My three years of undergraduate experience at UCL have been rewarding – I am confident to say that I have made the most out of my time at university. From meeting new people to exploring new talent, the opportunities to be involved with organisations and social events while pursuing my degree has definitely added extra colours into this chapter of my life. Here are some of the things that I have truly enjoyed and cherished throughout my undergraduate years!
1. Clubs and Societies
Museums: my second home
While I was in UCL, I took my passion for ‘museums-hopping’ to another level by joining UCL Museums Society in my first year. I had the chance to join guided tours (for free or at discounted rates) with the society at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Royal Academy of Music Museum, the Charles Dickens Museum and many more. Since I have enjoyed the weekly excursions organised by the society, I decided to dedicate my time for that small community by running for the Events Manager position. I was elected for the role in my second year and I had taken up the Treasurer position in my third year. I had the opportunity to join training sessions with the Student Union for I was one of the three Principal Officers of the society. The training, as well as my experience of being part of the committee had taught me a lot about events organisation and finance management. Apart from delegating with museum officers to organise tours and talks, we had also conducted our own walking tours around UCL on the history of Eugenics!
Content Creator and Designer: the unexplored talent
I had no prior experience in designing when I first applied to be part of the UCL Islamic Society Media Team in my first year. When I joined the team, the society had conducted a workshop on poster designing using Adobe Photoshop. I continued to improve my designing skill through staying as part of the team in my second year, as well as taking up a new role of the Media Lead for UCL Students4Syria (S4S). While I was with UCL S4S, I wasn’t only designing posters for society events, but I was also in charge of the society’s Facebook page – I officially began to venture into copywriting! Consequently, I hold a few Media positions in other organisations to apply and improve my designing and copywriting skills.
That said, I would highly encourage signing up for clubs and societies and keeping an eye on new opportunities! You never know what you’ll discover without putting yourself out of your comfort zone and take the freedom to explore – “everyone is gifted, but some people never open their packages”.
2. Volunteering – my weekly escape
As a student who was reading a subject that partly depends on self-learning, I would usually have only 12-15 contact hours in a week (a 2-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial/seminar for each module) – and I was left with allocating my own time to write essays and do the compulsory readings. Therefore, I was able to dedicate myself to volunteering on a weekly basis. Apart from assisting UCL Special Collections with archive work on Wednesdays in my first year, I also volunteered as a gallery steward in The Foundling Museum on most Saturdays during my second year. Volunteering only took around 2-3 hours of my time in a week, yet it was one of the things that I had excitedly looked forward to as a new week started.
Looking for volunteering opportunities has been made easy through the Student Union’s Volunteering Directory. I would definitely recommend volunteering for those who have the time to do so! It has granted me a fulfilling experience – aside from being one of the ways I can take my mind off academic work!
3. IoA (Institute of Archaeology) Community
Being part of a close-knit institution, I was blessed with supportive people throughout my undergraduate journey. Fieldwork and excursions had tightened my bonds with my peers. Apart from being surrounded with thoughtful course mates, I have also gained invaluable technical and wellbeing support from my personal tutor and transition mentors. Our academic administrator and student experience officer also offer amazing services and are readily available for any enquiries or assistance. The staff in the IoA library are also very friendly and accommodating. In general, the IoA is a very enjoyable place to be in, with pleasant companies!
Overall, I don’t think it’s too much to say that my undergraduate journey in UCL has been life changing. Needless to say, being part of societies’ committee and volunteering has definitely helped me in improving my English as well as communication skills. I am extremely glad that I decided to sign up for societies and participate in things outside of my academic commitment, despite the challenges in juggling between university assignments and extra-curricular responsibilities (and things for pleasure!). After all, it’s through managing things on your own in university that you acquire meaningful lessons in life and begin to recognise your passion, values and beliefs. Having said that, I hope you will be able to make the most out of your time in UCL too!