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Archive for the 'Wellbeing' Category

How to decorate your halls room

By Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, on 21 September 2023

Female student sitting at her laptop with headphones on in her university halls room
Moving into halls can be nerve-wracking in terms of packing, especially if you come from outside the UK as you can’t bring everything you might want to decorate your new room with you.

As a 4th year UCL student, here are my tips on how to decorate your hall room:

  1. Take a step back and consider the layout. Most rooms come with a standardised layout, which isn’t necessarily the most efficient disposition. See if you could move the bed or the desk to make more space available. This newly emptied space shouldn’t necessarily be filled with stuff since that room is going to be where you spend most of your time; you need to leave yourself space to live.
  2. Be wary of attaching things to the walls. Most accommodation halls require a safety deposit, from which deductions will be made if there is any considerable damage to the room. Often, this includes paint chips on the wall due to blue tac, command hooks, adhesives, etc. To be able to have posters and pictures up on your room walls, I would recommend laying some painter’s tape before putting any adhesive on the wall, so later you can remove it and it will not leave much of a trace.
  3. It is also important to have good lighting. One of the biggest shocks for me during the first year was the fact that during winter the sun sets very early (around 4pm). So, it was very important for me to have good lighting in my room since natural light wasn’t an option. I recommend buying an additional bedside lamp with a warm-toned light bulb, especially if the ceiling light feels too white or abrasive.
  4. Finally, I would recommend not going too crazy on the decorations, since you will most likely be moving out in 9 months. Your room should be cosy and welcoming without it being too crowded.

Welcome, 1st year students, good luck moving and happy decoration!


This blog was written by Ines, MEng Biomedical Engineering

Tips for getting along with your new housemates

By Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, on 19 September 2023

Two female students sitting together with a cup of tea in their kitchen
The main thing that I was worried about before starting university was what would it be like living with a group of people I’d never met before! It can seem very daunting, as realistically it might be the one and only time in your life you have to move in with people you’ve never met before that day, but it’s important to remember everyone is feeling the exact same! The majority of UCL accommodations have smaller flats than at other universities outside of London. This gives it a much more family feeling, which is really nice, and also it means you know everyone pretty well within the first week. I shared a flat at Schafer House with 4 others, and here are some tips based on my experience I would share to make that transition as smooth as possible:

  1. I would highly recommend bringing a door stop or similar to prop your door open for the first day or two, as it’s much easier to break the ice when you first move in rather than days later when you inevitably awkwardly run into each other in the kitchen in pyjamas! Make the effort to start a conversation and find out lots about your flatmates, after all, you will be seeing a lot of them, and also try and do something together to make this feel more natural, even if it’s as simple as a trip to the supermarket to get that first food shop. I first met my flatmate Dion the morning after I moved in, and within 5 minutes we were heading to Lidl, only really learning the basics about each other en route! Almost a year on, we are best friends at uni, living together next year and have also visited each other’s houses this summer. Obviously, you don’t have to be best friends with everyone but be open to getting to know your flatmates, even if they have very different interests to you, as it’s just nice to come home after lectures to unwind with people you can have a great conversation with over dinner.
  2. Another thing I would recommend is to bring something to share when you move in! I brought a box of celebrations to leave on the kitchen table with a note, and food is always a good way to win people over. My flatmate Jack then one-upped me with a large crate of beer, so this can have other advantages when everyone wants to make a great first impression!
  3. It’s natural to want to come across as very easygoing during freshers, but whatever you do, don’t do people’s washing up for them and don’t offer all your food to everyone either! Hold people responsible for keeping the flat tidy from the beginning, and then hopefully it should stay that way. Be firm but also understand that you are all learning how to look after yourselves together, and some people may need some extra help.
  4. Plan some nice things to do as a flat during the daytime, as well as just nights out. Over the course of the year no doubt you will go to lots of club nights or trips to the student bars with your flat, but it’s important to still socialise and have nice things to do together during the days when you have fewer lectures, on weekends or after exam seasons. As a flat we went ice skating, swimming in Hampstead Heath ponds and even went on a trip to Venice! We also watched lots of tv together: football matches, UCL competing on University Challenge and The Apprentice (a firm favourite!). This all helps university feel more homely, and can be combined with a trip to get lots of snacks!
  5. Finally, check up on your flatmates as without your family there it’s important you all look after each other, and in many ways, they are your family for the year and everyone needs someone looking out for them, especially in what will be a very busy year!

This blog was written by Emily, Medical Physics

How to overcome homesickness and adjust to a new country

By Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, on 30 August 2023

girl standing next to a statue of a man

Me with the iconic JB during freshers week!

