School of Geography

Student Voice: My first few weeks as a Postgraduate

This year we will be following Development and Global Health MA student, Lotte Veale. In her first post, Lotte shares her experiences in the first few weeks of studying with us.

4 November 2019

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Lotte Veale, Development and Global Health MA student

Settling in at Queen Mary University of London could not have been easier. As I had not attended any of the open days, my first time on campus was for my enrolment, which took place in The Octagon building, what a beautiful place for first impressions! The staff were all lovely and so welcoming. My enrolment was smooth and took only 5 minutes max! 

I moved into Aspire Point Halls in Stratford on the weekend of the 14th September, which meant that I had a full week of settling into London life before fully starting my course. As someone new to London, this was great. It gave me time to get to know the local area, and do some great touristy things before having to think about course content, assessments and readings etc…!

The School of Geography held an induction day for all masters and PhD students at the end of this first week. This worked well for me; moving to London in itself is something that takes a lot of thought and familiarisation, so knowing that I didn’t have to attend a full blown induction just a couple days after moving in was a big relief. 

There are many options for accommodation as a postgraduate student (private housing, other halls etc…) but Aspire Point made the whole settling in process a lot less daunting and comfortable. It’s around a 15-20 minute bus journey, one stop on the tube or a 35-40 minute walk down the road from the Mile End Campus; it’s a great location and really accessible for all my lectures and seminars. 

After one week of settling in, my modules were chosen and my timetable was finalised ready for Week 1 of the academic year. Of course I was nervous starting lectures at postgraduate level, it’s all new, and there was definitely an anticipation that the step up from undergraduate to postgraduate would be too much. But after my first seminar I immediately knew I could do this and fell in love with the course and the School of Geography. It really is such a welcoming community full of passionate researchers that make you feel so at home. 

As a postgraduate student, there is a feeling of friendship between us and the staff, which I really love. They are always encouraging us to use their designated office hours and make use of that extra help available to us. 

In terms of the load work, it definitely is a step up from undergraduate; but obviously that’s expected! On my course you’re expected to do 3 to 4 readings per seminar, per week, and I have 3 seminars a week! It’s an achievable amount and doing the readings really pays off. So far, I have found fitting in the readings as well as writing the first of the assessments manageable. I’m sure the workload will increase dramatically but I’ve found that keeping on top of it has been adaptable so far.

As I am writing this, I have just entered Week 4, but I genuinely feel like I have been at QMUL for months. Because of the friendliness, support and access to a community, settling in has been such an easy and straightforward process. In only four weeks, I have completely settled, made amazing friends on my course, joined the campus gym, become a Geography ambassador, explored lots of London and become familiar with little things like transport, the local area, the health service, the library, the campus cafes and lots more! 

Although I knew by the end of my first day that I had made the right decision, I can now definitely say, at the beginning of Week 4 that I could not be happier with my decision to study at Queen Mary as a postgraduate.