As some of you might recall, in August I shared the news that I’m going to King’s College starting from year 2, click on the link to find out more if you are curious.
I should start by saying that I am enjoying my time at King’s very much. In this post I will share my experience on the first term at KCL, from food to the societies I joined and, of course, about the studies, as in modules and assignments.
All the books in the pictures are related to what I’m studying or I studied.
Similarly to my experience at Oxford, I will chat about on a few topics, schedule, modules & assignments, food, and societies. I will not share anything on specific teachers or colleagues. I will say that I am happy with all the teachers, I think the seminars are very interesting, the lectures are clear, and the material is engaging. King’s is a very diverse place with people from all around the world, from different backgrounds, and I love that. I found out a lot of fascinating things, just from my colleagues describing their experiences.
I have 4 modules, so I have 4 sets of readings and 4 lectures each week. Usually the lectures are about 1h for each module and the readings can vary from about 70 to 150 pages. In total I read from 300+ to 500+ pages a week. This is why I have less time for reading books, as most of the readings are chapters or, very often, articles.
KCL. Weekly schedule:
Because I commute home almost weekly, unless my husband joins me for a few days in London, I read on the train journey. After trying the premium service I’m not going back to standard class mainly because it seems that everybody is working on their laptops in the premium coach, so it’s nice and quiet and I can do more than in standard.
Luckily I did not have seminars of Fridays, so I could return to Liverpool on Thursday evening, usually. I would say that in total I’m spending over 30 hours each week studying, more towards 40. It is a full time endeavour that is without a doubt.
KCL. Modules & Assignments:
I mentioned that I have 4 modules. Two of them were semester and two are yearly. As for assignments, I had to do a presentation and I picked workhouses as my topic, which was fascinating. Besides that I had to do essays of different lengths, a review-like assignment of a museum, and another small assignment on note taking. I like the diversity of the assignments, even though essays are a safer choice, the others push us to do something new and that is very good.
What I am less pleased is that I have 2 deadlines on the same day and I would have preferred to have at least a day between them.
My modules are: Memory, Human Rights, Middle East, Industrial Revolution. The first two are the ones for the first semester only, although I will have another Memory module on the second semester too, but it will be slightly different.
Memory module was so interesting. We touched on how historical events are remembered, talked about museums, statues, pageants, LGBTQ+ history. With such a diverse topic one learns a lot. I am very happy that I took this module, even if it was mandatory. I would have picked it if it was not mandatory. I think the topics and how are presented are very important for future historians, regardless of the career path one wants to pick. Also, because one of the assignments is more journalistic than essayistic, that offers the opportunity for developing more skills.
Human Rights was the second one term only module. I wonder if I should say that this was my favourite module because I like all of them very much. In this module we talked about so many things, from Locke and Voltaire to climate change as a human rights issue. It is an ideology focused module and the readings were very diverse, spanning over 300+ centuries. Finishing in present day was great.
Middle East in the 19th and 20th centuries is a module I picked without knowing much about the topic. It felt daunting in the first 2-3 weeks, as there was so much information. Now I am impressed with how much I learned and how many things I can remember from the weekly seminars, lectures, and readings, of course. What is amazing about this topic is that it covers such a broad area and a long period and we get a more global view.
British Economic History couldn’t be more different than the other, as it is focused on the economical perspective, and it’s quite heavy in graphs and maths. Luckily we are not required to produce graphs for the assignments. Also, who knew that reading on the theory of the high-wage economy can be so enjoyable? I was not keen on the topic I picked for the first essay, so I’ve changed it and I loved writing it.
For some modules is easy to pick essay questions or other assignments from the beginning, because I already knew about Locke, for example, but with economic history or even the Middle East, where I’m less aware of what it entails, I will have to be flexible and change the question if I’m not happy with it.
As you can see the diversity of modules is pretty impressive.
What I had low expectations was the food offering for vegans. Well, I am amazed how many options there are at King’s. I would highly recommend KCL for vegans who want to eat at university regularly. One of the food places is 100% plant based, and it is in a splendid location. All the other places have at least 2-3 vegan options! The soya milk is available without an extra charge.
At Roots, the vegan place at King’s, which is in Bush House on the 8th floor, close to the Strand too, the food is pretty amazing. In the picture above all are from there. The cakes are smooth and delicious. The food is different each day, pasta or gnocchi, aubergine-based middle eastern dishes, Indian dishes.
At the other place I’ve been to a lot of times, Chapters in Strand, there are a couple of vegan desserts, a sandwich, and a chickpea and winter vegetable salad that is very filling and very good too.
I always have my lunch at university in the days I have seminars. The prices are not very expensive either, as a main meal is about £5, which is not exactly cheap but it offers great value for money considering that I wouldn’t have had better options nearby and the food is so good. Cakes are £2-£3 and coffee is about £2.
I joined three societies: Rifle, Vegetarian&Vegan Society, and Self-Defence. I joined the Rifle society and I am enjoying learning how to shoot. This is an activity I would like to do more of and I will join a shooting club next year.
The colleagues from the Vegetarian Society seem very nice, but I’ve seen them only once because I was always busy on the days they organised events. I hope next term I will be able to join them a few times.
Lastly, the Self-Defence Society, is a strange one, as in I talked with someone from the society when I went to London on the opening day and I was curious. I tried it once and loved it, so I went every week. The style is Krav Maga, Israeli street defence, and it is very results focused. We are not learning how to do complicated stuff, but how to de-escalate a situation and if we are not able to do that how to protect ourselves. It is very different from martial arts I did in high-school. I am considering joining a Krav Maga club in Liverpool because it is useful and also it is a real workout too.