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Dear Fresher Economists....

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

My name is Manu, and I am the President of The Economist’s Society, the official economics departmental society of UCL. Firstly, congratulations on making it to UCL – you are about to embark on a very exciting and rewarding journey, towards a world-class degree at a world- leading university. Having said that, your overall experience will only be as good as you let it be. Engage, participate, be a sponge – learn as much as you can, both inside and outside the lecture halls. There is tremendous value to be gained from your classmates, lecturers, and your friends.

First year for me, was far from easy. Having travelled 8700km from home, I quickly realized that distance was not the only challenge I had to face. You may find the environment, study schedules, teaching styles and level of support vastly different to what you may be used to. Competition will be magnified as you sit alongside immensely talented future economists. You may find yourself in a battle against stress, time management and the occasional feelings of loneliness, especially if you’ve come far from home. I personally found managing my time extremely difficult, with applying for internships, the pace of study, and the extra- curriculars I was engaged in. My advice is to tackle this year with grit and confidence, knowing that you are supported. Understand from the very beginning, that your lecturers and tutors want to see you win, and that your victories will be celebrated by many. Don't be afraid to ask for help and don't hesitate to offer help – you may change someone’s whole year.

Join societies, be a part of a family away from home, keep your friends close, and work together. If there is one thing I have learned from my time at The Economist’s Society, it’s that a great dream requires a great team. Pool your knowledge together and tap into your collective synergies to overcome any obstacle; academic or otherwise.

UCL has a culture of meritocracy. If you put in the work, look after your wellbeing, and learn to love what you do, you will succeed – whatever that means to you.

Wishing you all the very best,

Manuja Jayawardana


The Economist’s Society

University College London


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