Yasmyne Kricha reviews her first year of being a student at King’s.
Before I came to King’s, it was difficult to know what to expect from university life. Were the non-stop partying, horrendously skint, baked-bean-eating stereotypes true? Or would it be completely different from the stories that I’d heard? I was excited to be living in London, where I half-expected to bump into the Made in Chelsea cast or see Boris Johnson riding his bike down the Strand. With a year’s experience and memories to draw on, I can now personally review life as a fresher at King’s College London.
Some of my peers truly embraced the partying expectation of students. They turned up to lectures the morning after, still ‘feeling it’ and clearly wearing it too: the fake eyelashes and laddered tights were tell tale signs. Then again, maybe I was just underdressed for my lecture on the Rejuvenation of China.
Forget about the alcohol, I don’t think I’ve ever drunk so much coffee before in my life. The coffee shops along the Strand are buzzing with students catching up between seminars, doing work and/or taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi whilst enjoying a caffeinated beverage and looking oh so cosmopolitan at the same time.
When your bank balance is none-too-forgiving and has a tendency to gravitate towards zero and beyond, it’s interesting to see what you start prioritising. Some will continue to spend regardless, and only worry about the ‘O word’ at the end of term, when a big red minus illuminates the ATM screen. Others will start buying value brands and cheap staple foods to keep well nourished. Over the year, I think the strangest thing I saw someone eat was canned burgers. Burgers. From a can.
Although I didn’t quite make it to drinking Bloody Marys in Kensington with Binky and Lucy, my part time job at the local Tesco meant I could still try to spot celebrities in between stacking shelves. While bumping into Boris never became a reality for me, I did manage to meet Esther Rantzen, Robert Webb and Duncan from Blue. When I say meet, however, I mean I packed their bags and asked if they had a clubcard (none of them did). On the plus side, I did learn that Robert Webb rather likes baby gem lettuce.
A year on, it’s amusing to reminisce about my past expectations of the student life that is now my reality. Sometimes living up to the stereotypes is fun. You can have a great night out and happily sit on the night bus home with your McDonalds and ripped jeans (the latter because you thought it would be a good idea to give your friend a piggyback). You can try new things in the kitchen in the name of research: just don’t get too experimental when meat is involved. Salmonella is never fun.
The beginning of a new term wipes the slate clean for budgeting, as Student Finance comes in; this means that you can feel less guilty about stopping off at Oxford Street after your lectures. You might even have a few baked beans along the way, too! Not because you have no other food, simply because baked beans are damn tasty.