“You are here to learn.” I nearly forgot. Amid the chaos of moving to London, finding my way around, figuring out how the school works (still not sure), trying to make new friends (still can’t remember names), and believing that I would get to see Kofi Annan, I had forgotten why I was actually here. As my program adviser reassured me that the course she was suggesting would be a good fit for me, and reminded me that I was “here to learn” I could feel the thoughts that were racing inside my brain settle down a bit.
It was the last day in a series of too many long days filled with inductions, orientations and a “Fresher’s Fair” that made absolutely no sense to me (as of yet, I have joined zero societies). Bombarded with information that I selectively remembered and mostly forgot, I couldn’t even recall what I wanted to talk to my adviser about. At the meeting I could hear myself blurting out sentences, incomplete thoughts, scattered ideas that seemed to have no coherence. I cringed at myself on the inside, embarrassed by my inability to eloquently convey what I wanted to study. I wanted to make a good impression, and feared that I was crashing and burning with every “neoliberalism”, “democracy” and “capitalism” that came out of my mouth. My adviser quickly directed me to the courses that aligned more with my interests. How had she deciphered that through my confusing ramble? Apparently she had.
I walked out of the adviser’s office and wondered if my time at LSE would be marked by a series of embarrassing moments and utter confusion. When would I just know things and stop feeling like an idiot in an overwhelming metropolis? As I walked past the transparent glass wall of the “PhD students only” computer lab, one of the two students in the lab hurried out and pulled off the door handle. She smiled a bit and told me that it had been broken for some time. She then began to try to put the door handle back in place. Mistakes will be made, embarrassing moments are inevitable, things (and maybe students) will fall apart. Learn from it all, fix it if it breaks and keep moving forward.