Why the University of London is the best thing since sliced bread.
Ask any King’s student who our mortal enemies are and they will give you two answers – UCL and LSE. It may be to do with the geographical proximity, or it may just be the fact that all their students think the sun shines out of their backsides. Either way, it is definitely one of those two things.
But the truth is that we are all bound in an unholy union known as the University of London. This devil’s pact was forged 177 years ago, in the fires of Mount Doom through the union of King’s College London and UCL, making it the third oldest university in the country. Since then, it has grown to include 18 colleges and 10 institutions, and has now become one of the best things about being a student at King’s.
The heart of the organisation is situated in verdant Bloomsbury at Senate House: a 1930s building complete with a wonderful deco lobby and an uncomfortable relationship with fascist dictators! Once considered by Hitler as a potential Headquarters in Britain and seen as an excellent ministry for an oppressive government by George Orwell, perhaps this location seems quite fitting for such an unholy union!
However, Senate House today is more famous for the library on its top four floors, and has undoubtedly become the first port of call for any student essay crisis – particularly as it seems to contain every book ever published. Access to the library’s vast collection is available free of charge to all University of London students, and the terms for borrowing are far more generous than those you usually find at King’s. And it isn’t just Senate House you get access to – quite a few other libraries are open to you 24 hours a day, which means that the night-before-deadline panic becomes a lot more manageable.
When you’re not frantically studying for exams or doing last minute essays, the University of London Union (ULU) bar offers a cheap and easy night out in the heart of the city. Although ULU is currently being dragged kicking and screaming into the bureaucratic dustbin, the union bar, which for many people was its sole reason for existing, is fortunately sticking around. I am also told that the Union offers excellent gym facilities (although that is definitely not my area of expertise!).
But one of the greatest things about being part of the University of London is that it allows you to meet people from lots of different colleges, and the best way to do that is by living in intercollegiate halls.
As a fresher it can be tempting to try and stick to the small clique of people doing your course, but living in intercollegiate halls forced me to talk to people I would normally have crossed the street to avoid.
Being part of the University of London has made a huge difference to my time at King’s, giving me access to an almost unparalleled range of resources and offering me a place in a large and vibrant student community. It even forced me to swallow my disgust and interact with the forces of darkness, as I now count myself lucky to consider some people from UCL among my closest friends. It turns out some of them are nice people. Well, almost.