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UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy


Applied in Focus. Global in Reach


Sam Lane – January 2017: Perspectives on a busy term

By ucqnafe, on 12 January 2017

MPA student Sam Lane provides perspectives on studying at UCL STEaPP.

Looking back over the first term of the MPA degree, it is worth noting at this point how much I and my fellow students have achieved – the number of assessments, the volume of reading and the personal development we have all conquered.It has been a tough first term. None of us had anticipated how difficult it would be and even with the wealth of professional backgrounds I eluded to previously, none of it could have prepared us. This is what makes the course great. Rather than sit in an overcrowded lecture theatre and be talked at by a professor for hours each week, we have been challenged, daily, to think differently, to practice our skills and apply our knowledge, to debate and discuss and even teach the professors too. Of course, this intensity is frustrating sometimes and especially for those students with other work or social commitments, managing our time has been an additional challenge. But it is totally worth it.

What got us through this challenging term was each other and the faculty. The cohort have supported each other a lot. We have a Whatsapp group-chat which is mostly full of questions about the course as well as countless memes describing our approaches to the work! We even organised a festive feast and a secret Santa (thanks to Angeliki), which was much needed to get us through the final week of the term. The faculty themselves have been so supportive. I myself alone have sent numerous emails to professors checking assessments, asking for more details and discussing feedback. The entire faculty respond promptly and thoroughly in such a friendly way.

Our second of two scenario weeks saw us organised into groups with an appointed leader and a brief to provide policy recommendations to branches of the UK government. It was another rigorous week and we learnt a lot about ourselves as well as each other.

The winter break was  much needed to relax a little before writing our analytical policy papers(the major assessment for Term 1).

Looking ahead, we begin our electives soon and then we will get a chance to meet other students and delve deeper into our own interests. We have also received our travel arrangements for the World Government Summit in Dubai in February 2017 so the excitement is building and this is where the next blog will be posted from!

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