29. November 2019 Samanta Rožánková


It is interesting, how differently we perceive time. Up until the results of our final exams have been released, time was passing by so slowly and then on the 2nd of July it started flying by. I passed my exams and in my hand I was holding a confirmation of making it into my second year. Finally, I was able to relax and let go of all the “what if“ scenarios and start enjoying my summer holidays to the fullest.

I split them very fairly into some part-time work, travelling, spending time with my friends and family and last but not least a little bit of revision. It all went by so fast and all of the sudden it was August and I had to start looking for a place to stay in the new academic year. The university does not offer student accommodation for second year students, so I had to start looking into some flat-shares. I made myself a budget, decided on what areas I want to be looking at and started the search. Everything was done over the internet, all the way from Prague. And all of the sudden time started to drag on again. I was starting to panic that I will have nowhere to live. It wasn’t that I would be too picky, but there were always some hidden costs or conditions and sometimes the landlord just stopped replying or simply picked someone else. Then I finally found a place and in mid-September I was headed back to London with all my suitcases and I found myself stood on the very busy Camden High Street, waiting to meet my landlord for the first time. Everything went smoothly and soon I was in my room unpacking. My room is tiny, but very cosy and looks exactly as it did in the photos and videos I have seen. The bathroom and the shared kitchen and living space are spacious and clean, the flatmates are really nice and we even have quite a big terrace. Our flat is about a 20 minute walk from uni, supermarkets, cafés and a gym are only a few meters away, so I have a perfect access to everything I need.

Uni started on the 30th September, but I had to be in London a little bit sooner, as I have signed up to be a transition mentor for incoming first year students. I still remember how grateful I was last year, when my transition mentor was there for me, helped me figure out uni, London and many times just life in general and I was very much looking forward to using my first year experience and what I have learned to help the freshers. It took quite some time before our department has assigned the mentoring groups, so we didn’t actually start the programme until the second week of October. Now we meet every week and we discuss how everyone is doing in uni, how they are adjusting we try to help with projects, try to give tips on how to revise and how to stay on top of lecture material, basically anything that comes to mind. Our meeting are quite informal and relaxed and we always try to bring some cookies. You would not believe the effects a pack of cookies can have on attendance!

Our lectures have been quite demanding since day 1, no easing us back into school life. We had our timetable available to us since about the beginning of September, but labs, which we have so many of this year, have not been assigned until about mid-October. We have a few new modules this year, which I have been looking forward to, like pharmacology or molecular biology, but we also have statistics, which I am not so excited for. Everyday studying is a must, since we have quite a few exams all throughout the first term and at the start of Term 2 as well.

Free time is very rare, but there are still some events that I would not miss for the world. For example the annual meeting of all Czech and Slovak students from all London based universities, which takes place in the beginning of October in a pub at Baker Street. It is an event that I have attended last year as well and I have been looking forward to it ever since then. We have also celebrated the establishment of Czechoslovakia, which was held on the 28th October and was organised by our amazing Czech&Slovak society in collaboration with Imperial College London. We met at the UCL campus, we got together and talked, ate some pizza, watched a few videos about Czechoslovakia and then slowly moved a few floors down to one of the renown UCL student bars.

And there is more exciting news! I started skating again. I was really missing skating last year. In spring I have tried out for a British team called Icicles and I went to a few of their practices and I have had so much fun. I thought about joining for quite a while, but then I thought to myself, „if not now, then when?“ and I messaged the manager confirming that I will be joining the team for the 2019/20 season. It is very exhausting and time consuming sometimes, as the team is based in Nottingham, so we have to travel quite far for practices. It won’t be easy, but it feels amazing to be a part of a team again and to be able to live the atmosphere of practices and competitions.
So the plan for the next few months is clear. Study, skate and study some more. So wish me luck!



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