This topic could be easily summarised by just listing all my modules and lab projects. However, you could just google that and frankly there are much more important things that I have taken from this degree. Sure, without knowing the basics of Chemistry, I wouldn’t get far in academia, but the other things I’ve learnt are just as significant.
Teamwork makes the dream work
First and foremost, it’s always easier to solve a problem as a team. Also, and especially when at university, you are not the only person struggling with a topic. Talk to the people on your course and chances are you will figure it out together. If not, there are always people in the higher years or even lecturers that are happy to help. This not only makes the university experience that much better but also prepares you for a career in academia where everyone works in research groups, and it is very unlikely that you will be the only person working on a research question.
Work-life balance is important
A “bad” grade is not the end of the world and sometimes it’s more worth it to maintain a healthy work-life balance than to stress yourself out over Christmas because of one essay. Yes, I am speaking from experience and to be honest I don’t even remember the grade that I got. I’m not saying to completely forget about all your assignments, but just try and recognise when you’ve done enough work and let it go. You don’t want to get so stressed that you become unwell or unhappy. And remember, if you are struggling you can always chat to your personal tutor, Student Services or any of the academics at King’s.
Everyone makes mistakes
Even the “smartest” people make mistakes and don’t know what they’re doing sometimes. It’s easy to look at master’s or PhD students and think that they know everything and can do no wrong. But, although they probably know more than undergrads, they also can make silly mistakes just like you and me. So, don’t be intimidated by them and know that they’re more like you than you think, and you’ll get to where they are one day too.
Seize every opportunity
You won’t believe how fast your degree goes. It feels like yesterday that I started as a nervous first-year. The biggest piece of advice I can give a first year is to seize every opportunity, don’t worry about looking silly or not making friends, everyone is just as nervous as you are! You will find your tribe, and just give everything a go! You’ll look back and be amazed at how much you have developed as a Chemist and also as a person.
So, to sum up, a degree isn’t just about what you learn in lectures and assignments but also what you learn because of them. A Chemistry degree prepares you for your future in more ways than one and I am so glad I took the opportunity to study this subject at King’s.