Exams are finally done and there goes my first year! It is crazy to think that being in a three-year course would eat up a lot of time but now I’m done with one-third of the way as we speak. In the grand scheme, life passes by in the blink of an eye. I would honestly say this year has been one of the greatest years in my life. It started from coming here alone without anyone that I know, a shy Indonesian kid that tried to make his very first friend. I went through thick and thin with my closest friends that eventually found me, and helped me with the struggles that I face, may it be my studies or even my relationship problems! I’ve got to learn that there are good people out there that become your good friends and that you can depend on them regardless of many circumstances.
I even joined clubs here that promoted my physical well-being, simultaneously allowing me to experience further university life and what it feels to be like to be in an international environment. I managed to even experience working part-time in a foreign country, and performed several gigs around London with my band. However, we should all keep in mind that this would not be able to be achieved if all we do is stay in our comfort zone. Reach out of your comfort zone – be tired, be ambitious, be stressed, and in the long-run, you will realise that you have become a stronger version of yourself, and that everything done was worth it. Now that my first year is over, I can’t wait to see what lies ahead in my second year!
Like a lot of university students, I work part-time. Not only is it great to have a bit of extra spending money on top of my maintenance loan, I think working part time is a really good way to gain professional experience. Also, since I started working, I believe I got better with organising my time. I have to fit work around my studies, and the only way to do this is to manage my time efficiently. Time management is a key skill and I believe it will come in handy in the future, after university.
Nevertheless, always remember: your degree comes first. I would recommend that you find work that’s quite flexible so your education is not compromised in any way. Whatever you do, don’t overcommit at work because then you wouldn’t have enough time for studying and assignments, and might feel overwhelmed. You need to look after yourself first and foremost. You may want to work less during term time and work more during the holidays. This summer I made the monumental mistake of not working. I told myself: ‘I have finished my first year at university so I deserve a break’. I was bored after a week. By the time this realisation hit me, all jobs were gone. I think the best thing to do is apply as early and as widely as possible.
My friend, Dina and I at Campus Tour Training. We run Campus Tours so prospective students can get a better idea about what a university campus looks like.
I have to admit, I have heard some horror stories from my friends about horrible bosses and rude customers, but fortunately for me, I have never experienced such distressing things. I have had admin jobs before – I am not going to bore you by writing about the exciting world of photocopying! My favourite jobs, by far, are my current roles as an Ambassador for the School of English and Drama (SED), and a Widening Participation Student Ambassador. I have gained a lot of transferable skills from being an Ambassador. It has increased my confidence, improved my communications skills and helped to make me a better team player. I have talked about my job as a SED Ambassador before in this blog, so I will tell you a bit more about Widening Participation.
My fellow Student Ambassadors – Dina and Hanya
Most, in fact I think it is all, universities in the UK have a Widening Participation Department. Statistically, if you: are someone whose parents did not attend Higher Education; are eligible for free school meals; have parents who are from non-professional occupations; have a disability; are a young carer; are estranged from your family, or have lived, or are currently living, in local authority care, you are less likely to apply to university. The aim of Widening Participation is to address this, and encourage young people from these social backgrounds to consider attending university.
My job as a Student Ambassador is to engage and interact with school students, and to provide an insight into university life. For instance, this summer, I helped run the Year 9 Humanities Summer School at Queen Mary. This was one of my favourite projects! A group of students from our local schools got to spend a week as a university student, attending lectures, workshops, and a theatre trip. My task was to supervise them throughout the day, as well as to take part in Q&A sessions – answering questions about student life. We run lots of events throughout the year, I am going to include a link to the Widening Participation website below so you can check out what we are all about.
Widening Participation at Queen Mary: http://www.qmul.ac.uk/undergraduate/teachers/wp/index.html
If you’re a university student, you probably know that student life isn’t easy. Juggling assignments, part time work and fun takes effort. Some of us have the same day everyday, but for most students that’s not the case. For me, some days are busy as ever and others I do barely anything.
People say, second year is the hardest of them all, as the jump from year 1 to year 2 is massive. But personally, apart from the increase in the number of midterms, I would say anyone can get through it (with a bit of coffee and library time). I thought it would be useful to give you an insight into the life of a second year QMUL student.
