Our last Instagrammer in Residence for the 2019/20 academic year is BSc Applied Medical Sciences student Fahim Ahmed, who has captured some of the most iconic sights around UCL and London.
We're inviting UCL students to be a UCL Instagrammer in Residence for a week this term. They'll share their experiences of studying at UCL and living in London with their visual and written perspectives shared through our social media and digital channels.
Our last Instagrammer in Residence for the 2019/20 academic year is BSc Applied Medical Sciences student Fahim Ahmed (@f.ahim.37), who has spent the week Instagramming some of the most iconic spots to visit at UCL and around London. Here, Fahim tells us about what he loves about living in London and his favourite viewpoint for getting incredible city shots.
1. What made you decide to study at UCL?
I just want to say that UCL is the best university in London (definitely not biased at all), but in all honesty, I’ve heard so many good things from everyone and everywhere. Again, hearsay is hearsay, so I decided to do my own research and find out for myself as to what makes the students want to apply to UCL and there was a varied response from “its world class teaching” to “its location” to even the honourable mention of the Print Room Café (which I agree with wholeheartedly). This is my final year (I know I will return to my profile and look back at this piece a few years down the line), and I have absolutely enjoyed my time here at UCL. I don’t think I could’ve asked for a better student experience than that which I’ve had at UCL these past two years (low-key, I don’t really want it to end).
2. What are your three favourite things about studying at UCL?
Limiting the choices to just three is pretty tough, but here goes…
• Location: everything from your local Tesco to your Costa is within walking distance of campus, one another and London’s most iconic spots, which is great when you want to unwind after a long day of working.
• Vibes: the feel around campus is mostly relaxed. Cometh exam season, you’ll feel the vibe turn into what I like to call ‘serious mode’ and it’s all hands on deck. This is evident when you want to revise inside UCL’s many study spaces. Everyone is fully focused – it’s shown on every face you turn to… this admittedly motivates me to get myself into gear.
• Resources: I’ve been lucky enough to have access to a wide range of resources that UCL has on offer (both online and in physical form). It has helped me gain that extra bit more in terms of valuable information for getting higher marks in my essays.
3. What is it like living in London?
I honestly love it. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea – time seems to move as fast as the people in it – but there’s just this vibe about London that no other city has.... and no other city ever will. The city looks small on a map, but you soon realise with a few searches that there are so many things to do, and events happening, and not all of them make you reach into your wallet either. You might think there aren’t many open spaces but it’s quite the opposite… you just have to keep a keen eye on your surroundings. There’s no doubt that living expenses are pretty steep but that’s where you develop skills in managing your finances.
4 What is your most memorable experience at UCL so far?
It’s realising that there are students out who are there just as – if not more – dedicated as you. How? Well, try staying in the Science Library until 4 or 5am – you’d think that it’d be deserted –like, who even stays past 11pm on a Friday night (except me) – but there are so many people somehow awake and ploughing their way through it all and I give them a mind-to-mind motivation (I don’t know how that works but I hope it keeps them awake to keep getting through it).
5. What do you love about photography?
Photographs serves as memories for me, and also a time stamp of key events in my life. Whether it’s the sweetness or the sourness of each image, I for one cannot control that. What satisfies me the most is that not one picture will ever be the same, and not one picture will ever hold the same memory. I feel as though you develop an eye for a photo and with every passing shutter of an image, you learn to look at the world a little differently too.
6. Best piece of advice for students who just started studying at UCL?
Live. Take everything in, explore every nook and cranny of London. Yes, UCL makes you work hard but that’s more of a reason to play harder. Go to society events and attend the various talks on offer – especially if you are an international student. At first, it can be daunting, but as the months go by, you grow in confidence and become accustomed to your surroundings. Make sure to get out of your comfort zone – you’ll find new experiences and create new memories. Even just exploring London by yourself and taking random routes will lead you to new places!
7. You have a free day to spend at one place in London. Where do you spend it?
Just one place in the entirety of London? Damn, I guess it’d have to be Sky Garden. Even though you have to book weeks in advance, it’s honestly worth it. A whole garden atop a skyscraper, the Walkie-Talkie building (situated on 20 Fenchurch Street), has restaurants that overlook the London skyline. What can be prettier than that? Particularly at night, when London comes to life.