Packing for a new chapter

Author: Rachel

Trying to pack up a life from the past to bring to a new chapter of your life can be a little daunting. Moving to a new city, new country even, with new friends and experiences awaiting, is a good opportunity to rediscover who you are as a person, but remembering the old is also key to finding comfort in a foreign place.

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Shirts, trousers, and shoes. I have a few pieces of clothing in my closet that have never been worn but saved for that ‘one potential occasion’ in which it would be perfect. In the end, I would end up wearing the same few sets of clothing that I feel most comfortable in. After all, it may often take more effort to dress as someone you’re not, than to find the group of people who allow you to dress as yourself. Therefore, pack the clothes that represent you, and otherwise, prepare your closet for many more additions from Oxford Street shopping trips, or otherwise more hipster members from Shoreditch or Camden.

Photos, books, and memories. Moving into a new sScreen Shot 2016-08-18 at 16.40.03tudent accommodation, although is filled with exciting new memories to be made, can often stir up emotional feelings of home. Take it from someone who thought they would be well prepared for it after boarding school and many summers away, it helps to be reminded that there are people caring from afar in those moments of academic deadlines and social fears of missing out. Otherwise, it never hurts to be reminded that in our day and age of technology, home is just a phonecall away. So, my advice to you is to take up a little luggage space bringing over a small peace of home, it does a lot on a bad day to return to something more familiar than white walls and an empty desk.

Bits of adult life to remember. Remembering that you are most likely going to be moving into a place where cooking, cleaning, and washing are all up to your newly independent self. However, with the easy access of a nearby Argos or Tesco Superstore, it’s never too difficult to find the necessary equipment to allow you to flourish into a full functioning adult. In addition, a trip to IKEA is never not tempting with a plate of Swedish meatballs.

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Although it may be comforting to try to fit your whole life into the 23kg of baggage allowance to bring with you to a new country, there is only so much that can protect you from the ups and downs of growing up. Therefore, bring what you must, and prepare to lose and gain things on the way, whether good or bad. After all, London is a city of new experiences and opportunities, and university is a good place to start discovering who you are as an independent person in this scary but ultimately wonderful world.

My Summer Bucket List

Author: Maria

So my previous post was about my internship in London during the summer. Yes, obviously I have to work during day time, but that doesn’t mean I cannot enjoy London’s beauty during the summer.

I am going to make this post quick because during my internship in London I told myself that I would do 10 things (although I did more of them) in London during the summer, and I thought it would be amazing to share these spots/ideas with you so you can actually think about doing it as well. Some of these are no brainers, but trust me, sometimes living in the city and studying makes you forget about certain fun things that you can do at any time!

So here is my list:

1. Bike around Hyde Park and end up in the Serpentine Galleries – check the pavilion every year there’s a new sculpture or ‘huge architecture thing there’. This year this man actually asked me what I thought of it, the question caught me so off-guard that I said: ‘if we lived in an imaginary world this would probably be my home’… I literally have no idea why I said that.

Maria - Serpentine - My Summer Bucket list

2.  ROOFTOPS!! There are so many (From the famous Sky-Garden, to Queen of Hoxton and to the new place I went with my friends the other day: Pergola On the Roof (Quick its open from May to August 29th! So if you have time GO THERE) and you can drink, eat, drink, and see the beautiful sight! And art on the walls. – Also, time out offers a few ‘cheaper tickets’ for people to go watch movies on rooftops – it is QUITE AWESOME, and actually a really cool thing to do!)

3. This one is not in London, but still, it was on my list: Travel to Cambridge or Oxford. It’s cheap nearby and you can always spend the day in a smaller town and enjoy the perks of less expensive food, beautiful sight-seeing and just a day out of the city.

maria & friend Cambridge - My Summer Bucket list

4. Want to go Clubbing? CARGO is pretty cool – from its terrace to the two dancefloor spaces inside. I think the terrace is worth everything, you get to hear the music but still be able to talk to your friends if you are not that into clubbing. Two spots in one place.