7 am – 9am: Wake up and have breakfast if you’re lucky
Most of my days start quite early, even though you don’t have lectures till late, I find its useful to get up early and use the time to do your class work, catch up on reading or even go for that morning run.
Breakfast for me is a challenge as I’m never hungry so early. I’ve found a remedy – the nutribullet. It’s the best smoothie maker around and makes for a refreshing and healthy breakfast.
The Nutri bullet is the best kitchen appliance
9am – 9:45am: Tube journey
A big part of every student’s life is the dreaded commute (unless you live on campus). London Underground can be unreliable with its random tube strikes, but its quick and the best we’ve got. As long as you travel after 7am rush hour, you’ll have a pleasant journey.
My journey isn’t too long, you’ll be surprised how quick 45 minutes passes when you’ve got your favourite songs on loop and the metro in your hand.
9:45am – 10am: Starbucks time
Stepping out of Mile End station, you’ll find a range of coffee shops on the way to campus (both Starbucks and Costa), perfect for that morning coffee. Just don’t get sucked into their loyalty schemes, there’s no coming back once you start collecting stars on the Starbucks app.
Starbucks thinks of it all
10am – 12pm: Classes
Every student within “the school of economics and finance” has four, 1 hour classes per week. Classes are usually handy to understand what goes on in lectures and grasp key concepts through practical problems. Just don’t forget to attempt the problem sets before you come to class!
When I’m early for class, for once
12pm-4pm: Student Communications Intern duties
Working part-time is normal for students, we need the experience and sometimes the money. For me, I love my job and enjoy the work I do as a QMUL student communications intern; writing the student newsletter, working with QMSU and researching student news stories. My role has really given me good exposure to the field of higher education marketing and communications. I intern for 10 hours a week within the QMUL communications office on campus, which is great as I don’t have to travel.
Skipping lunch, used to be my thing but not anymore – you have to make time for it. I usually bring something with me or dash to the ground café on campus for a Panini.
My desk in the comms office!
Promoting the NSS as an intern
4pm – 6pm: Lecture
Economics students have four, 2 hour lectures a week, which tend to be nicely spread out. Lectures lay the foundations for your modules and without them I would be so lost, economics is about much more than demand and supply. Most of our lecturers are engaging and make learning a rewarding experience.
You need a coffee to survive a 6pm lecture
6pm-7pm: Fashion Society event
I recently started a Fashion Society at QMSU – best decision ever!I’ve really enjoyed running it this year as president. I usually organise events, skills sessions, club nights and day trips for members. I try to keep in mind that students have classes during the day, so many events are after 6pm. However, Wednesday afternoons are left free from teaching for society events.
QMSU is completely student-run. If you’re passionate about something you can take that further and find people with similar interests. Running a society has let me live student life at its best and meet people from a range of courses.
10pm: Netflix catch up
If I’ve got exams, then this step isn’t really a good choice. But, I like to relax watching some of my favourite TV series (i.e. Pretty Little Liars) after a long day. Before I fall asleep on my iPad.
Time to relax 🙂
Don’t be scared, my days don’t all end this late. On a Friday, I’m off at noon to do what I want. To be honest, every day is different – as cliché as that may sound, it’s really true. As a student, you have the chance to do so many different things and discover yourself, be sure to make the most of your time at QMUL.
This is a question I asked myself towards the end of my first year, and again now, halfway through my second year. At university, summer breaks are long (around 3 months!) which is obviously a lot of time to fill. Some choose to work, others go on holiday and some students just go home and don’t do anything at all. I thought I’d talk you through a few options, in case you, like me, want to occupy your summer doing something productive!
1) Get an Internship – this is the primary thing on my mind at the moment. As a second year student, I’m aware that time is quickly running out at uni and I’m beginning to worry slightly about what I’m going to do in the future. I don’t think that it’s generally enough anymore to just get a degree when you’re looking to qualify yourself for your future prospective career. You need experience in that field! You need to know if you’re going to like it, and you need something under your belt to show a future employer that you’re keen, you’re experienced and they should hire you. Universities themselves can offer may opportunities for summer work experience, but theres also plenty online at your fingertips too. I’ve even started doing an internship during term-time as well, just as an extra boost to my CV.
