As a third-year Management Science student, my time at university has come to an end, I can’t help but feel conflicting emotions. While I am certainly happy to have completed a challenging degree and proud of my achievements, I’m also overwhelmed to think about the next chapter of my life.
With that mindset, I have found myself reflecting on my time at UCL as an undergraduate student and thinking about things I wish I knew that would have made the experience even more enjoyable and that I’d like to share in my final blog post to help new students at UCL SoM!
Make the most out of university resources and events
University has more to offer than just courses and libraries.
You can join societies, attend events organised by the university and of course, take advantage of all the resources provided to improve academically and professionally, etc. All it takes is for you to make that first step.
One of my biggest regrets was not joining a society I was interested in during my second year. I convinced myself I didn’t have the time and preferred sticking with my established routine. Don’t make the same mistake, and definitely check out all societies available at UCL to see which one piques your interest then join it!
You should also consider all available opportunities on offer such as student rep, Unibuddy ambassador, volunteering and much more. For instance, I was hesitant to apply to the role of Unibuddy ambassador in my last year as I was once again afraid to disrupt my routine. I finally decided to take on this part-time job that ended up being one of the best parts of my University experience and the reason I’m able to share my insights with you today.
As I said previously, it’s easy to get caught up in a routine, which isn’t necessarily bad but sometimes it impedes you from fully exploring the city.
London is truly a breathtakingly beautiful, lively and diverse city so make sure to enjoy a maximum of all the experiences it has to offer. Think about writing down a Bucket List including all places you’d like to see, restaurants or cafés you’d like to try before leaving London. Some things I loved doing include:
- Organising a picnic and watching the sunset with friends from Primrose Hill
- Walking through Portobello Road Market and Notting Hill’s colorful houses
- Roaming through the Waterloo Bridge book market
- Going to Winter Wonderland!!
- Visiting lots of museums
- Aimlessly walking down London’s streets (especially around UCL) and discovering small coffee shops
Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. It’ll make your journey so much more exciting and memorable!
Struggling is normal (on all fronts)
My last piece of advice would be: don’t be hard on yourself!
Coming to university, I’m sure most of us expect to experience what has always been promoted as the “Best years of our lives”. The reality is that it’s not all positive and it’s meant to be challenging. Your time at University will most likely see you experience some of your highest highs but also your lowest lows, and that’s okay.
Struggling to adjust is normal.
As an international student, transitioning from school to university was just as frightening as it was exciting and I worried I wouldn’t be able to adjust to the new environment. The truth is it can be hard but thinking about how everyone is in the same boat helps. Everyone wants to make friends and the sooner you’ll realise this you’ll find a group of fellow students you just click with. You’ll miss your family and as cliché, as it sounds I can assure you nothing is truer than the phrase: “Time will make it better”. Just don’t put pressure on yourself!
As someone who placed too much importance on academic validation until two years ago (an unhealthy mindset I don’t recommend having), getting a grade lower than expected or failing to secure an internship was hard to manage.
However, I learned that dwelling on it for too long is unnecessary! All it does is waste your time and impact your mental health and trust me it’s not worth it. Because the truth is, in the long run, it won’t matter and won’t stop you from achieving your goals.
I failed to secure what I believed was my dream internship after working hard for it but here I am thriving, working on projects that make me feel happy and fulfilled.
My experiences at UCL, both good and bad, helped me develop skills and knowledge I will be able to put to practice in order to overcome life’s challenges. So no matter what your journey looks like or how different it is from your expectations, you are definitely learning and growing no matter what! Persevere, enjoy the ride and be kind to yourself!
About the Author
Nada Abi is a third-year Management Science student and Unibuddy Ambassador.