Written by Issy Smith, Postgraduate Officer
So you're about to start a postgraduate degree at UCL - congratulations! I'm Issy, your Postgraduate Officer, and I'm here to help provide the best student experience for you. Having studied a masters at UCL myself, I've put together some key advice for you to help you get your uni life off to the best start possible.
UCL handle the boring admin stuff, we handle the fun stuff. I'll be putting on loads of exciting events for you during the Welcome period. From our infamous speed-friending sessions to cheese and wine nights, our events are the best way to meet other postgrad students in a relaxed environment.
Take your studies further
Your academic department likely has its own departmental society (if it doesn't, you can start one!). Departmental societies are an excellent way to form connections with people on your course and beyond, and to build on what you've learnt in the lecture theatre. Careers fairs, panel talks and pub crawls are some of the things you can expect from joining.
Want to take things a step further? In October, we run our rep elections, where you can put yourself forward for many roles - including representing students in your academic department. Being an Academic Rep is a rewarding experience, won't take up too much of your time, and will really enhance your CV. Head here to find out more about what academic reps do....
Find your people
Sure, you're at UCL to get a degree - but you're also here for the University experience. That's where we come in!
You might be studying a master's in Neuroscience, but you might also be a bit of a Harry Potter nerd who is interested in learning Salsa. Luckily for you, we've got societies for both of those - and hundreds of other things you might be interested in.
Some postgrads think that they won't have time to be involved in societies whilst studying, but that's a total myth. All of our societies are built with that in mind - you can commit as much or as little time as you like, whether you're playing sport once a week (I'm biased but I really recommend Dodgeball) or writing one article a term for Pi Online. Getting involved with something outside of your degree will enhance your studies, spice up your CV and be beneficial for your mental health. Also, think of all the lovely like-minded people you'll meet!
Another great way to both get involved and benefit your studies is to volunteer. We've got opportunities in so many different areas - take a little look at our volunteering directory, and we guarantee you'll find something that relates to your course or your interests. There's also the Community Research Initiative, specifically for postgrads, where we can help you upgrade your dissertation by connecting you to London's voluntary sector. It's a fantastic opportunity, and you can find out more here.
Most of you will only be here for one year, so make the most of living in one of the most exciting and diverse cities in the world. Make sure to follow us on Instagram, where we regularly post cool things happening in London, many free or low cost.
Whilst prices may be rising, many cultural institutions in the city are either free or offer student discount. That means you can explore some of the best museums, theatre, art and more that the world has to offer on a student budget.
Where to go for support & advice
You might need some guidance at some point during your studies. Whether it's supporting you with your finances, mental health support or helping you find somewhere to live, our Advice Service is the best place to start.
We've also got our liberation networks for marginalised groups. These networks represent an opportunity for students to challenge and campaign against discrimination, oppression and inequality faced by themselves or others and work to defend and extend their rights.