Our grantees| Samanta Rožánková| Excel is not just spreadsheets...
9. August 2019 Samanta Rožánková

Excel is not just spreadsheets...

The last term of my first year at university was in every possible way different to the two previous terms. At UCL we finished term 2 on Friday 22 March 2019 and what followed was a month of extremely intense studying and preparing for our first exam period, which began on Wednesday 24th April. Before we dove in to the stressful preparation for our first ever university exam period, we had to celebrate the end of second term and the completion of some smaller, yet equally important exams that we had to take at the end of term 2. With two of my friends we decided to treat ourselves to a 2-day trip to Brighton. It was an amazing experience, it was wonderful to see a new part of England and to live the unique atmosphere that Brighton has to offer. We returned to London relaxed, overjoyed and ready to study our hearts out for the next two months.

I spent the month between the end of term and the beginning of exam period at home in Prague. Over the year when I was studying for smaller tests and exams, I have realized that I work most effectively at home, rather than in libraries and study centers and thus I decided that being in Prague to study would probably suit me best. I mainly studied at home, but from time to time I met up with my friend from my course, who is very luckily also from Prague and we studied together. The month went by like a flash and soon it was time to go back to London for our first exam…

As if exams at UCL weren’t stressful enough, they are actually not even done at our university, but rather at the ExCel Centre in East London. The ExCel is an exhibitions and international convention centre located right next to London City Airport. So not only do you have added stress due to a long commute to the examination venue, but whilst taking the exams you are constantly distracted by sounds of car motors from the car exhibition taking place next door, music from any other event that was on at the moment and of course the planes landing and taking off right above our heads. Nevertheless, the ExCel also had some serious advantages. First of all, being a huge venue as it is, there are countless places to eat and have coffee, which is always nice before and after the exam. What we did is that before every exam (which for us always started at 10am) we met up at the ExCel Centre and had breakfast and tried to relax a little. Secondly, during the exam period, the ExCel turned into a sort of a hub for students and it was always nice to run into friends from different courses, who you don’t really get to see much during the year. And last but not least, the ExCel took us to a whole new part of London, which many of us have never been to before. Being located a short walk from the Emirates AirLine, which is a cable car connecting the Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks it gave us a great idea for a trip to celebrate the end of exams. After our last exam we took the cable car to Greenwich, where we visited the Greenwich Observatory, walked around the park, went to see some markets and enjoyed a wonderful all-you-can-eat buffet at a local Pizza Hut. It was a great way to celebrate, blow off some steam and bond with our course mates. 

After exams have finished there were two main events awaiting us. One positive and the other more negative. The positive was a boat party organized by the Chemical Physical Society (CPS). It was a long awaited event, the biggest CPS social of the year. We all met at the Festival Pier on Southbank and the boat took off precisely at 7pm and took us along the parliament, the Big Ben, along Chelsea and then back around to the other side, all the way to Canary Wharf and the more modern part of London. It was a great event and it was especially fun to see some of the not-always-so-social chemists outside of the lecture halls and corridors of the Chemistry building. 

To see London and all its famous sights lit up was a beautiful experience, even more so maybe, because we were able to drown our worries about the exams in a glass of wine or beer. 

The last, and ever so slightly negative, part of my first year at UCL was the moving out of student accommodation and saying bye to my flat mates. We had a great year together, we have never been the best of friends, but we have all become very used to living together and meeting in the kitchen and bonding over one of the boys’ messiness. Packing up a whole year worth of stuff isn’t the easiest either. I ended up having to buy 2 more suitcases and flying home with a total of 5. Thankfully I had my mom to help me move, but still it must have been entertaining to watch the two of us try to transport the 5 suitcases down an escalator. But we made it, got home safely and now I have a weeks to relax before exam results come out. I am working part time, enjoying being home with my family and friends and looking forward to see what next year has to offer…

 

 

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