UCL News


20 things I learned from three years at UCL

10 August 2018

myUCL Student Journalist Soleil Samanor has come to the end of her undergraduate programme at UCL, and shares her words of wisdom. The most important thing I learnt while studying at UCL is that university teaches you a lot beyond what you'll discover during lectures.


Here are some of the best take-aways (not literally!) from UCL that I've picked up along the way.


  1. Friends House, which is situated close to Euston and the UCL Department of Economics, has the most wonderful secret outside terrace, where you can study in peace with the help of a cup of coffee (or two).
  2. Bringing in milk to your exams will boost your popularity levels but not your calcium levels, because although a lot of people will find it cool, you will not, once said milk is confiscated.
  3. Staying back after your lectures finish to speak to your classmates is a great way to make friends! Your rant about the crazy workload you are being given soon turns into a conversation about how each of you deals with said crazy workload, wherein you find you have a lot in common with your peers! I've met a lot of fellow truffle-loving foodies this way.
  4. It's best to avoid coming into your seminar hungover at all costs. One of my classmates learnt the hard way that sitting at the back of the class to avoid your lecturer noticing does not work!
  5. If you enjoyed a certain lecture, be sure to let your lecturer know! One of my former classmates did this and it put a smile on their faces every time.
  6. You will probably get lost sometime during your time at uni! The best way to deal with this is to prepare spare time before lectures, have Google maps or UCL maps ready on your phone, and be open to asking some of your fellow friendly UCL students for directions.
  7. Chances are, while you are studying at UCL you'll notice the BT Tower, but did you know that you're occasionally given the opportunity to go up it? Keep your eyes peeled on their website for competitions and opportunities - the view is well worth it!
  8. Never upload your submissions to Moodle with less than 10 minutes remaining! One of the most terrifying experiences of my life was when I uploaded my dissertation on Moodle with 5 minutes remaining until the deadline... in the wrong submission box! (the deadline for that box was 15 minutes earlier than the actual deadline, meaning the system showed my submission as late!). It all ended well but better to be safe than sorry.
  9. Bringing crunchy snacks and eating them throughout your lecture will make a lot of people angry, but bringing in cupcakes and sharing them will make a lot of people happy.
  10. Double check your timetable in advance - not at 2am before you sleep! I have gone into the wrong lecture hall an embarrassing number of times because I'd mixed one day with the other. One of my classmates had an even worse experience when he accidentally attended a two hour lecture from a completely different degree - he didn't notice until the next day while comparing class notes!
  11. The fastest way to get to Marylebone High Street (a must-visit!) from UCL is from Howland Street (beside the Eat) - you just walk straight! Stop off at Amanzi tea on the way for a special drink.
  12. Join societies! One of my greatest regrets was not joining more societies at UCL. You'll learn a lot and meet many people - a lot of my friends met through societies and it's a real shame I joined only one!
  13. By far one of the best meeting spots around UCL is the Wellcome Collection. It's open-spaced, easy to find, and you can indulge in some food/a drink at their café or browse their fascinating shop while you wait for everyone else to arrive.
  14. Taking a shower right before your lecture and coming in with half-wet hair is not a good idea.
  15. Half Cup (near King's Cross) has to-die-for Oreo cookie French toast with Nutella mascarpone.
  16. A lot of people I know stopped looking for friends after second year but I would definitely recommend being open to new people throughout your entire time at UCL! I met up with a classmate during final year and she is now one of my dearest friends.
  17. Coming into your seminar without having studied required materials is a bad idea! You'll give yourself away when you have no response for your lecturers' "Can you be more specific?" after your exceptionally elaborate and flowery but ultimately vague interpretation of said materials.
  18. A classmate I knew used to bring in her own teabags and cups with her and fill them up with hot water from our departments' kitchen boiler - it saved her a lot of time and money (and bad tea).
  19. If you have your exams at Brixton but don't know where to go in the area before/after, head over to Station 26, one of London's best and most notable gluten free restaurants!
  20. Somewhere in your time at UCL, you will hear someone vilify their UCL ID card photo.