2) Work – Students are renowned for not being the MOST financially stable, so working over summer and actually earning some money for yourself (so you aren’t so dependent on your overdraft or mum and dad) is never a bad idea. I actually spent the summer after finishing my first year doing a summer working season in the French Alps. Although working a season doesn’t mean you earn the most money, it does offer the opportunity to meet a tonne of new people, work abroad (!!!) and it keeps you busy. I thoroughly enjoyed last summer and I would always always recommend to anyone to do the same/or a similar thing, I think it taught me so much about myself (cliche, I know, but true), and it did allow me to start my second year of uni with a bit of extra cash and a bunch of new friends from all over the country. But alternatively, you could just work at home (which admittedly, would make you earn more money) and make paying your own bills the next year a whole lot easier!
3) Find a New Hobby – Summer is the perfect time to find something new to get yourself stuck into. It’s three months, without the stress of uni and the freedom to do whatever you like. So get stuck in and enjoy yourself! Theres nothing worse than coming back and not having any stories to tell your new friends!
4) Go on Holiday – as important as I think it is to be productive in your summer break, it is also important to relax too! You’ve spent the last however-many months in the library or in your little uni room working your socks off, so do take a well deserved break to detox, relax and have fun.
5) Use it as an Opportunity to Read Ahead – Through summer it’s very easy to forget uni exists and to be honest, forget everything you learnt the year prior, so maybe spend an hour or so a week just reading through old notes, reading ahead for next years modules, or just reminding yourself of a few key concepts to help yourself for the next term.
But more importantly – have fun!
I hope if you’re looking for something to do this summer these have been helpful, if anyone has any more suggestions, please leave them in the comments. Or alternatively, if you have any questions for me about anything I’ve mentioned here, please go ahead and ask in the comments too!
Fig. 1: During the listening activity (role-play) at the pass session. Myself (left), Krishna (right)
PASS, acronym for (Peer Assisted Study Support) is a programme which is run by the students, for the students. It is a study friendly zone set up as drop in sessions so it is not compulsory nor a waste of time as you decided if you want to come and when you want to come. The mentors help, guide, and support fellow students – whether 1st, 2nd or 3rd years in the department on a weekly basis. The support is not a teaching programme, however it is used to help the students through their studies on a 1-1 without feeling intimidated to approach lecturers (not that they are – lecturers are AWESOME).
Feedback from mentees at pass 2015/16:
1. “A very helpful session, i feel as though now i know how to reference which is key” – Aqeeb
2. “Very helpful, glad i came” – Fabio
3. “Useful for learning how to reference using the Harvard reference technique in reports” – Alfie
Fig. 2 Goodies from the training session, all thanks to Debbie and Fatheha
–> If you are interested in attending, please find us in room 108 in the geography department on Thursdays – between 2-3.
–> If you are interested in becoming a mentor 2016/17 please email the lovely Debbie and Fathea (Widening Participation) on further details for the upcoming pass training session.
Hey everyone, i’m Huseyin a Second Year Medical Engineering student at Queen Mary.
Welcome to my brand new blog !
I hope you will all enjoy what goes on at university from my point of view, and will follow me throughout my time at university.
When I finished my A-Levels in Biology, Chemistry, Maths and English Language and Literature, I thought college was over forever- How wrong I was “haha”. This week I went back to my college to give a talk at a parents evening and I must say, I had a really fun time. I had to speak on a microphone in front of a BIG audience of parents and spoke about what life was like as a university student. One of the things I mentioned was how independent students are, and how you start to learn more about yourself such as things you like that you didn’t before.
The main lesson I learned from this week’s experience being back at college was that it made me realize how much I have improved as a person in every way, such as being able to talk to a big crowd of strangers. There are also so many other things I want to tell you all in my next blogs such as, what I thought about university before I was accepted, or even things such as how I found my lectures (Lessons where a teacher-like person talks) in my first year.
If I covered a topic that didn’t interest you enough in this blog, I’m sure the next blogs will interest you hint: I have also previously took part in really cool societies where I made something fly in the air.
