In this blog, we spoke to Queen Mary University of London student Aleena Shahzad. Aleena is entering her second year studying Psychology at the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences (SBCS). She discusses what students should expect in their first few weeks at the University and offers some pieces of advice.
What should students expect in the first few weeks at Queen Mary?
My first few weeks at Queen Mary went by in flash - From moving into my new room and meeting my flatmates as well as other friends at the on campus club Drapers, to my first few lectures where I was thrown into learning all about Brain and Behaviour. It was scary at first, of course it is - an unfamiliar place, with new faces and studies that move at twice the speed of classes in secondary school, but Queen Mary had a very welcoming environment. Everyone I met was friendly, everyone as anxious yet excited as the person next to them. A new student can expect to make many friends and be engaged in their studies if they put themselves out there and stay on top of lectures and seminars.
How did Queen Mary help you settle into life as a university student?
Queen Mary was very helpful with this as there are many opportunities to make friends such as club nights at Drapers, or through the society fair. As well as this there is the gym which offers discounted membership in the first term, and a Get Active programme which you can come to and play sports such as badminton or volleyball and meet new people.
What advice do you have for students starting university in September?
My advice to people joining in September would be 'don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Everyone is in the same boat. Try as many new things as you can. You'll find some things you'll really enjoy and some things you'll might not, but at least you tried them otherwise you'd never know. Don't be afraid to just go up to people and talk to them. As for studies, be sure to come to lectures and take notes on everything and when you go home filter out the things that seem not as important until you get all the key points. Borrow books from the library, most of the information is on the slides but there is some additional reading.
One thing I learned from the Freshers Week is this: you don't have to go out every night. Personally, clubbing isn't my thing, but I never felt left out because I made friends with people in and around the halls. You can hang out with them at night as well, and it’s free. Furthermore, Queen Mary is close to the cinema so going out is not limited to just Freshers’ events. My other advice is too have fun. First year is the best year of university. Things are starting to get serious in life but you still have this time to enjoy yourself and make long lasting friends and memories.
What are you looking forward to next year?
Next year, I hope to study better because now I kind of have an idea on how I study best and how to improve my grades and not leave assignment submissions too close to the deadline. I am also looking forward to learning new things in more depth and gaining more experience. And, of course, I am looking forward to seeing my friends again, joining more societies and taking part in more extra curricular activities.