecturers that I could have intellectually stimulating conversations with. From my experience, not only have the staff and research students been super approachable and encouraging, but they have also been super generous in letting me take part in some of their ongoing projects, from developing innovative surgical tools or working with connecting drones to 5G networks! Being involved in research on this level is quite rare for an undergraduate student and is a completely different experience to simply sitting in a class, so I am super grateful that I have had opportunities like these at King’s.
What I love about studying Electronic Engineering is that it is not specific to any of the A-levels that I studied (maths, further maths, physics, chemistry and music) but was more of a combination of them and included both the mathematical aspect and the practical elements that I enjoyed from each of these subjects. In addition, there were also new concepts that I had never done before, such as electronics, programming or logic which has turned out to be possibly one of my favourite subjects as of now!
Compared to A-levels, studying at university has a much bigger sense of independence and can be a bit daunting at first. Instead of classes, we are typically taught in two hour lectures, and discussions or exercises are held in separate one hour classes or ‘tutorials’. My experience at school used to involve teachers regularly checking up on students during every class to ensure that we completely understood how to tackle problems, and there was a lot more one-on-one support. In comparison, at university, I’ve found that there is a much bigger emphasis on taking more time to try to solve problems rather than immediately being given a solution, and we are encouraged to have discussions to view problems from multiple perspectives. In a way, this approach really prepares students for the real world and encourages perseverance, which is a necessary skill for someone going into academia like me.
That’s it from me for now! Of course, if you have any questions about any of the points that I discussed in this blog, or anything else related to King’s, feel free to send me a message on Unibuddy!