Updated: Aug 29
Have you been visualising college life but not been sure where you want to go?
Or you know exactly where you want to go, but are unsure of how to get there?
Here is my personal experience of going from a private school in New Delhi, India, to graduating from King’s College London, UK. Hopefully my experience helps all of you with your journey.
High school in Delhi:
I studied at Shri Ram School Aravali, and let me tell you, until the beginning of Grade 11, I was not academically inclined at all… I must have set a school record for the number of science and math exams failed. Where I lacked in academics, I made up for in sports such as tennis and football.
As I started thinking about my future, I decided I wanted to spend my college days at a top university in London. This certainly wasn’t going to happen with how my academics were going. After some perseverance, I was able to push myself to achieve a 94% in my Grade 12 board exams. That wasn’t it - I was also the house captain of the senior student council as well as an active member of the football team.
When I met my conditional offer from ‘King’s College London’, I was so thrilled because in a very short duration, I achieved my goal to study at a top university in London. Lesson learnt : If you know what you want, you’ll find a way to achieve it, but start preparing early if you can.
How did I adapt to the diverse cultures
16th September, 2017 - the day I began my journey at King’s. I'd heard that London was packed with Indians, and it was true. This meant that I could easily make friends, but it also meant that I would not get out of my comfort zone. Personally, I wanted to make friends from every continent. Guess what, I succeeded. You will too. You make your own university experience, nobody does it for you.
Adapting to the culture is super easy - every fresher is in exactly the same position as you; lost, and trying to figure out how to be independent at university. Be open minded, curious and extroverted, and you will make an inseparable friend group.
Lesson learnt : open minds connect with open minds, surround yourself with the right people for you.
Striking a balance
Let’s get to what is an extremely important aspect for most students - how’s the social life? The UK is different from the US in a lot of ways - Legal age is 18, which means a lot of social gatherings coming as part of the university experience, and that could very well mean your academics take a backseat. It happened to me in my first year, and it has happened to so many of my other friends. I don’t regret it though. I learnt from it and did things differently moving forward.
I learnt the importance of a routine and this led me to creating a priority list every morning. There were times I compromised social life for academics, and I learnt to be at peace with those decisions. I learnt that balancing academics, extracurriculars, and a healthy social life are all important - you just have to know when to focus on what. Explore in your first year, and then make sure you know exactly what is important to you.
Lesson learnt : find what is important to you.
If there is one thing I hope you all can take away from this, it is to not waste time stressing and making sure you jump on every opportunity available to you.
College life is a journey - make memories, friends that last a lifetime, and do all the adventurous things that you’re afraid of. You will come out a different person, I promise you.
My journey turned into the most special three years of my life so far. Best of luck with your journey, I really hope it is everything you wish for.