I can’t wait for my next blog … See you all soon !
It’s hard being a second year law student. From every direction we get bombarded with emails about what we have to do and how to do it, invitations to countless amazing events and other incredible options for involvement. But how to find the time to do it all? With all these amazing opportunities for career prospects and skill expansion it’s hard to pick the best ones. It’s important to note here, that I hate any kind of adages and maxims. The top of the list is graced by “having too many irons in the fire”. I have, consistently throughout my life refused to believe that there is such a thing as having too many things to do. With regards to all the amazing opportunities at uni I wasn’t going to change, so I marched to the nearest Ryman and got a fancy Moleskine calendar. If I was to squeeze the most out of all the possibilities I would have to learn how to organise my time very efficiently, almost to the second. And surprise surprise, I was able to attend all the events I wanted, get all my work on time and even fit in some leisure time. The advice is, if life gives you lemons make a hell load of lemonade.
BE THE NAPOLEON OF APPLICATIONS i.e. STRATEGY IS EVERYTHING
1. One of the best/worst things about being in your second year, is having to apply for vacation schemes and mini pupillage. Don’t underestimate the time and energy each application will take, this is really important. Open your Moleskine, which you should already have, and organise your time. I would suggest taking a few preparatory steps to get yourself ready:
2. Go down to the reception and get yourself one of those golden little books of miracles of all City Firms and Chambers.
3. Read it. I mean it. Very thoroughly. You’ll get a good idea of the entry requirements, types of firms, sponsorship opportunities and virtually everything you want and need to know before you put pen to paper.
4. Take out your highlighter and highlight all the firms you want to apply to. Don’t be too picky, each firm gets hundreds of applications. The bigger the firm the bigger the competition. Don’t limit yourself to a handful of firms. But certainly don’t apply everywhere either, you won’t be able to do it, and you’ll end up with a stash of bad applications which won’t get you anywhere. Decide on a fair amount of firms. I would suggest no more than 12.
5. Research every firm thoroughly. The most handy part of their website, is the Graduate Recruitment bit. Some firms even provide a pdf which will tell you everything you will need to know in order to apply, including core skills they will be looking for in applications. It’s spoon-feeding you success and guidance on how to write your application. Make notes on every firm you research. Get one of those mini notebooks that policeman have in mystery movies, make condensed notes, which you’ll use later on when applying.
6. Go online, and research how to write good applications. The internet is amazing, it will show you questions, helpful tips and tricks. Be prepared. Preparation and concentration are key.
7. Write your applications. You will be spending lots of time on this. Speaking from experience, each application will take you about a week. The process will get faster by the end, because many firms use the same service which will remember your basic details, like names, schools etc. This will save you lots of time. Look at the question, dissect it: what are they looking for? how are you going to demonstrate they you have all they qualities they are looking for? My advice: be a very confident, balancing on the verge of a little cocky. They want you and you know it. Make sure you tell them why you’re the best there is out there. Make sure you reference the firm a lot, show that you know the firm, and done your research. It looks impressive and you will come across as a decisive and determined candidate. NOTE! Some questions would be repeated, DO NOT be tempted to copy paste the answer you gave another firm, it’s very obvious when you do it.
8. Once you’ve written your applications, give them to you mum, nana, friend of a friendly Tesco cashier. Anyone who can read it, and tell you if it’s objectively good.
It’s here; the long anticipated 4 months off! With university exams over and freedom from your daily study routine, you are free to spend the next few months the way you like. Whether that’s waking up at 1pm everyday, watching a movie marathon every night, becoming a tourist or getting a summer job.
But many of us realise after 1 week of doing nothing and “chilling”, what was fun for a while, soon becomes boring. And we think, “now what?”
But making the most of summer is easier than you think. Instead of lazing around at home, think about travelling and exploring London everyday. Many beautiful parts of London are left unexplored by Londoner’s because they think they’ve seen it all, for example Shoreditch and Brick Lane. London has much more to it than, Leicester Square and Oxford Street.
Shaun the Sheep “Liverpool Street”
But when we talk about travelling, sky’s the limit. You don’t have to limit yourself to London. A weekend in Paris or a week in Barcelona, whatever it is, I suggest you do it now. Going abroad with friends is the best experience ever. You can go abroad for as little as £200, so trust me its not expensive.