Moving to a different country can be a daunting experience, and it’s not uncommon to feel homesick while studying abroad. Feelings of being anxious, loneliness and isolation are totally normal in these situations. Been there, done that, and was it fun? Absolutely not. So here are some tips to combat this monstrosity!

1. Establish a Support Network

group of students Not gonna lie, easier said than done. UCL is a massive campus, and you might be thinking, how on earth do I meet new friends? Fortunately, UCL offers more than 300 societies that you can join. Additionally, there are events and activities, especially during the first few weeks like freshers week, where you can meet like-minded people. While it might be intimidating initially, remember that everyone participating in these activities is in the same boat as you. Here’s an underrated tip: don’t feel pressured to form your core group of friends right away. Stay open-minded, explore more clubs and societies, and have fun!😉Here is a photo with me at an Engineers Without Borders Society social!

2. Explore London

There is so much to do in this city waiting for you to discover. From musicals and markets to parks and museums, there is always something. Discover hidden gems in the city: cafes, bookshops, river canals, and more! There’s a wide range of delicious food to try (see my previous blog) from different cultures is nothing short of astounding.

parcel with Monsters Inc characters on it3. Ask to receive packages from home

Reach out to the people you miss the most and ask for their support. Personally, I craved the snacks from back home the most. Regular updates from loved ones can remind you that you aren’t forgotten and make you less lonely😊 Here is a photo of a care package my lovely fam sent me during my first year!


Studying abroad and adjusting to a foreign country might seem overwhelming, but it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If I can do it, you can too! UCL Cares is a fantastic resource that offers superb support when needed. I hope these tips provide some comfort, even if it’s just a teeny tiny bit haha😉Lastly, remember: you got this!!

This blog was written by Rachel, Biomedical Engineering

5 things that are super important to bring to university (that you may not have thought of!)

By Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, on 29 August 2023

a picture of a suitcase with a camera, laptop and sunglasses next to it
Hi, I’m Emily, I’m a second-year Medical Physics student at UCL and here are 5 things I would definitely recommend bringing with you or purchasing before you start university in September!

  1. Any novelty clothing items/fancy dress you own! If you join clubs or societies that partake in sports night, many will have a theme each Wednesday and no one wants to buy an extra pair of fairy wings when they already have a pair at home! Things like Halloween costumes (as 31st October comes around very quick in term 1), questionable Hawaiian shirts borrowed from your dad and neon leg warmers could all come in handy, so bring them! A popular first sports night theme is ‘Back to school’ so a school shirt/tie could also be useful, but do not worry if you forget, Primark is only 15 min away from campus!
  2. A medicine box. Everyone gets ill at some point during the year, and if you think you’ve dodged freshers flu in the first week or so, you will almost certainly get it from a lecture hall the week after (I still have no idea what my maths lecturer said in the introduction week, for I could not hear him over the cacophony of coughs and sneezes)! Make sure you have all the essentials such as paracetamol, cough sweets, Lemsip etc, and remember that supermarket own brand medicines are the exact same chemically but often under half the price (great for the student budget when you’re on Strepsil box number 5 like I was!). Bonus tip – store this box in your bedside table so you can reach it without moving, lifesaver.
  3. All the loyalty cards! We’re talking Tesco club card, Nectar card, Boots advantage card, the lot! Often there are special prices specifically for cardholders, and as they cost nothing to sign up for it is more than worthwhile. The Boots advantage card was a personal favourite of mine last year, as if you go in-store with your student ID they can link it and you get 10% off every time you shop – this is sometimes upped to 20% on certain weekends, and is great for stocking up on toiletries and meal deals! Also, if your flatmates can’t be bothered to sign up for any of these, send them a screenshot of your barcode and they can earn you points too! And what do points make… in Tesco’s case, I used mine for Pizza Express vouchers!
  4. Chargers for all your devices (and spare ones). Laptops and phones are used so much at Uni and the last thing you want is to be stuck in a lecture with no means of taking notes as your laptop is dead. Purchasing an extra-long cable could also be helpful for more awkward seats in the student centre and where the plug socket is just out of reach! You will also be the most popular person at pres when you have multiple phone chargers to hand out so no one’s phone dies at the club!
  5. A positive attitude! Yes, it’s cringey, but nothing is more important than being willing to get stuck in, meet new people and try activities you perhaps never even considered before. You want to make the absolute most out of your 3/4 years at UCL, and with endless clubs and societies to try out or even join as a member, you might as well start from the beginning! In my first week, I went to a cheerleading try out and a year on I can’t wait to go back to Uni and see my team again, it has truly been one of the best experiences, and that all came from being brave in freshers week and going alone to one of their socials (I promise it’s less scary than it sounds, especially after a cocktail or two haha!).

