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Archive for the 'Written by Elio' Category

How to make the most of your Freshers Week

By Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, on 22 September 2022

Students watching movies on deck chairs
As the start of university is approaching, many new students are excited about the new chapter in their life that is about to start. And the beginning of this new chapter starts with the infamous ‘Freshers Week’.

Freshers’ Week is basically the first week of university in which all the first-year students get used to being far away from home and living alone for the first time (most of them at least). This week includes a lot of partying, going out, making a lot of memories with new people, and just having fun. However as crazy as it sounds, going out every day and partying all night can get a bit repetitive. So how can you make the most of Freshers Week?

Being a third-year student and having already experienced Freshers Week, I would suggest keeping a balance. Since it is the first week of university all the societies will have their welcome fairs and their taster sessions. You can look for the different societies available at the welcome fair or online at UCL Students’ Union. If you want to start immediately getting involved in the department, I suggest the Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering Society. There you will meet a lot of the senior students who can help you and give you tips on how to maximize your university experience. Also look out for the annual boat trip organized by the department in October (you’ll be emailed details). It is a great opportunity to socialise and its free.

Students on boat trip in front of Tower Bridge

Going to parties every night is fun, but also it will drain your energy after 2-3 consecutive days. I would suggest focusing also on travelling and going around London. A good place to look for places to see in London is Time Out London. There are many things to see around the city and best believe that you will enjoy. The city is amazing and there are many places for you and your friends to hang out and just relax while also experiencing the life in the big city. Don’t get me wrong, if you prefer to party and would rather do that over going around the city by all means go ahead, but I really doubt that you would want to miss out on the city. Of course, you can argue that you can visit the city during your studies but knowing that you have no assignments due or no lectures to go over maximizes the experience and lets you enjoy the city.

If you are totally a party person and do not care about anything else, then my suggestion would be to go to different places around London. There are many venues who host events just for Freshers Week and they have various activities to keep everyone busy and make sure that everyone is having fun. Also, since the last 2 years have been affected by COVID-19, there will be a lot of concerts going on during September – October period so have a look because your favorite artist may be performing, and this will be a chance for you to see them live. A good website to look out for different events you can attend is Ticketmaster or Songkick.

So, all in all make sure to include some variation during the week just to have fun. The definition of what fun can be up to you, but definitely do not miss out by staying inside!

students laughing on the Portico steps at UCL

This blog was written by Elio, Biomedical Engineering

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

What to consider when attending university open days

By Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, on 3 May 2022

Student ambassadors outside UCL holding a Ask Me signEveryone has their own concerns about university and what not. One big question that every student asks themselves is “How should I approach university open days?”. Firstly, it’s crucial to understand that open days are made for students and students are the center of attention. Obviously, students who attend these open days need to see whether this university is what they are looking for. But how can you do that?

  1. Make a list (whether it be a physical list or a note in your mind) of what you are looking for in a university. Some people want very academic universities that have very intense learning programmes, while others want a university that has a good academic approach, but that gives them the freedom to socialise more. Some people want big universities, other smaller ones.
  2. When preparing for a university open day it is a good idea to make a list of questions to ask. Take a note of the answers and see whether they match what you are looking for.

So, as you see there is nothing to worry about when going to an open day, and worst comes to worst you do not like the university and you do not apply there. But at least you had a good day vising the university!

Students sitting on the steps outside UCL in the sunshineAs to university applications, not to get philosophical or anything, but it is a good idea to pick based on your priorities and university is the best for you. It is very common to go for universities that have big names as there’s a perception that graduating from a big-name university automatically means you are successful. Of course, graduating from top universities plays a part in building a good network with people, but who said you cannot do that by graduating somewhere else?

Now, I can’t say what is best for you, it took me a lot of thinking and reflection to find out what is the best for me, and I am still learning. Trust me when I say, your mental wellbeing is very important. People seem to forget that when it comes to choosing a university. Yes, work hard and challenge yourself with a high-ranking university if you can, but remember a university is nothing more than a place, it is your adaptation to it that makes the difference. two friends sitting on the steps outside UCLTo ease off the anxiety that comes with the idea of university, there seems to be this idea that some universities are unreachable and impossible to get in, but the bigger picture is that those students studying there are just like you, yes you reading this. University is so much more than learning. It is about making friends and gaining experience while getting a taste of freedom and responsibility that comes with being a young adult.

Shake off the fears that come with the idea of university and remember all the universities are made for students and they are achievable with the right amount of dedication! Good luck!

This blog was written by Elio, MEng Biomedical Engineering

Photo credit: James Tye | UCL Welcome 2021

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