Summation of my First Year in the UK

by Nicole Clenndining

Quick End to the Year

My first year of study in the UK was unexpectedly made more challenging by the national University and College Union strikes and the Covid-19 pandemic. While the normal school year would have concluded with a month-long window for 5 exams in May, myself and my peers had to fly back to Canada in March. The strike meant many classes were cancelled and COVID-19 forced us to deal with the uncertainties of the implications of the virus, trying to travel internationally all whilst keeping up with our readings and class sessions. Once I was settled back home, Queen Mary had managed to adapt our tutorial schedules to be hosted virtually, and our lectures to be pre-recorded and uploaded online in order to ensure we experienced as little of a delay as possible. While technology such as Microsoft blackboard and Zoom were helpful, due to the international nature of our program, it was very difficult to find times that accommodated all necessary time zones. This resulted in a shift in our 12 pm tutorials being moved to early morning and late-night sessions, which took some adjustment.

Preparation for the Future

Although the interruptions were not ideal, this past year of my Senior Status LLB program has helped prepare me for the future immensely. The unforeseen events that took place forced me to become far more adaptable than I was before, and also showed me the strengths I had and which areas of my studies I need to work on. As someone who struggles working at home, I was forced to challenge that thinking and find another method or strategy that may make being at home an asset rather than a barrier. I managed to set up a home ‘office’, keep in touch with my study group and try to keep a routine.

My home ‘office’ where I took my exams and finished out the semester

Program Details

I am studying at Queen Mary University in London and am working towards my LLB. As I have already completed a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Public Policy here in Canada, I was able to take part in the Senior Status program. This is a 2-year program rather than a 3 year and it allows me to take just the required modules necessary to practice law. This program is fast paced and differs from the 3-year alternative in a couple ways. In the 3 years program at Queen Mary, students are given the first year as an adjustment period and their grades don’t actually count to their overall grade classification upon graduation. While they still have the amount of readings, classes and assignments, their studies are more spread out in order to allow for a transition from secondary school to university. In the Senior Status program, all your assignments and exams count towards your overall grade classification as you only have 2 years to gather the required grades. While lectures take place with all 2- and 3-years students together, our tutorials are split up and we are only placed in groups with other SS students.

There is also a senior status group led by second year students who can answer questions, give advice, guidance and study tips and any other local questions you may have.

We have been told in advance by the university that studies will resume online this semester and it is our choice whether to return to the UK if we are able to.  Living and studying in the UK has been such a rewarding experience and I am excited to get back.

If you would like to find out more about studying in the UK, please contact one of our advisors