UCL - Social Sciences
Food and Families Going into Hard Times
I study European, Social and Political sciences at UCL, and I’m a first year Laidlaw Scholar.
Going into the Laidlaw program, I expected to be treated as a student not as a colleague but I was taken really seriously and professionally and that was a great experience as a first year undergraduate student. The scholarship has taught me lots of skills I can use either in my further studies or my career in general. I feel it was a really good chance to gain research experience and to build my own skills with time to reflect on my abilities and my ambitions.
I feel like excelling in academics is not really enough in today’s world therefore the leadership training is important to everyone. I had previous leadership experience but the Laidlaw leadership program is so much more than being a leader in a classical sense. It taught me about different kinds of leadership and how you can apply them to lots of different kinds of situations. I really enjoyed the team building activities as it was amazing to see people from other disciplines solve problems in a completely different way. As a social scientist it was really interesting for me to observe how engineers or medics tackle the same problem in a completely differently.
I carried out qualitative socio-logical research into food and families in hard times. The main skill I developed was how to deal with qualitative data, which was a really interesting experience going through real interview transcripts and having a more detailed insight to the topic. Through my research I got the chance to go to a conference at UCL where I was the youngest person in the room. Being mentored by a leading academic at the Thomas Corren research unit was an amazing experience. When I was doing my background reading I came across the name of my supervisor multiple times and that was a shock to me that I work with the best in the field. I got to ask them questions and they actually listened to my opinion about their research, which was so unexpected for a first year undergraduate student.
I think what will really benefit me is to be part of a network and create connections with talented ambitious students all over the world. When attending the scholarship I met interesting people from different disciplines with big ambitions. We tried to keep contact and meet up a couple of times during the scholarship as I feel like it is really important to share this experience with others.