Student Life & Why You should Participate

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I believe I am paraphrasing Woody Allen when I am saying that 80 percent of life is just showing up.

Although I just had a discussion way too early in the morning in my kitchen regarding the exact extent to which this statement rings true, I am sure there is a lot of truth in it when you apply the sentiment to university life – especially the first few weeks!

The thought of studying in a big city can be daunting at times and I get that, possibly feeling lost in the anonymity of the crowds flooding the metropolis, and as strange as it might sound, the trick is to immerse yourself in it… the craze, the buzz, the pulse – hey, just dive right in. When you start your course you’re not all by yourself anyway! King’s in one way or another is an anchor, a community for you to make friends and even explore things outside of your field of study.

Find yourself in the heart of the city – make the most of your time at King’s!

King’s will throw a lot of event opportunities at you: department mixers, subject discussions, career workshops, sector insights talks, society events, you name it. Your social calendar (and I mean social in a very loose sense, after all social and academic / professional greatly overlap here) can be as full as you like and I really do encourage you to keep yourself busy! This is where Woody comes back in again: show up, that’s all I’m saying. Things will also calm down as term goes by, so it won’t always be as hectic as the first handful of weeks, but it’s a wonderful time window for you to meet lots and lots of new people and discover what uni life has to offer.

Even if socialising with people you have never met before isn’t your favourite thing to do, I still encourage you to give it a chance! Let’s say you attend a welcome drinks event hosted by your new department, these two scenarios are very likely to happen:

Option A: You are quite the extrovert and you spend the evening happily engaging with new peers, perfect!

Option B: You feel a bit alone in this unfamiliar situation, but guess what, you are definitely not the only person who feels this way, so spot your allies at the event. You can bond over mutual perceived awkwardness. Oh, and it’s always a smart move to congregate around the snacks table I’d say!

Keep an open mind and be curious!

Student societies in particular can be such a vital part of your time at King’s. I remember even going to a KCL Folk Society meet-up in my first year, which didn’t go that well, since I’m neither very familiar with lots of folk tunes, nor particularly good at side reading music. But hey, I found out that wasn’t the right fit for me. However, I had a fantastic time going to events organised by the Film Society, or the King’s Players Improv group. I even got to participate in open mic nights and other musical events organised by the King’s Record and those are genuinely some of my favourite memories! A lot of my friends also got to travel with the societies they’re in as well and not just sports based societies, as the Ukulele Society also went abroad too.

Bottom line line is, as time goes by you’ll find your people, you’ll figure out how you want to spend your time. But the best way to find out is to give it an honest shot. Like Woody said, 80 percent is just showing up, and that is really something very, very doable!

Entertainment Spots in London

If you think that university life mainly revolves around attending lectures, rushing to complete the next assignment and spending sleepless nights in the library, you’re… actually absolutely spot-on. But that doesn’t mean you can’t afford to have a little fun along the way, right? Right? (It’s honestly in these moments of self-deception that I indulge excessively and consequently subject myself to last-minute revision.)

Well, I think that’s enough information on my procrastination habits. So what exactly can you do in London to have fun? The answer to that question would obviously vary according to what your idea of “fun” is, but for this article I’ll assume that all of you enjoy the dorky forms of entertainment that I revel in, which is essentially anything to do with music.

Drama geeks would absolutely rejoice in the fact that the West End, which houses the majority of London’s theatres, is literally just minutes away from the Strand campus. I don’t mean to brag (yes, I totally do), but I’m guilty of having watched most of the current productions, and there was literally not a single one that disappointed me. From the spine-tingling murder mystery of The Mousetrap to the soaring vocals that define Wicked, every production is bound to keep you thoroughly entertained. Just between you and me: most musicals have day-seat policies, which essentially mean there’s a chance of you getting a heavily-discounted ticket if you queue up dead early at the box office.

I’ve been in orchestras all my life, so you could imagine my excitement upon finding out that I was staying mere minutes away from the Royal Festival Hall, which frequently showcases concerts by world-renowned orchestras, among other performances. A handy app called Student Pulse offers discounted tickets to students and is definitely worth having in your device. If classical music doesn’t sound appealing to you, fret not as London is virtually on every major musician’s tour stop due to its wide array of concert venues such as the O2. My inner fangirl was unleashed in all its glory when I attended a Shawn Mendes concert this year, which I shamelessly prioritised over my finals which were held the following week (sorry, mum). It’s worth looking out for music festivals as well if you’re not a die-hard fan of any particular artist.

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(British Museum)

When I first stepped into the heart of London, it struck me that I was literally surrounded by history. As you walk along any of the bustling streets in the city, it’s hard to not envision the many historical events that transpired on the same street that you’re walking on, besides the many undiscovered secrets that it still holds. Heck, part of the Strand campus is actually Somerset House’s east wing, and the Maughan Library was originally the national Public Records Office. If you’re a true history buff, head over to the British Museum and be prepared to spend an eternity wandering through the imposing sculptures of Ancient Egypt and the glistening treasures of Medieval Europe. Fans of Jurassic Park should definitely make a bee-line to the Natural History Museum as it has an extensive collection of imposing dinosaur relics.

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(Maughan library)

Something I’ve really enjoyed doing the past year was hanging out in the many parks that adorn the city. Amongst the towering skyscrapers and the throngs of pedestrians, lie expansive parks where you can take a break and gather your thoughts. Hyde Park and Regent’s Park are perhaps the most renowned ones in London, but there are plenty of other quaint parks that you’ll discover along the way. Other places of interest would be the art galleries here, and some of my cheekier friends take immense pleasure in captioning the unique – and sometimes undecipherable – artworks displayed at Tate Modern. To cap off a long day of adventuring, head over to the Sky Garden for a breathtaking bird’s-eye view of the city.

If anyone ever tells you that London gets boring quickly, they either have been imprisoned in an underground dungeon (that got dark very quickly) or more likely, they just haven’t read my awesome blog. Jokes aside, the possibilities are virtually endless in this vibrant city as long as you are eager to explore for them.

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?