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Seven questions with Jennifer Dickson

11 January 2017

Seven questions with Jennifer Dickson

This week, meet Jennifer, a student on the Arts and Sciences (BASc) degree, with a major in cultures and a minor in science and engineering. Jennifer, a self-confessed peanut butter fanatic, is a member of UCLU VolSoc, a student-run network for student volunteers, as well as a Hub Leader at the Bloomsbury FoodCycle, a charity that tackles food poverty, food waste, and social isolation.

Why are you interested in your degree and what do you plan to do in the future?

At first I didn’t think this degree was an actual option for students- it seemed too good to be true. I was always told that in England you choose one, maybe two, subjects and do a three year course. With this, I can select modules from a range of disciplines and get an idea of what I really enjoy doing and explore different ways of thinking and approaching the world.

Honestly, I have no set plan for my future. I’m hoping after a year abroad and a dissertation that something will grab me. My degree has given me the opportunity to develop so many skills and a wide breadth of knowledge, so I’m counting on that to get me a job.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve done, seen or got involved with while at UCL?

I am a advocate of volunteering and have done a lot of it since being at UCL. The Volunteering Service Unit advertises so many opportunities and I have been to many amazing events, such as the Taste of London, while helping out a charity organisation. I'm now part of UCLU VolSoc which also does some fun events as a collective of UCL students!

I am a Hub Leader at the Bloomsbury FoodCycle which is an amazing charity that tackles food poverty, food waste, and social isolation which are three really pertinent social issues at the moment. We cook a three course meal from surplus food donations every Sunday at the Somers Town Community Centre for anyone who is wanting to sit down, have a nice conversation, and eat some warm food. It is a really enjoyable and rewarding experience.

Have you discovered any hidden gems during your time at UCL?

One of my favourite things to do is go to see live shows. I have found a few websites that you can get discounted show tickets to anything from stand-up comedy to the opera. I apply regularly to the BBC to watch the recordings of their shows, such as the Graham Norton Show, and also their radio programs. It is so much fun, and either really cheap or free!

Give us your top three things to do/see/go to in London:

  1. I would definitely recommend you take a walk around Hampstead Heath. It is such a good way to feel like you are out of the hustle and bustle of London and have some time around nature. If you’re brave, you can swim in the ponds all year round!
  2. Colombia Road Flower Market on a Sunday is a lot of fun. There are nice little cafes you can sit in, antique shops to browse and the flowers are beautiful. Go around Christmas for a hot chocolate and buy some floral seasonal decorations for your flat!
  3. I would say there is nothing better than taking advantage of the free museums and galleries around London. You should look at the Late Night events that most put on once a month. They are free and make the museum experience a bit more fun with other activities to get involved in.

If you were Provost for the day what one thing would you do?

If I was Provost for one day I would open up my office to have free tea and coffee all day. Tea and coffee are what keep students alive and functioning. It would be a great way to meet staff and students.

Who inspires you and why?

Sounds cheesy and predictable, but my mom inspires me. She has made me the hard-working, go-getter that I am. I learnt from her to always get things done rather than leaving them until the last minute and also to put effort into everything. Another good lesson is to know when to say no to things and not get overwhelmed.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

I am mildly obsessed with peanut butter. I have even managed to get my flatmates to love it! We went through almost three kilograms of it in the first two months of last term. I used to hate the stuff when I was young with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches being the go-to sandwich of American children, I was always the odd one out. But now, I just get a spoon and a tub.