There are definitely a lot of other things to remember such as extension cables, Tupperware, and sparkly gems to jazz up your outfit for a night out, but none of these had much to say about them! Definitely check out packing lists online as I found that super helpful, but at the end of the day you are in Central London, and anything you forget will be easily purchased just a stone’s throw away!

This blog was written by Emily, Medical Physics

Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

Reflections on homesickness

By Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, on 12 September 2022

Girl sitting on her own looking at her phone
Adapting to a whole new country with different people, traditions and potentially a different language can be pretty daunting; a lot of young people are faced with such a challenge when they go to study abroad. Some of them are hit with a wave of anxious emotions, while others approach it with a much more positive thinking.

When settling into a new country, it’s vital to think positively, things have a way of working themselves out. Experiencing a new culture can be very beneficial and that alone can be used as an encouragement to be more positive about such a change. Change is generally inevitable in life and taking the initiative to move to another country is a substantial change! But this challenge helps us to grow, maybe more than we will ever grow throughout the rest of our lives and that should be something to look forward to. It is important to understand that while being fearful of the unknown, jumping straight in when you start feeling scared is the way to go about it.

At some point or another, most of us have missed home. Entering university is a huge step to adulthood and independence and no matter how much fun it seems, everyone experiences homesickness at some point. Missing home is a very normal human reaction; missing your house, your family, your pets and what not. Learning how to cope with such a feeling when you are unable to go back can provide you with a valuable experience that helps you cope with other transitions later in life. It would be very beneficial if you think of it as an exciting opportunity to develop new interests in another environment other than your home.

Although staying in touch with people from home is very important it might be better to contact them less frequently; constant communication can reinforce a person’s sense of homesickness whereas contacting them less frequently than usual may help reduce those feelings. It might be a good idea to encourage your family members to write or email you on a semi-regular basis, perhaps once a week.

People need people so, try to be friendly and create new friendships along the way. Making new friends does not mean forgetting your old friends. It simply means you are adapting to new environments with people who come from different backgrounds than yours and that is fascinating! On the other hand, we are human and not every day is sunshine and rainbows, so it’s a nice thing to talk to people when you feel you need some help. Even if you are an introverted person, or an anxious person try to get out of your comfort zone to make friends.

It’s important to accept that at some point, you will feel homesick. Pushing emotions for too long can be overwhelming. It is a good idea to plan some time to reflect on those emotions and feelings as well as accepting them. The only way to move forward is to accept your emotions and feelings. Taking charge of your feelings in this way often helps to work through them. The department has a dedicated Student Advisor, if you are feeling overwhelmed.

People tend to grow when they move to another country, new patterns develop gradually with time and life can be unexpected. You may experience emotional distress from time to time, but the sun tastes so much better after a storm; university can help you become more positive as you can clearly see how independent you have become.

There is no recipe to settling into a new country but going with the correct mindset can help you to adapt and make the best out of it.

This blog was written by Elio, Biomedical Engineering

It’s important to switch off when studying!

By Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, on 21 April 2022

students studying
That time of year is coming again, the exam season!

Most of you are probably stressed; trying to revise as much as you can and be as prepared as possible so that you score some good grades. However, sometimes your mental wellbeing gets left behind and you get anxious for no apparent reason, or you feel empty even though you are preparing and not procrastinating. This phenomenon also happened to me, and I had to find various activities to get back on track and have a healthy mind. This increased my efficiency in learning, and I managed to do very well in my exams scoring a first in everything. So here are some tips to switch off from the revision period:

Go for a walk. I know, I know, too simple! But who said it does not work? Sometimes something as simple as going for a walk and breathing some fresh air outside can help you completely switch off from studying and help you relax. If you have been studying for a long period without a break 4-5 hours, it is also good as you get some movement and get that blood circulation right. You can plug in your headphones and listen to some music too, but I would not recommend it as your brain won’t be fully switched off. Just walk around and think for a good 10-15 minutes and when you come back you will be much more efficient and have energy to keep on going without being mentally drained

Take time off. Some of you may be saying, but it the exam season why should I take time off? Well, its not what you want it’s what you need. Your body will get physically tired after studying 7 days a week, 4-5 hours per day and it will come to a point where you will not want to do revision at all. Taking a day off lets you rest and reset to be ready to go back at revising again.

On a day off, I recommend doing some kind of sports activity, but honestly anything which makes you happy works.

Taking a day off is not wasted time. Time you enjoy wasting is not actually wasted, but make sure to keep in check so that you don’t take too many days off. If you are not the type of person who plays sports or goes to the gym, then staying inside is also fine. You can spend time on youtube or you can play video games however do not spend too much time on electronics as this does not give you time to actually rest.

I hope this has helped even a tiny bit and good luck with your exams 🙂

This blog was written by Elio, MEng Biomedical Engineering

Photo credit: Jeswin Thomas | Unsplash