5. Summer Exhibitions in London – yes, some are expensive, but have you seen the one in the Royal Academy? If you are a student you get a discount, and it is definitely worth it! You get to see some modern contemporary art that you have not seen before.

6. The typical Brick Lane Sunday market, Camden Lock Market, Broadway Market, Borough Market, – Spitafields. I think I covered almost all of them – oh yes, Portobello Market and if you haven’t watched the movie Notting Hill watch it, aside from Hugh Grant being a total bae, the movie definitely shows the blue door of his book store which YOU can totally see when you go to Notting Hill.

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7. Theatre: I am a fan of theatre so I went to watch my old time fav – Les Miserables – indeed I was miserable afterwards of how good it was, and how I wish I could sing/act like that. WORTH IT. Of course you don’t have to go see this one, but there are plenty of shows worth seeing, and London is the place for theatre, music, art.

8. Breakfast Club. Woke up twice at 6:00 am, to make sure I could be first and have my beautiful breakfast as soon as the restaurant opened at 8:00 am in Soho. Call me crazy, but that avocado on toast is delicious, and those blueberry pancakes were definitely worth my beauty sleep.

9. Almost done with the list. Do you like Jazz? Comedy? I live literally next to Camden, so when me and my flat-mates are bored and have nothing to do, we just go to Camden and either go watch the comedy club there, or go to the Jazz Café. Plus, sometimes we get lost in between those restaurants and the market…

10. Here is my last thing and definitely worth it – Aside from my internship I also work as waitress and sometimes my shift ends up really late. However, there are some perks to it, walking and riding the bus in the Center of London at night is the best. You see the city lights, without the people and the stress of the day. It is only you and your music, the breeze and those city lights that make London such a beautiful city to live in.

So here are my tips for you and I hope you enjoy them! Do you have any for me?

Facilities Within/ Near King’s College

When I first stepped foot in London a year ago, I was pleasantly surprised not only by the range of amenities that it offered, but also the proximity of these services to residential areas. Of course, I had the good fortune of staying at Stamford Street Apartments (SSA) where literally anything is within reach, but I think I speak for everyone when I say that a Londoner rarely has to venture beyond their neighbourhood to run their daily errands. From grocery shopping to grabbing a meal (and subsequently burning those calories in the gym), you’ll find that completing your daily routine has never been this hassle-free. Considering how enormous the entire London is, I’ll just roughly highlight the facilities that are in the vicinity of King’s College and its residences.

If you’re anything like me – that is, you receive an exponential boost in productivity when revising in libraries – you can heave a sigh of nerdy relief as each of our campuses is equipped with them. It’s not exactly my proudest achievement, but as I was edging precariously closer to my final exams I had spent almost entire days in the Franklin-Wilkins library dashing through my notes. Part of the reason why I could essentially camp there was due to its extended opening hours during the exam season, when it was open 24/7. There are also several study zones within the library which are distinguished based on the noise level that they permit. One of my favourite features of the library is its self-checkout and return system, as you can technically return a book at midnight if you wished to. The Maughan library is as cavernous as libraries go, and you would be forgiven for thinking that it was taken right out of a scene from Harry Potter. Enclosed by modern glass windows that overlook the lawn below it, the New Hunt’s House library offers a rather tranquil setting for performing your revision.

True story: when someone first told me that they were heading to Iceland for some grocery shopping, I genuinely thought they were either pulling my leg or just had several private planes at their disposal. Anyway, it turned out to be an actual grocery store chain and I was somewhat let down by my friends’ lack of private jets. It sells common household items at comparatively low prices and it’s currently my preferred place to shop for fresh meat. But perhaps what sets it apart from its competitors is its wide-ranging selection of frozen food. From frozen broccoli to frozen chicken and frozen ice-cream (oh wait…), it’s the frozen food paradise you never thought you needed in your life. The Co-operative Food also receives my stamp of approval, as it offers a 10% discount on all items if you present your NUS card at the till. Since there are branches of these stores near the campuses, it’s actually quite feasible to do some grocery shopping on your way back home.

