I left KEHS in the summer of 2012 and arrived in London eager (but still fairly nervous) to see what university life was really like. University College London was my ‘wild card’ when I applied for university, I hadn’t heard much about it and didn’t really know of anyone or heard of anyone that had gone there before me. However, the offer holders open day really swayed my opinion. It was clear from the relaxed and friendly relationships between the undergraduates and the lecturers that, because of its small size, the department has a warmth and security which reminded me of the KEHS classics department. I can’t stress enough how important it is to pick a university environment you will feel happy and confident in with people who are willing to help you, be they fellow students or lecturers.
When the time came to apply for university I struggled to choose between English Literature, History and Latin. Classics was the perfect choice for me because at UCL it really does combine all those areas. In my first year I studied linguistics, Greek and Latin literature, Approaches to Greek Myth and of course Greek and Latin language. My choices ended up being mostly focused on literature but I could have taken modules in Ancient History, Archaeology, Palaeography- The choice really is vast. The variety means that there’s always something new to tackle when Greek verbs are becoming too much of a strain!
University life is very different to school. It is important to motivate yourself, tackle work independently and balance your work with societies. You’ve all probably heard your teachers telling you that at university lecturers aren’t going to chase you for work. While this is very true, don’t assume that lecturers don’t want to help you at all. Your lecturers are an invaluable resource, too many students assume they won’t be interested in helping you or find them intimidating but remember, it reflects well on the department if their students are achieving a high standard so lecturers will often be happy to guide you. I can’t stress enough how important it is to be confident. The Classics department at KEHS is fantastic and by the time I left school I was very well equipped to tackle the work I now face at university. The same will be true of you. There are too many girls who fear intellectual scrutiny but you are here to learn and one of the best ways to do that is to engage fully with a lecture or seminar (even if it exposes your ignorance!) Be the one that speaks up and you will improve your ability to articulate your thoughts which will stand you in such good stead for the future.
Classics really is a great degree to have as it teaches you a variety of skills that can be applied to almost any career. UCL Classics graduates have pursued careers in Law, Accountancy, Teaching, Publishing… The list goes on. I’m interested in Arts Management which encompasses everything from curating museum exhibitions to managing a theatre or running an art gallery. The organisational skills that I’ve learnt from my degree and producing the UCL Greek Play are invaluable for this area. Careers aside, the more you put into your degree the more you’ll get out of it, so study Classics because it fascinates you and you’ll have a great time!