Getting ready to come to uni – what I wish I’d known before I started

Here is a little list of things I wish somebody told me, or at least repeated to me 10 times.

Accommodation:

  • Pack up some pictures to remind yourself of your friends during hard moments (because you will be homesick)
  • Some decoration to make your student room feel like is home? But it’s OK if you don’t because your flatmates will probably add some stuff too decorating with them can actually be a great way to bond!

Friends:

  • It’s alright not to stick with your flatmates
  • It’s alright to change group of friends if you realise they don’t correspond to you, even after 2 months! Don’t be scared!
  • People will be scary and try to impress during seminars, but they’re as frightened as you don’t worry. Everyone is playing the same game of act-the-least-lost-and-frightened at the beginning of the year.
  • Your friends will be your family, they will bring you meds when you’ll get freshers’ flu

StrandCampus4413x276

Money:

  • King’s as a major international university in the centre of London tends to have people who can definitely afford more than instant noodles every day, so don’t trust the Tab or 9gag too much
  • A lot of people have part-time jobs and it’s cool to take one to have something outside of uni, especially if it pays for all your fun
  • Opening a bank account is not hard at all, don’t stress, just go to a bank and tell them you want to open one. Easy.

Hobbies:

  • You will probably enrol in loads of clubs/societies and drop many during the year: that’s fine
  • You can even create your own club if it doesn’t exist yet
  • You’ll make amazing friends in it because you’ll share a passion

London:

  • Great multicultural place that will make you think again your: “I’m a third culture kid” self
  • Your English flatmate will love cooking chicken tikka and chilli con carne while your French flatmate will be all about that wine and cheese
  • Deals are everywhere, look out for them!
  • Slow walking is forbidden as well as standing on the left in the escalators (trust me you’ll totally agree once you’re a Londoner haha)
  • Wearing a cool-artsy jacket is a great conversation starter.

King’s

  • Go and see your personal tutor for advice about assignments even if you don’t have any questions or are pretty sure you’re doing well, because he can only make it better
  • Apply for study abroad if you can
  • You will never see all the rooms in the Maughan Library because it’s so big

Voilà, that was a little bit of before uni basics, and I know this won’t make a difference straight away, but as a final year student I assure you, they’re true, so please read them to yourself A LOT and don’t forget to relax and have fun, because the uni years are the years where you’re old enough to be independent and young enough to not care about important adult stuff (like tax).

Anysia, BA Politics

Preparations for my Final Year

An often repeated phrase at university is that ‘your final year is the decisive one’. As I begin my preparations for undertaking it in September, I am able to understand the undoubted truth of this – that this final year will be the toughest yet and hopefully the most fulfilling.

Looking ahead, the project which looms largest is my dissertation which should be the showpiece of a BA; an assignment requiring deep focus upon an area of profound personal interest. Working out precisely what this area will be has been an intense preoccupation of mine over the summer so far –  for the simple reason that my choice of topic now will very likely tip the balance of marks overall. The answer of course is to figure out precisely what you have been passionate about over the course of your studies and chase it; something which is easier said than done. For me personally, this has been the military culture of the Ottoman Empire – a subject which has caused many raised eyebrows among my friends. ‘It sounds interesting,’ said one, ‘but how are the Ottomans really relevant, today?’ I would be lying if I was not also worried that I was looking too far back into an area obscure even by the standards of War Studies.

StudentsMaughanStudying-Cropped-425x280

Yet the consoling factor for me is that whenever I cast my mind over something to read or look back over my notes, it is always the Ottomans which I find myself returning to. Indeed, there is another factor to consider when choosing your topic – it isn’t so much whether the topic itself is linked directly to current events or career prospects but the skills you have demonstrated in completing it. To take an example, my elder sister recently graduated from the University of Edinburgh with an MA in Social History, having completed a dissertation on early modern witchcraft. In her subsequent job interviews, however, the topic of witchcraft itself was not under discussion; rather her potential employers were concerned with the details of her project planning and research methodology. The message, then, is that there really isn’t much point in worrying about how obscure and narrow your topic is – completing a 10,000-word project on that subject is the challenge and your capacity to fulfil it will be respected.

This brings me on to another, and in some ways more worrying, aspect of my final year – what will I be doing afterwards? When asked about my career plans, my usual refrain had been that I was looking to enter journalism. Now, of course, it is the time for me to ensure these plans have more substance to them. With some volunteering experience with Amnesty International and the Remain Great, Remain In campaign behind me, I am aware of the possibilities of gaining work experience in London – as well as the limitations. The competition for internships and placements is naturally fierce but the only response is to simply keep applying with an optimistic stubbornness. The experience of my fellow KCL students demonstrates that it is not impossible, by any means, to gain exciting work experience at my level.

As September draws closer, however, I am acutely conscious that what awaits me is probably the largest workload I have yet experienced. Thankfully, I know that the advantage of doing a subject that you are genuinely passionate about is that you are able to wake up every day with a desire to learn more, cheesy as that sounds.

Henry, War Studies