What am I doing this summer?

After the summer festivals and the end of the year trips to some sunny places like Portugal with your friends, it is time to start your internship or work. A key step for students during the summer is to get work experience. Not only will it embellish your CV but it will help you realise whether or not you really want to work in that field later. For my part I am an undergraduate research fellow at King’s with one of my lecturers, a research assistant.

I must say it is really different from any other internship you would get in private firms or charities. It is a one-on-one internship where you will mostly only interact with your lecturer. You can imagine how awful it is for me not being able to socialise and talk to new people in my working place. Very different from big summer internship schemes where they organise all sorts of events like nights out. Nevertheless King’s is very lively during the summer thanks to the summer school and I have 3 friends who do the same thing as me with other lecturers so we still manage to grab lunch and coffee together! Plus just think how cool it is to take part in a research paper that during the year you might read but instead of just reading it you helped write it!?

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I suggest, if you have the opportunity, to do the same thing as me in your first or second year! Third year is alright but not as useful because the one and main perk you will get out of this internship is the bond you will create with your teacher. Mine took me out for lunch so we could share our passions in life and our plans! And trust me our lecturers are actually humans too and have other interests than what they work on… We tend to forget that don’t we?

For a French student who’s always known a rigid French school system where you never interact with teachers outside of class it is a big thing for me. My lecturer offered his help in choosing my Masters as it is the next big step in my education.  He also gave me advice for my future dissertation although he is not my supervisor. Getting to know someone who will be able to write you a superb letter of recommendation and guide you through the educational jungle is a plus you should not overlook.  As I said you should take this internship as an opportunity to obviously learn more about research and the field you will tackle but also you should make the most out of it to build a meaningful friendship with your teacher because having real academic support is very important.

That’s what I’ve taken from this internship, each person will probably have a different view, but all I can give as a general piece of advice is do look for work experience or internships during summer because as a King’s student you are not an ordinary person who might sit watching Netflix through the summer, you are a curious person who is capable of getting out of your comfort zone, and put yourself out there to be a better person on your CV and in real life.

Anysia, BA Politics

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting University

To start studying at university can feel like entering a completely new world, and suddenly there are a billion different things that you are supposed to deal with. But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be as hard as it might sound!

  1. Starting university usually means moving to a new city where you don’t know anyone and most people are very eager to meet as many new friends as possible straight away. This can be quite nerve-wracking, even if it is also fun and enjoyable to get to know new people. However, there is no need to panic if you don’t meet your best friend the first day. There are so many ways to meet people at university: at lectures, halls, sport clubs, societies, and other events. Just try to be open and say yes to anything that sounds exciting. And remember, it’s okay to spend a night in bed with Netflix too!
  2. London is a massive city, which can be quite daunting and stressful. When I first arrived I tried to avoid the metro as much as I could, as everyone was moving so fast in such a compact space. However, I made sure to have extra time whenever I needed to use the metro, so that I could take it easy and didn’t need to run for a train. Soon enough I got used to it, and now I take the metro all the time.blog 2
  3. When it comes to your actual studies, one very useful thing to find out when you start are the rules regarding participation at lectures and seminars. Some lecturers take attendance whereas the majority don’t, and at some seminars you cannot miss more than one or two before it will start really affecting your grade. Several students from my year failed their modules because they had missed too many seminars, despite getting good grades on their coursework. Also, you wouldn’t want to miss seminars anyway as this is the place where everyone gets the chance to ask questions and share their views – really useful!
  4. I was absolutely lost among all the reading we had to do during my first few months at university. I felt like I didn’t follow what was going on, and that I couldn’t use what I just read. Eventually I learnt that with most readings, all the key ideas will be shared in the introduction and then repeated in the conclusion. So, if you have 10 books to get through in a week, my advice now is to read those bits first, and take your time to understand it, and then look through the rest of the text for more extended explanations. In addition, write down the name of the author when you take notes – this will come very handy when you write essays or prepare for your exams!
  5. As mentioned, I felt that London was way too big when I first moved here, and everything seemed to be extremely far away. I spent almost all my time either at university or at home, and couldn’t really absorb the rest of the city. First of all, that’s OK. When arriving in a new city, it is important to get to know the areas where you will live, work or study, as that’s a way to make yourself feel at home. Now, after almost a year of living here, I still think London is huge, but have learnt my way around a bit more through exploring new parts of the city, and that makes the city feel “smaller” and more homely.

Good luck with starting uni! It might be scary at first, but you will grow so much and won’t regret it!

Emelie, International Relations

5 Budget Tips for new Londoners

Anyone considering moving to London would have heard that “London is SO expensive”. Still, it is one of the most popular cities to study at university in. For students on a tight budget, there are still plenty of ways to get around and make the most of London. Here are some tips!

  1. You are likely to spend whole days in the library, at least during the exam period, and one of the best ways of saving money in this case is to bring packed lunches. Constantly buying lunch and others snacks can end up costing more money than expected, and therefore any homemade pasta salads, sandwiches and other treats will definitely save you valuable pounds. It might sound tricky, but all you need is a few extra minutes in the morning to prepare it, or make a big batch of your favourite dish and have one box already done for each day of the week!
  2. Despite London being expensive, there is actually a vast amount of free stuff going on around the city all the time. Time Out (http://www.timeout.com/london) is a great page to use in order to get to know all the latest events. In addition, King’s have guest lectures and other events several times a week, and many societies can get free or discounted access to try out different things. As soon as you start looking, you’ll notice that there are free activities everywhere!

blog pic 1To the left: Last year I went to a lecture with UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon, and only had to pay half price on the ticket as I am a King’s student.

To the right: a light show called Lumiere took place in London in January, and was free for everyone to enjoy.

  1. Your student card is your best friend when it comes to saving money. Just by showing it, you can get 10% off in most stores, entrance fees and even at restaurants. Remember to always ask, as some shops might not have any signs regarding the student discount. If you want to get even more discounts, you can get the NUS card (http://www.nus.org.uk/en/nus-extra/) which can make your Spotify subscription and Amazon purchases cheaper!
  2. Transport is one of the most expensive things in London, and it’s hard to avoid the costs. As a student, you will get a discount on any tickets, but it’s still not cheap. I usually try to take the bus in rush hour, as the Underground price increases at this time (if you use pay-as-you-go) whereas the bus costs the same any time of the day. Also, the bus is generally much more comfortable than the sweaty metro. However, I would also recommend to actually walk as much as you can. You might live too far away to walk to university every day, but walking is a great way to explore London, as well as get some exercise and save money!
  3. Last but not least, go to the Fresher’s Fair in the beginning of the year! Not only will you get information about all the societies at King’s, but the amount of free things you get will last a long time. I didn’t buy a single pen throughout my entire first year, as I managed to pick up so many during the fair. Besides that, I also got notebooks, coasters, lots of snacks and other various items that might come in useful when you’re living on a budget.

Emelie, International Relations