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7 Signs You Studied at UCL

7 Signs You Studied at UCL main image

In the run-up to the launch of the QS World University Content®2016-2017, we thought we might explore what it’s like to study at some of the top universities in the world… First on our list is the UK-based University College London (UCL). If you studied at UCL, we bet you recognize at least some of these traits and habits!

1. The name ‘King’s College London (KCL)’ evokes many associations…

…Mostly unpleasant. Yes, you’re still struggling to overcome your unshakable aversion to KCL and suspect it MIGHT have something to do with the age-old rivalry between the two schools, which dates back, , to the founding of both universities in the 1820s…

2. You know Senate House Library like the back of your hand.

Located in Bloomsbury between Warren Street, Euston Square and Euston, UCL is just a stone’s throw away from Senate House, an enormous central library built in the art deco style and serving a group of universities known as ‘the University of London’, which include King’s College London, Queen Mary University (QMUL) and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

The odds are that you saved yourself the expenses of paying for overpriced textbooks by checking them out for free at Senate House, developing in this way an intuitive knowledge of the place and its corridors, quirks and secret passages.

3. You’re familiar with the Jeremy Bentham pub. Very much so.

The Jeremy Bentham pub in Bloomsbury on University Street is a local favorite with professors and students alike. Chances are you frequented the place and would rather dislodge it from your memory altogether. In fact, one night in particular stands out from the rest, that is, your department’s Christmas party… But what happens at the Bentham stays at the Bentham!

4. You’re basically a Londoner now.

For most people, moving to London from their hometown or another city is a big step (and an expensive one). Overcoming the associated struggles of making ends meet as a student in a city as notoriously costly and overwhelming as London is basically like a rite of passage. Once you’ve made it past the one year anniversary mark, you’re in! And learning to love your hardships is quintessentially very London. “Oh you’re only paying £500 a month for a room in a flat-share! That’s really cheap! Do you have a double bed?”

5. You were never as cool as the kids at SOAS and Goldsmiths, and that’s okay.

The SOAS building is located very close to UCL, and students of the two universities often pass each other on the way to and from Senate House or Warren Street underground. Obviously, this is a massive stereotype, but one that probably rings true with many: SOAS is infinitely cooler than UCL (and most London universities, for that matter, except perhaps for Goldsmiths), and it’s not hard to see why… SOAS’s courses range from bachelor’s degrees in Persian to master’s degrees in Taiwan studies, and the school is generally known for encouraging inclusivity and avant-garde research. The SOAS bar of course has a jukebox – free to use – which regularly plays eclectic music ranging from Vivaldi to funk to bashment.

6. You’ve tried to chat someone up on the steps of the Wilkins Building at least once and failed miserably.

UCL students often have a rest or a snack on the steps of the spectacular Wilkins Building in between library sessions, classes or during the warmer months when the sun’s out… It *should* be a great spot to meet someone but it’s not, and no case of this happening has ever been reported.

7. You feel nostalgic whenever the Metropolitan line stops at Euston Square.

Whether or not you’re still currently living in London, regularly visit or avoid the place altogether, this sentiment is probably accurate. You miss it! Regardless of how much you enjoyed your lectures, it’s probable that UCL fulfilled such a formative and foundational role in your life that you couldn’t help but love it. Or at least smile nostalgically when you look back.

Recognize any of the above, or have more to add? Share your own UCL memories in the comments below or on Twitter (#QSWUR). And if you studied at another of the world’s top universities, get in touch to share your own list of unique experiences. 

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Written by Mathilde Frot
I'm originally French but I grew up in Casablanca, Kuala Lumpur and Geneva. When I'm not writing for QS, you'll usually find me sipping espresso(s) with a good paperback.

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