Jacob Bailey is a postgraduate student on the MA in Russian and Post-Soviet Politics. Originally from Yorkshire, he’s spent the past five years living in London. Here, Jacob reflects on his first term at UCL and getting involved in UCL’s Introductory Programme.
What are you studying and why are you attracted to this subject?
I am studying for my MA in Russian and Post-Soviet Politics. I applied for this programme as I wanted to specialise in an area I was fascinated in and it offered the opportunity to study on an intensive course in the Russian language. Now that I’ve completed the first term, I’m really happy that I made this choice to join this programme.
How did you feel before your first term at UCL?
I was really nervous! I’d had two years out from studying after my undergraduate, so I was very worried about going back into education. I really was dreading the awkwardness of online Zoom classes, but thankfully I soon got into the swing of it. It was strange at first that my only communication with my new classmates was to be over the internet, but after a week or so, I had gotten over it.
Why did you decide to complete the Introductory Programme?
I completed the Introductory Programme (IP) as I hadn’t had the opportunity to visit UCL between my application and before starting my programme in September. I saw the IP as a virtual introduction to the university and it helped me feel more part of a community that I was physically distant from.
What did you find interesting/surprising/helpful about the Introductory Programme at the time?
The most interesting and surprising part of the Introductory Programme for me was that about Jeremy Bentham and how his corpse was preserved and then put on display on campus! I was really confused as to why somebody would want to be put on display after death, but the programme provided good rationales for his decision.
The most useful aspect of the programme was about the other work that UCL does and their plans for the future. It was really enlightening to have an insight into the UCL outside of my degree.
Looking back, one term on, how did the Introductory Programme prepare you for your first term and your experience of studying at UCL?
The Introductory Programme initially helped me prepare for the first term by showing me what to expect and to show me what I was missing on campus for the first term. Understanding more about the history of UCL is really useful as so much of their history will be reflected in how they operate today. The Introductory Programme also provided me with answers to questions that I didn’t realise I had.
What one top tip would you give for making the most of studying online?
I would advise students to approach online learning with an open mind and for them to be confident that the teaching and learning will be as close as possible to in-person teaching. I would also recommend students take regular breaks from the screen as too much time glaring at a computer is never healthy!
Lastly...what one thing are you looking forward to next term?
Coronavirus permitting, I’m really looking forward to having more opportunities for face-to-face teaching - just to get me out the house if not for anything else! I’m looking forward to spending more time with my classmates and to be able to do things that we took for granted before the pandemic.