Love To The City: From a New Londoner
by Catriona Grew I did a weird thing after my first year at uni. I moved to a different uni. This is called “transferring”; yes, it’s an actual thing you can actually do. I did the first year of my Ancient History degree at St Andrews and then I came here to start second year. I’m halfway through that now and life is great.
Some kind, concerned people told me KCL would be hard: they said it would be giant, scary, expensive, and unfriendly with a poor sense of student community. They said I’d be lonely landing here by myself in second year, and that switching unis halfway through a degree would be uphill academically and socially – so if I had any common sense, I’d realise it wasn’t worth it.
So I figured, YOLO, flipped a coin and did it anyway (just kidding about the coin) – and a term and a half in, I can’t explain how absurdly far from my experience that view has been. That list of worries is probably the exact opposite of what has happened to me here: and this is why I think (violin out now) that King’s is hands-down the most incredible place.
It’s true that I walked into my first lecture basically throttled with terror. But that feeling lasted all of about 20 seconds before the utter amazingness of King’s students kicked in. I felt totally involved by the end of the first week – and that’s because the people who comprise KCL are all so bae.
Everyone I came across during my first few weeks – classmates, my tutor, the Prophet-esque stranger who explained to a hysterically trembling me on my first day that the Strand building has a lower ground level – were genuinely welcoming, interested and friendly. In terms of practicalities like module sign-ups, everything worked without a hitch. Honestly, my only issue with anything whatsoever to do with King’s is how slow the Strand lifts are.
Are you getting my drift? I frickin love our uni.
Yes, London is giant and sometimes scary but now I know – this is precisely what brings us and keeps us here. We don’t opt for London because it’s small and manageable. We come here for the intensity, diversity and unpredictability, and for that sleepless buzz that never ever gets old.
We love London because we’re aware we can never truly know all of it, but that sure as hell won’t stop us trying. We’re a brilliant uni because our environment’s so emotional and fast-paced, where just waking up and wandering round our streets is an education.
London is zany, irrational and no day passes without surprise. Of course we have no money but we just work or live in our overdrafts and love it anyway: because all the people who study here are wired into the same excitement, the same immensity.
Sure, we are drops in the ocean but we are uniquely able to look around, when it’s cold but the rain is gleaming off Southbank, or when we’re smashed waiting for a bus in Dalston and a perfect blue dawn starts to break, and know we are each tiny contributors to one of the most vibrant cities in the world.
So overall, thanks for accepting transfers KCL, and big ups to the transfer system, which, I think, a lot of people don’t really realise exists? I assume you don’t want to transfer since you’re at King’s, but in case you or anyone you know is interested, the way to do it is to call the admissions office at the place you’re keen on, and they’ll put you in touch with the right people. Then all it takes is your old UCAS application, grades and maybe an interview – simples. I’m unreservedly devoted to St Andrews; I made friends for life there. I feel inordinately lucky to have had the chance to be a part of it for a year. Nevertheless, the move was so worth it for me. I’d definitely recommend exploring your options if you’re having any doubts.