You’re never too young for DisneyLand Paris
If travelling’s not for you, get a summer job. Not only is it great experience helping build your employability, but also if you pick the right job, it can be fun, not to mention it helps you earn a bit of extra cash. Companies are always looking for summer temps, and university students are the perfect fit. Queen Mary itself, hires many students to work on campus. Queen Mary has a great “Qtemps” service, which lists all jobs currently available for qmul students. If you are interested in any vacancy, it is super easy to apply using your qmul id. I’ve actually used this service and secured a few jobs in the past.
London “Bank Station”
But most of all, summer is a time to just have fun! Take a few days out now and then, to just go out, party, eat, shop or do whatever makes you happy. For most of us, this will be one of the last few summers we have before we enter the working world, where we will get just a few weeks off. So make everyday count and have a great summer!
Tuition fees can be overwhelming, but for an international student thinking of studying in London there are many options to help ease the burden of paying for a degree. Scholarships, part-time work, and loans are how I am making ends meet while studying in London
Most universities offer scholarships, so make sure to get in touch with the financial department to see what’s offered through your school.
Don’t forget to check with your specific department. Often, scholarships are offered for a particular field and won’t be advertised on the general scholarship page. If you can’t seem to find any information, e-mail the department.
Check for scholarships specifically for international students. There aren’t as many of these, but most schools sponsor a few scholarships specifically for international students, masters students, non-traditional students, etc.
There are sometimes options with your home country for international studies….but not many. For example, in the US you have to be a genius or solving world hunger or something equally as impressive, AKA I didn’t even come close. Look into your options, but don’t be too disheartened if nothing seems to be applicable.
My scholarship has opened some amazing doors for me–here’s me with the president, Professor Simon Gaskell, at the International Scholars Reception.
Don’t rely on part-time work to help you pay tuition fees! If after scholarships you still have tuition left, make sure you take care of that either through personal funds or through a student loan.
Loans are the reality for a lot of people when pursuing an education in London. Work with your home government to try to get the best loans possible. For US students, that’s Perkins and Direct Subsidized loans before looking into Unsubsidized, PLUS, or private loans. Once you’ve been approved for your loans, work with your London university’s Financial Aid department to complete all the necessary paperwork and tasks to ensure your loan will be transferred to the right university. Queen Mary has an amazing flow chart and Excel document that walked me through the process step-by-step, and the FinAid people were wonderful and very helpful, which made for a hassle-free loan experience.
Once you’ve covered all the tuition, make sure you’ll have enough to live on as well…London is a VERY expensive place to live! I took out a larger loan than I needed to help me cover living expenses while studying, since I didn’t know whether or not I’d be able to find part-time work. Then if you are able to find a job once you’re here, you can use that income to enjoy life in London:
**If you have a Tier-4 (Student) visa, you are only allowed to work 20 hours per week.**
If you’re in the country on a Tier-4 (T4) visa, you have to be aware of restrictions other than just time. For example, I looked into tutoring as an option for part-time work, but since I’m T4 I can’t work freelance. Most tutoring agencies are freelance since tutoring is often 1-1 and at the request of the tutee. Luckily, I found a tutoring agency that had a scheduled timetable (aka not freelance) and have been working for them while studying.
Use your university’s job site to look for part-time opportunities on and around campus. Most job searching sites have filters so you can just see the part-time work available. Many of my friends found jobs as baristas at local cafes or as food service staff at restaurants or catering companies.
A third option (which you should be very cautious of when using) is Gumtree, the UK version of Craigslist. I found an amazing nanny job through Gumtree but I’ve heard horror stories of terrible families scamming college students for free childcare. If you choose to use Gumtree be very cautious, meet the family or employer before agreeing to anything (as many times as you need to be comfortable!), set and put in writing clear guidelines for what the expectations, duties, and pay will be, etc. I absolutely love my nanny job and there are great families out there, but don’t jump into anything if you don’t feel comfortable.
I love my nanny job 🙂
Takeaway Tidbit: Take the time to make sure you’ve looked into all your options for funding your degree in London.