Your first week at UCL is one of the most exciting weeks of your entire UCL journey; it’s a time when you’ll be meeting new friends, making connections within your department, and exploring the city you’re about to call home.
There’s so much to do in the first week that you may be wondering where specifically you should channel your energies. What should you focus on, what is absolutely essential, and what can wait for another time?
Here are 3 things you need to do during your first week at UCL...
Explore the UCL campus
Where’s your first lecture going to be? What’s the quickest way to the UCL Main Library? How do you get from Malet Place to Gordon’s Cafe in under 5 minutes?
There's nothing worse than feeling lost in your first days as a UCL student. Don’t risk being late to your first lecture or missing a tutorial - spend some time during your first week getting to know your new campus. There'll be campus tours going on throughout the welcome period, and you can also grab a map to take yourself round the key areas you’ll be studying.
It’s also worth mapping out where you’ll be headed for your first classes; tracing the route between your lecture halls, seminar rooms and tutor’s office will mean you’re familiar with where to go, and it’s one less thing to worry about when teaching begins.
Get involved with the Students Union Welcome Events
The welcome period at UCL is a fantastic way to explore the student community at UCL. The Student’s Union has more than 320 Clubs and Societies; these are student-led organisations, and all students can get involved with them. Many societies have a social media presence, so if you are interested in getting involved with a specific society, now is the time to look them up on Instagram, Facebook and also the Union website.
If you’re keen to get involved but aren’t sure what exactly to check out, most of the clubs and societies will be exhibiting at the Freshers Fair, which is running over Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 October. Here, you will get a broad idea of what is available, and you can talk to Committee members of all societies to get a feel for what they’re about. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to see all the UCL societies in one space!
Also, check out the What’s On Calendar to find out what events are happening in the first week of term and start booking your tickets to secure your spot. The good news is that many events during this period are part of ‘Give it a Go,’ meaning you can have a go at a variety of events without paying a penny.
Remember - you’re only a fresher once, and welcome week doesn't last forever, so immerse yourself in as many opportunities that appeal to you and figure out what you’re most excited by.
Prepare for teaching to begin
If you’re still in need of textbooks, pencil sharpeners or a calculator, now is the time to find them. Many students who have recently graduated may be advertising to sell their old books on Freshers Facebook groups, and you could also try online forums to find your textbooks second-hand. Make sure to check out the UCL libraries too, as you’ll usually be able to find copies of core reading material without the expense.
The Ryman’s under the Waterstones on Gower Street is a great place to get all your stationery at a discounted price, plus the easy access to Tottenham Court Road from campus will mean you’re only a stone's throw away from being able to tick off the last-minute items off your To-Do list.
Your first week at UCL is the perfect time to find your feet, seek new opportunities and kickstart what will be an incredible experience. Take the time to get to know your new surroundings, explore what’s on offer through the Union and immerse yourself in UCL life to the fullest.
Written by Isabelle Osbourne, Third-year BA English student