Now comes the part you either dread or can’t live without – maintaining your fitness. There are numerous jogging trails scattered around London where you can burn some calories whilst admiring the magnificent view of the London streets (if you can manage to catch your breath, that is). Avid swimmers would probably have heard of the London Aquatics Centre, which hosted the main aquatics events of the 2012 Olympics and is just a stone’s throw away from the Stratford student accommodations. Trust me, once you’ve swum in these glorious indoor pools, you will not settle for anything less in the future. There’s also a gym run by the student union strategically located in the same building as SSA, so residents there have virtually no excuse to skip their gym sessions. (Nevertheless, being a proud couch potato, I still managed to fight the pressure to stay fit.) The gym usually has a promotion for new students in September, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for that.

Well, there you go! I had barely scratched the surface of the wealth of amenities available here, but I trust that you’ll discover more of them throughout your studies. Just remember that when anyone mentions “Iceland” here, they’re probably not referring to the country.

My experience at Stamford Street Apartments

Author: Boey

Aside from the actual campus itself, probably the most vital element of a student’s university experience is his accommodation. Choosing one would require some substantial research on the student’s part, as there are numerous factors to consider, including its proximity to your campus, the room size and perhaps most importantly, the price you’ll have to fork out for it. Fortunately for first year King’s students, there’s an array of residence halls which have their own plus points and individual charm. The application procedures have been overhauled since my year (I feel positively ancient saying that), so I’ll just skip over that and instead share my residential experience with you.

I was fortunate enough to have been offered a room at Stamford Street Apartments, the closest King’s residence to both the Waterloo and Strand campus. Living in such close proximity of my campus meant that I could literally roll out of my bed into my lecture theatre (albeit not in my pyjamas as I doubt my lecturers would have approved of that). Probably the best perk about this is that if I had ever forgotten to take my safety goggles or assignments, all I had to do was walk 3 minutes back to grab them and still be on time. There are numerous facilities within walking distance as well, including restaurants, a gym and grocery stores.

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In terms of the room itself, there’s more than sufficient space for all of your belongings – that’s if you’re not a hoarder– and there’s even a wet room and toilet attached to it. Gone are the days when you have to compete with your housemates for your precious shower time. There’s a huge study table illuminated with a lamp, but I personally preferred to revise in the Waterloo library as I was easily distracted by my bed, which I swear was pleading for me to lie on it every 30 seconds. Besides, the library is open 24/7, so if you ever feel the urge to study at 3am, there won’t be anyone stopping you.  Each flat consists of 5-8 students. I stayed with a diverse group of students who came from varying backgrounds and cultures, and this proved to be an eye-opening experience especially since I had somewhat lived within a bubble previously. The occupants share a common kitchen, equipped with a fridge, oven and stoves. There’s a frequent cleaning service which will take care of the trash in the kitchen, but don’t expect anyone to clean your greasy dishes for you! There’s also a self-service laundrette strategically located at the corner of the building where you can wash, dry and iron your clothes. It utilises a card payment system, so don’t ever worry about not having enough coins for the machines.

Security at the residence is pretty tight, and there are officers manning the reception all day. If you find yourself having to make a complaint about your room or flatmates (God forbid that happens), just head down to the reception or give them a call. They’ll even receive the parcels and envelopes directed to you and will notify you promptly to collect them. If you intend to have guests staying over, just notify the receptionists beforehand and you might even get a complementary mattress! The King’s Wi-Fi network is available on all campuses and halls of residences, so you’ll always stay connected to the Internet. There’s also a common room where orientation events and fun parties are held throughout the year. Tenants are free to use it for group discussions as well.                                                                                                                              A piece of advice when planning your budget – there may be more than 4 weeks in month, so calculate your rent accordingly. An annual term should start in September and end in June, and you’re more than welcomed to leave your belongings here during the holidays.

I would highly recommend staying at a King’s residence in your first year, as dealing with landlords and bills is not exactly the easiest thing to do when you’re still new to the city. However, regardless of which halls you’re allocated to, you can rest assured that you’ll meet amazing new friends and perhaps even forge friendships that will last beyond your university days.