First Term at King’s

A lot has happened in ten weeks. Too much to tell and some things, I probably just shouldn’t mention, but so far my university experience has been fantastic. I’m not just saying that to make you want to come to King’s. I have met a bunch of lunatics whom I now call my friends (all Geography students might I add). I have joined the girls’ football team and we are crushing the league tables and probably most importantly for my degree (that’s why we’re here after all), I have learnt to Harvard reference… it’s not as bad as you think. I have handed an essay in past deadline and have survived. Moral of the story, don’t submit an essay at 12.29 when the deadline is 12.30. It won’t work out for you. I have gone on two field trips, one to Heartwood Forest, one to Shoreditch and the compulsory boat trip social. Yes I know…compulsory…social. I’ve learnt about things in human geography that I never thought were part of the subject; post humanism and post humanities just to give one example. I didn’t even know what those words meant at the start of term.

Personally I am more of a physical geographer; tectonics, biodiversity etc, but I have also really enjoyed the human geography lectures, even if they do appear seemingly obscure at first. The linkages that our lecturers make between some of these topics and their relevance to geography is mind blowing… that’s when doing the set reading helps you to understand a topic and it really is worth doing. As for choosing between BSc and BA Geography, it doesn’t matter in your first year. You can change from one to the other in second year if you want.

One thing I would say is to keep an open mind. Geography is about so much more than you could have ever imagined. That’s why I love it so much. I never quite know where a lecture is heading, or what I am going to learn when I walk into one. It’s also incredible to learn about the contributions that some of your lecturers have made to their fields of research. Thus far all of my lecturers have been very enthusiastic and engaging and you know they are good at what they do when they set you published journal articles to read, that they have written!

If you have any questions about the course or university life, please feel free to ask me. If you aren’t thinking of living in halls, I can also give you some advice as I live in private housing that I didn’t find through the university. Good luck with any upcoming coursework and have a fantastic Christmas!

Amy, BSc Geography

‘Geography has to do with everything’

I am often asked why I chose to study geography and, for me, the answer is very clear: to learn more about the world in which I live. A vague answer? Yes – but that’s what is so wonderful about the subject of geography: there is no universal definition or conceptualisation of what it is or what it should encompass.

‘Everything has to do with Geography, and Geography has to do with everything’ (Judy Martz) is one of my favourite quotes because, in my opinion, it really sums up the essence of the subject. Throughout my time at King’s I’ve been given the opportunity to study everything from water and development to political ecology, natural hazards, terrorism and public health. I have come away with such an in-depth but wide-ranging knowledge and understanding about so many different aspects of life, which has constantly challenged the way I see the world around me.

Undoubtedly, however, the biggest credit to the subject has been in its ability to transform me into such an inquisitive member of society, who is constantly wanting to probe into why and how different processes take place, and what can be done to change these for the better. As a human geographer, my focus is on understanding the dynamics of cultures, societies and economies and putting this in the context of places in order to recognise the differences across the world.

The relevance of the subject is like no other – it changes by the minute, adapting to the dynamic world with which it is concerned. So many of the world’s current issues – at a global scale and locally – boil down to geography, and require the inquisitive and problem-solving nature of the discipline in order to help solve them. Without an understanding of the world around us – the people, processes, systems and structures involved – key issues cannot be addressed. Said best by Michael Palin: ‘Geography is a subject which holds the key to our future’ – and after three years of studying it, I couldn’t agree more!

Geography is, in the broadest sense, an education for life and for living. The knowledge that you can expect to gain through studying it – whether achieved through formal teaching or experientially through travel and fieldwork – will undoubtedly help shape you into a more socially and environmentally sensitive, informed and responsible citizen. As a result, the career options after completing the degree are endless, and the skills learnt throughout the degree are hugely transferable and incredibly in-demand.

With the rate in which our world’s environment and society are changing, combined with the growing interest and attention on issues such as climate change, development and social cohesion, there really has never been a better or more important time to study geography. It is one of the most relevant courses you can choose to study and undeniably helps to stimulate your interest in and wonder about places, people and the environment.

Stephanie, BA Geography