Saarah Ahsan-Shah

I am an English Literature student starting my third year at Queen Mary. As much as I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve studied on this course, I have a particular interest in Psychoanalysis and Children’s Literature, specifically the links that can be drawn between the two. I...

Things I’d wish I’d known when I started at Queen Mary

People are always willing and happy to help; you just have to ask.

Starting uni can be nerve-racking and no doubt you’ll have questions- don’t be afraid to ask them! Whether it’s something small like asking for directions or even asking a tutor or classmate for help with an assignment, everyone is super friendly and wants to help. Instead of walking around campus for 15 minutes and ending up late for a lecture, just ask someone to point you in the correct direction and voila!

I never realised how often I was hungry, until I noticed how much I was spending on food.

Yes, it’s enjoyable to eat out, but no, it’s not feasible to do so every day. I found myself constantly popping back and forth between the library and Sainsbury’s, across the road, for snacks. But I realised if I just woke up a little earlier every day, I could pack myself a good enough lunch which would mean I wouldn’t have to buy food during the day, saving myself a good £6-7 a day; it really does add up.

Tutors have office hours, but if you can’t make them it doesn’t mean you can’t see them.

When I started uni, sometimes I’d want to see a lecturer or my advisor about something but I would find I was busy during their 1-2 office hours of the week. Instead of emailing them about it I would wait weeks until I happened to be free during that narrow time slot. But eventually I realised, if I just popped them an email letting them know I couldn’t make it, they were more than happy to rearrange a meeting at a time convenient for us both. Everyone here is super accommodating and is here to make your time at university the best it can be.

The Careers Service is a gem.

The Careers Service can help you in finding a job or any kind of work experience, whether it be a part-time retail job or an internship at a big firm. What’s also great about them is that you can book appointments with relatively short notice where they’ll review your CV for you, pointing out where it can be improved, so it stands out amongst the many other applications employers receive. They also offer interview practice; in combination, all these aspects add up to an increased likelihood of securing competitive jobs.

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