We asked a UCL student studying the LLB to document her first week at university. Read on for the first part in this mini-series to get a taste of what life is like at one of London’s top law departments.
My First Week at UCL Law School
Monday the 23rd September
I began my day at 9:30 am. Admittedly, I was nervous. As a commuter student studying in London, I was worried about making friends, getting to lectures on time and my ability to get involved in extra-curriculars.
Arriving at the main quad, I was stunned by the columns and grandeur of the UCL building, it was incredible!
The first thing I did was register and then I listened to a welcome talk covering topics like finding buildings on campus to IT services and expectations for the rest of the week. I enrolled soon after and got my ID, thankful that the photo I ended up with would not haunt me for the next three years! I also received a welcome pack filled with guides but more importantly, free goodies, like my UCL water bottle and charging cables.
At my first lecture later that day, I listened intently to the professors and felt settled for the first time that day. They spoke at length on how to get the most out of lectures, how to improve time management skills and how to get involved in law tutorials. They had one aim – to push us freshers to do the best we can from the very beginning.
That same evening, many students, including myself attended a careers evening where a panel of lawyers and academics answered our burning questions. We heard from people in senior positions and about what trainee solicitors do in different legal sectors such as commercial law.
Some of the panellists were from Magic Circle firm Clifford Chance and some from Ashurst, a member fo the Silver Circle. We also heard from the University of Law. It was an exciting and informative event which gave students the chance to network with some key players in the field.
Tuesday the 24th September 2019
Today, I started at 11 am, thankful to get a little more sleep after the eventful day I had yesterday. I had another lecture which forms part of the Laws Connection Programme at UCL. In this programme, the laws faculty introduces us to the study of law via case studies.
My first case study was on the gig economy which I knew very little about before. However, I was soon developing skills and understanding circumstances that relate to the law and explored how the law impacts these issues.
There was some technical legal discussion throughout the lecture, and there were moments where I was slightly confused, but discussing the lectures with classmates, and even tutors who we would actively engage in conversation with, allowed me to explore the topic in more depth and gain a better understanding of the Gig Economy.
I had arrived at the lecture feeling terrified and confused but left realising that, while I may not begin the year writing stellar essays, I would eventually be able to improve my skills and establish a writing style of my own.
This evening, there was a competitions talk where the Law Society’s Speaker Secretary gave us advice on participating in mooting, debating and more.
After that, I made my way with the rest of the law society to the next freshers’ event at the Nordic Bar. We walked through the rain (typical London weather) and huddled in crowds of four or five under umbrellas. Finally, when we reached the bar, we were drenched but ready to enjoy the night, starting with ping pong and arcade games. We chatted away and made some incredible friendships.
Wednesday the 25th September 2019
I only had one lecture today which started at 10 am. Admittedly this was a little early after a long night – not that I minded, this is being a student is all about, after all! Besides, I didn’t have any problem staying awake; the lecture was mind-blowing. It started with a member of the Geography Department at UCL delivering some hard facts about climate change in true UCL fashion.
In a group tutorial led by a third-year student, we explored the key issues relating to climate change. We then discussed the legal implications of climate change on individuals, groups and companies.
For the rest of the day, I was essentially free and decided to explore London. Despite living here my whole life, there is so much of this wonderful city that I have not explored, and so with a friend, I decided to investigate the local area to find a café to have lunch at. We finally settled down and chatted for almost two hours about the lectures we were taking, our home lives and our excitement about being at UCL.
Soon, we decided to call it a day, and I headed back to Bentham House, doing a little extra reading while waiting for the first of my weekly Transition Mentor Sessions. Transition Mentors at UCL are students who have experienced exactly what we are going through. They actively help students achieve their goals by guiding them through their studies and experiences.
My mentor began with some tips for living in London and we spoke about the concerns I had. We settled on next week’s topic: preparing for lectures effectively, something I look forward to and will definitely need some guidance on!