When I applied for my place at University, there was one thing that I was pretty certain about: I wanted to be in London. That meant that King’s, UCL and LSE were all on the list. When it came down to selection time, fortunately enough I had offers from all three. However, due to my worldwide gap year galavanting, I didn’t get the opportunity to visit LSE before I made my final decision.
How then was I to choose between three respected Universities, all in the same place? I had already eliminated King’s as I wanted a human-geography based course whereas its was more general. So the battle was between LSE and UCL, two universities that league tables and online student forums tirelessly debate.
It is only now on looking back that I realise how little 1 or 2 places in a league table means. Granted, they can be useful for gauging an approximate level but they should certainly not be what dictates your final decision.
Next I came to look through all of the online and print resources I had available to me. Wonderful adjectives bounced from the page: diverse, innovative, lively. But with both universities giving me similar promises, how could I distinguish between them? Were they being honest?
The answer is, yes, they both were. UCL and LSE are both wonderful institutions. However, there were two things about LSE that sealed the deal for me, and I stand by them to this date.
Forget what your parents or your teachers tell you. You could go to the best university in the world, according to your Mother. But if you didn’t want to go there, you wouldn’t do well, even if they had the best teaching resources. University requires a lot of discipline and motivation. My motivation comes from my love of my subject. I care passionately about Geography. It is in all we see and do. I want to understand how the people in this world work so that I can obtain the skills I need to make their lives and my own better. The LSE geography course satisfies all of my interests, we span people, those with the most and those with the least power and how they interact in our world of environmental and economic pressures. Pick a course that you love, nothing else is going to keep you writing that essay at 2am.
“Rerum cognoscere causas”- so it might be a bit flouncy. I’d be quite content with it in English to be honest. Not to be underestimated, I see the meaning of this statement manifested in things around me everyday at LSE. It’s not about big old buildings or dusty books, qualities that surround much of the traditions behind the best English educational outlets. No, it’s in the people, the energy, the ideas. LSE might be a university known for its hard working students, but believe me, they know how to party too. It’s entirely up to you. If you want to go out 7 nights a week, all the best to you (I just can’t say your liver will thank you). If you’re not a night owl, don’t worry, that’s fine too. Most importantly, the best thing about people at LSE is that they are not scared to voice their own opinions, they are not silenced by the status quo. Sure, that might mean there’s a little bit of controversy on campus from time to time, that’s bound to happen when you put so many different people together to share ideas. However, I promise you, I definitely made the right decision and there hasn’t been a dull moment yet.