‘What would be the point of being at LSE if I do not feel challenged?’ Global Master’s in Management student Maieule de Carné, learns to let go of perfectionism, and focus on learning.
It is the last Thursday before the end of term, and here I am, sitting on a plane to Dublin reflecting on my first semester at LSE. I am staring at Ryanair’s garish yellow seat in front of me, hoping to get inspired. Truth is, so much has happened in the last three months that I don’t need any inspiration to write. It is funny how many expectations I had when I started on my first day. And now I am off to Ireland with three of my coursemates who, in a little less than three months, have become three of my favourite people.
I applied for the Global Master’s in Management in November last year. On 22 December, I received my offer, and the dream finally came true. If that isn’t a great Christmas present, then what is?
This means I had 8 months to build up my expectations of LSE. In my case, the overly worried type, this quickly turned into apprehensions, to the great pleasure of my family and closest friends.
It is true that before LSE, I always kept on top of my to-do lists. I used to complete assignments in advance, do all additional exercises and optional readings. As a runner, I am an expert at planning and organising my time, keeping in control. And I have never had to ‘catch-up’ on anything.
My first weeks hit me like a brick, and I started to question my capacity to make it through this degree. It is only after talking to a member of academic staff that I finally got it. His reply to my worries? “If you were only getting distinctions, you would be wasting your time here. LSE would have nothing to teach you”. Touché.
So long perfectionism and distinctions, I am here to learn. Actually, what would be the point of being at LSE if I do not feel challenged? It’s okay not to be on top of things because there is so much to do in such little time. And time goes fast, too fast. But you will catch up, eventually.
LSE also gives you to the tools to succeed. I expected it to be a ruthless environment, and to have no friends. Wrong. During my undergraduate degree, there were 300 people in my lectures. At LSE, there are about 85 students enrolled on my course in first year, and that is a huge difference.
Firstly, your lecturers and tutors know who you are. They want you to do well, but they also want to challenge you, because they know you can do better. And don’t forget: knowing the theory is never enough – being critical is the new cool.
But there is something else in the school that makes it so special: the people. An 85-people course, it is like a big family, and I get so much support from my friends. We are all different and every single person brings something unique to our team. Some of us have business backgrounds, others neuroscience. People have lived in different countries and speak multiple languages. One is a doctor. Another does professional photography. To me, this diversity is the beauty of the GMiM. We may not have the same long-term life goals, but we are all going through this two-year Master’s together. This creates strong friendships, and that is gold.
Still though, you need a break from coursework sometimes, and there is so much on offer beyond the classroom. I have become an expert at “making time when I have no time”. I am Events Associate at TEDxLSE, student ambassador and blog writer. I go to public lectures and career events. I discover new places in London every week. I still run, and I get to see my boyfriend outside LSE!
I think that being at university is about building your personality. You have to find the time to do so, especially when you are lucky enough to be a LSE student. I have changed a lot during my undergraduate degree and I kept myself incredibly busy – cultural immersion opportunities, skydiving, running a marathon etc. But it was foolish of me to think I had actually experienced getting out of my comfort zone. The truth is, you never stop learning. At LSE, I am pushed to my limits, face-to-face with my worries and weaknesses. But I know what I am good at, and I try to capitalise on my strengths to work on myself. So far, it’s working.
To me, life is a marathon, not a sprint, and you have to put in the effort and time to invest in yourself. Yes, I need to work hard, but I am convinced this Master’s will be a learning experience that lasts for a lifetime. Beware graduation, I’m coming for you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Maieule de Carné is pursuing a Global Masters in Management (GMiM) at the LSE Department of Management. Born and raised in Paris, she recently graduated with a Bachelor in Business and Management with European Study and German from Exeter University. She spent her third year in Germany, studying at WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management for one semester and then completing a 6-month International Marketing internship in Munich. Her time living in France, England and Germany enabled her to gain a truly European experience and she has now embarked on the GMiM programme to get international exposure.