Prior to writing this article I tried to think of things I didn’t like about London Metropolitan University; things I wish they’d done better, or things I would personally do differently. For once I found I had very little to say and as yet I have not been able to fault them.
Instead I thought I’d share with you what I have found to be good about London Met.
I’d like to start at the beginning. When applying for a university place in 2012, I did my research and decided to apply to London Metropolitan University, University College London, York University and London South Bank University. At the time of applying my first choice was London Met for four simple reasons:
1) The buildings and facilities looked stunning.
2) It was rated the most improved university according to the National Student Survey.
3) It was by far the cheapest for course fees .
4) By chance, I had heard some London Met staff talk as part of an event at the British Library, which included a lecture by the Dean of the law faculty, Robert Mckeever. I was so impressed, that after the event I felt compelled to write him to thank him and let him know that of the range of speakers at the event, including two former United States congressmen and speakers from other universities, he was the best speaker there by a mile. This was my first glimpse of the brilliant lecturers and tutors that London Met had to offer.
When my exam results came I was happily in the position where I’d achieved good enough grades to get into 3 of the 4 Universities I had applied for. London Met was the first to reply with an offer, London South Bank replied about a month later, and I never received replies from the others, probably because I’d accepted the offer to go to London Met before the others got back to me.
Within a week of my accepting the offer I received details of the enrolment and the date. When the date arrived, I enrolled in around half an hour despite the crowds of other new students enrolling.
When I started studying, the university had just introduced a new way of teaching with four, year-long, 30 credit modules with seminars to support lecture material. I found the seminars in particular to be brilliant; usually happening right after the relevant lectures, they were a great way to consolidate the things I’d learnt in the lecture, ask any questions and spark conversation and debate between students. The seminars helped me to get to know my fellow students and staff and rapidly increased my confidence and interest in law.
The rich cultural variety of students at London met is very impressive and I quickly made new friends and began to learn a lot about and from them too. Everybody is extremely friendly and the university quickly and effectively encourages students to integrate and become a part of the London Met culture, providing plenty of social functions, opportunities and social spaces such the Goulston Street Atrium, the Calcutta House lounge and canteen, and the Rocket club!
The least favourite part of my London Met experience to date has been the public transport in the morning, which I can’t really blame London Met for. I coped with the transport by working on the way. I’d soon discovered London Met had an iphone app called ‘Blackboard’ which allowed you easy access to lecture and seminar material and alerted you when new material was published. I used this app to download detailed lecture notes onto my phone which I read on my way into university.
The lecturers, particularly Cliff Snaith and Janet Loveless whose passion for their subjects was inspiring and captivating made the two hour lectures, sometimes with 15 minutes to stretch our legs, pass by in a blink. I was allowed to carry a laptop with me to these lectures and seminars for which I was grateful as I was better able to take and organise my notes. Other students make use of a variety of devices for recording lectures or taking notes including tablets and phones; I gather we were all advised to ask permission before hand but in most cases the advice was it was fine.
In the seminars, Antony Rich, the tutor who ran my contract law seminar was by far the most stern and rigorous. He was a very friendly and nice person who wanted to give us all a big push. It was his seminars that encouraged me to work the hardest and for that work I was awarded a very good grade. So, thank you Antony Rich.
Another favourite seminar tutor of mine was David Barraclough. He was also a no nonsense tutor who ran his seminars informally and interpersonally. His extensive vocabulary and extensive range of knowledge of both legal and general matters astounded me and his ability to address a group so professionally and yet so informally left you feeling that he was having a one-to-one session with each of you simultaneously and this led me to enjoy his seminars very much.
Mischa Allen, my criminal law seminar tutor was the easiest person in the world to feel comfortable around. During the seminars Mischa seemed very concerned with making sure you were absolutely clear about what you’d learnt that day as opposed to strictly following the seminar material. This made her seminars invaluable and missing a single one could only ultimately make you regret it. It wasn’t until towards the end of the year however that I’d realised we were in fact ahead of the rest of the seminar groups, and that Mischa had cleverly and almost imperceptibly incorporated all the seminar content we were required to cover in her informal and very enjoyable seminars.
I name the preceding staff members for the reasons mentioned as I was so thoroughly delighted with their proficiency that even towards the end of the summer holiday they have left a lasting impression on my mind. However, I should mention that all the staff I encountered were brilliant, keen minded professionals that addressed every issue, problem or question I sent their way.
Another element of the London Met team that impressed me was the security. Within the first few weeks of being at London Met I walked in on a heated dispute between a couple of friends, in which I felt compelled to personally intervene. This was the only incident I witnessed in my year at London Met, and a stern word sent both parties off in other directions but I decided to report the incident to security. By chance one of the couple was just leaving the building as I reported it. The security staff dealt with the matter promptly and professionally and I found their approach reassuring and friendly. I had further dealings with security, from time to time, because I’d forgotten my ID card and needed to get into the building. They were very helpful in this regard and let me through when I told them my student ID number.
The undergraduate office made submitting coursework simple and easy. When completing a piece of coursework you just need to print off a cover sheet, which is available online via E-vision. Once that’s done all you need to do is take it to the undergraduate office, they scan it in and an e-mail receipt is automatically sent to you. Simple. E-vision also lets you check your course specific information such as coursework deadlines, and later on in the year, seminar and exam results.
The university also kept me informed sending me various e-mails about talks that they had set up given by some influential figures from the profession including some former students.
In the library there is a desk set up for the careers department. I recently went to speak to careers and I was offered help to write my CV and was given a lot of advice on how to get work experience. I was told how to book an appointment for a one to one session to cover any further points that I was unsure of or needed help with, from my CV, to filling in work applications and even where to apply for experience.
When it came to exams, I sat two this year, both of which I felt perfectly prepared for. The university finished giving lectures and seminars roughly a week or so before the exams giving us ample time to revise as well as running their own revision sessions for those that wanted to attend. The exams were held in a different campus to the one I normally attended but the exam rooms were easy to find and the buildings were clearly signposted. We were allocated 2 hours for our exams but told we could leave after the first half hour and before the last 15minuets if we wanted to.
Thus concluded my first year at London met. Overall I am extremely impressed. Since the end of term I have been in to the university to find that the library, the campus, the gym and the rocket club are all still open for students to go to, although I found it all a bit quiet and empty. I have recently been asking the university if they could support me in my own personal endeavour, the v2lawblog, the idea was very well received among the people I’d spoken to and I was told by various staff that I could put posters up on the notice boards as long as I included the university logo.
In summary, I honestly cannot wait to start the next academic year at London Metropolitan University.
Written by Peter Fisher – v2lawblog
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