A Letter To First Year Students

Dear First Year Students, 

How are you finding your experience at King’s College London? I understand that adapting to this new format of online learning might be difficult and may not be the experience you imagined. However, I thought I would share my tips on how to make the most of your time at university.

After completing one undergraduate degree and now starting my masters, I have learnt that university is what you make of it. We all have our motivations to pursue a journey in higher education, whether it be taking a step towards your career goals or undergoing a journey of self-discovery. Whatever your reason, I believe that I can share some valuable insights that will appeal to a range of motivations.

 

NETWORK

Whether your motivation for pursuing an undergraduate degree is for self-discovery or your career, networking can help you achieve this. Take the time to create a list of societies that appeal to you and actively engage with their events. You can demonstrate this by participating in quizzes or asking questions to industry professionals. Networking can help you meet like minded people but also aid you on your journey to identify what makes you happy.

 

STAY ORGANISED

You must be sick and tired of hearing your parents and lecturers yell down your ears that “organisation is a highly valuable skill.” Well, I am here to echo that message as I believe that organisation can help you create a system which can develop a healthy balance between your academic and leisure life. It can also decrease stress levels, especially in the lead up to exams and deadlines. 

Finding a system that works best for you takes time, so I would recommend trying various techniques to explore what works best. I thought I would share the strategies I use to help you find your perfect routine. 

  1. I would recommend utilising a planner (either physical or digital), so you can monitor your tasks and it encourages you to complete assignments you have set yourself.
  2. Use post-it notes as a tracking system to observe your progress for each task. I have three small pieces of cards which say the following: ‘to do’, ‘in progress’ and ‘complete.’ I then stick the cards using blu-tack on my wall as task headings. Then write down one task per note and place them under the appropriate headings. This gives me a sense of fulfilment when moving a task from ‘to do’ to ‘complete.’
  3. Create a schedule you can implement each week such as covering a module’s lecture and reading material on a specific day. To help with this, I ask my lecturer when they upload their materials online and allocate my time according to their upload schedule.
  4. Create a study group dedicated to reflecting on the readings or lecture materials so you can fill in any gaps in your knowledge. This strategy can inspire you to keep motivated and organised during your studies.

 

SEEK INTERNSHIPS

This advice is perfect for people who have a clear career path but also for individuals who are exploring what they want to pursue. I would recommend using the Careers and Employability university service to find internship opportunities but you can broaden your search using LinkedIn and Google.

After my first year in the summer, I interned in the fashion industry for three companies; two were during London Fashion Week and the other internship provided me with an everyday experience in the realm of public relations. I am very grateful for the internships as I have learnt a lot about the fashion industry and I was able to develop my practical skill set. I understood what I enjoyed and what activities I found less interesting. This journey of self-discovery puts me in a great position to identify the industry and job I want to pursue.

Besides this, I have developed a range of transferable skills including communication, teamwork, presentation, organisation and leadership. These are great skills for my resume to show my future employers that I am a suitable candidate for the positions I apply for.

Seeking internships can allow you to develop strong bonds in the industry but it also broadens your knowledge of various practises.

 

LEARN THE ART OF COOKING

Yes, we live in the digital age where it is easy to click a button on a device to have your food transported directly to your front door. However, cooking is an art form you should master as it has helped me to level up my health and save a lot of money.

 

INDULGE IN A HOBBY

My biggest mistake in my final year was that I became consumed by my academic work as I entered a cycle of 'wake up, study, eat, study and sleep.’ This lifestyle had a major drawback, so I often encourage students to not fall into the same trap that I did. It is important to change up your routine by indulging in a hobby; mine was exercising. This allowed me to unwind and pause my racing thoughts to disconnect from the world. Having a hobby allowed me to regain a balance in my life between academic work and leisure time.

 

I hope you have found my suggestions helpful and I wish you all the best in your journey at university.

 

Kind regards,

Her Campus at KCL