1 August 2016
My favourite thing about Queen Mary is how friendly everyone is. I first visited the campus when I was at school for a robotics workshop and feel like I've fitted in ever since. When I say you fit in here, I don’t mean you become a blur in the crowd - you get to create your own unique experience within a supportive environment. For example, I'm involved with a sports programme called Get Active. We run around forty different sports sessions a week and have the chance to train with professionals. I've also performed at spoken word events, been a steward at a pancake race, volunteered at the London Marathon, and this summer I’m going to study Spanish in Colombia as part of Queen Mary’s summer school programme. I've never been to South America before so I’m really excited. You get to try a lot here.
In the first year of my degree, we went on a trip to Durham which was really fun. It was an insightful experience, and we had the chance to speak to academics about their research in person. Our trip happened to be the week after the first PEGIDA march in the UK, in Newcastle, where we were going as part of the trip. I was a bit worried at first, but we had the chance to speak to representatives of UAF (Unite Against Fascism) as a result and get first-hand experience of populism against division in action. We had a great time talking to locals around Newcastle about differences in identity, which really got us thinking about our class-based learning in a different setting. I particularly enjoyed asking the academics we met questions about their research, and also enjoyed chatting to them personally at the end of talks.
I’m currently working for the Students’ Union as a Student Activator, promoting and delivering our recreational sports programme called GetActive. We run around forty sports sessions a week, and we also have the chance to do the sports we love with professionals. I’m passionate about encouraging people to participate in campus sports and get moving and healthy! I regularly do badminton and table tennis through GetActive, which is great fun and you meet students that you might not have met otherwise. Having a job on campus is great because you’re working and studying in the same space! I like to get involved with various volunteering opportunities with QMSU Volunteering and I’ve been involved in activities such as teaching people English through them. Outside of QMSU Volunteering, I volunteer independently. For example, I volunteered at the Vitality World Triathlon where a highlight was meeting Jodie Stimpson, a professional British triathlete!
I attended a recent careers event aimed at geographers and environmental scientists, which was very useful. There were people there to chat to who had gone into different careers in the field, such as international development, as well as young entrepreneurs who had started up their own businesses in related sectors. I’ve also gone in for a 20 minute individual consultancy with a careers advisor to get some advice and information on summer internships and volunteering opportunities, which helped get me thinking about careers options.
I’ve actually taken the opportunity to go on a summer school program to study Spanish in Colombia which I’m very excited about. I’ve also had the chance to meet other QMUL students who are going, and we’ve been organising our flights together and getting to know each other before the trip. They seem like a lovely bunch of people and I can’t wait for the programme to start!
Everything is here! I live at home, but I had loads of friends who lived on campus in our first year so we were always hanging out together in the coffee shops or restaurants on campus. Our campus is close to everything, from the City to Westfield. You can always pop into campus or go out and about around central London, and I often go to Senate House Library for a change of scenery. Wherever you go on campus, everyone is really friendly and up for having a chat. If I’m studying at the library, I rarely go home for breaks and just meet friends around campus to take some time off.
I don’t feel much of a difference, as most of my friends are second years who live off campus and commute in. I live in east London, so if I have forgotten something I can just go back home quickly which is convenient.
Have faith and do your research thoroughly. Be hopeful and faithful, and most importantly be realistic. Is this something you really want to study? Choose it because you want to do it, and not just for the sake of it. And choose somewhere where you definitely do want to study, where you’re comfortable, because you want your university experience to be as rich as it can be, and you want to achieve as high as you can within education. Clearing will be stressful, but it will definitely be worth it in the end, because you’ll get to where you wanted to be.