While the first week in London and accompanying jet lag might be taking a toll on our sleep and health, the Department of Social Policy made the best out of this to make us feel home. From the friendly lunches to the seminars sprinkled with pep talks, there was a warmth in the welcome that made us forget that how far we had come from our people.
I remember that two days before boarding the flight to London I was afraid of losing ‘my people.’ I worried that I might not meet compassionate and driven students and professors and make another group of ‘my people’ so early at LSE. All thanks to the Departmental gatherings, I didn’t really feel that this was so far from home.
The first day was a breeze. I fit into the LSE way of welcome in the Old Theatre and the lunch following it. This wasn’t the sort of gathering where you feel alienated or out-of-place. Days on days, we met more, mingled ardently and gained an insight into the Department—and, of course, our peers. For these five days, there was no inhibition among us while we ate lunch with bunches, all of us coming from different countries. The teaching staff was kind enough to join us in those times and gave us a first-hand account of the life we had signed up to live for the next year. Stirring up steaming conversations with a cool glass of wine has been the highlight of the Welcome Week 2019 for most of us.
A small talk with Dr Sunil Kumar, a budging-in into Professor David Lewis’s office for a quick chat and a feel-good conversation with Dr Sonia Exley at the Welcome Lunch gave me a guidebook for my Michaelmas Semester. The wisdom that I have been exposed to seems so vast that it is going to take a lot of time to absorb it in fullness.
Moreover, how can one forget the amazing goodie bag and the hoody we have been flaunting around campus and in our LSE halls! These tokens are a caring way to instil a sense of belonging in our cohort. Adding to it, the novel concept of peer groups is turning out to be useful for interacting in a closely-knit circle where we get to know our peers in a personal capacity.
Outside the Department, the major highlight for me has been the LSESU Student Fair. I come from a background of public policy research, theatre and literature, so this was—hands down—my Achilles’s heel this week. Signing up for so many societies, getting to know what every society stands for, how long they have been working, what events will they be hosting, and how we can be involved has broadened my idea of time management this year.
The best part about the whole week and the events was that they were accommodative and inclusive. I remember meeting so many people, that at this point, I can’t fathom to remember all their names. But there are impressions of kindness I have seen in my classmates and department’s administration; their stories stay in my heart as separate lights of struggles and successes that will guide me this year and beyond. I have listened to so many diverse stories in these gatherings that I can’t reduce them to this small article. So, the plan is to keep you updated on more stories of learning, kindness and diversity from the Department of Social Policy and the LSE.
Note: This article gives the views of the authors, and not the position of the Social Policy Blog, nor of the London School of Economics.