I am a keen sportswoman and when I arrived at LSE I was really keen to get involved.
In my first year at LSE I focused on getting involved in societies which I thought would help me gain internships, so for my area of interest this consisted of The Beaver (our student paper) and Pulse Radio. I wasn’t sure how much time I would have to spare, as I had a part time job as well. So at first I vouched just to exercise in my spare time on an ad hoc basis, either at the gym, running or playing squash with friends in my halls. By a few weeks in I realised that my timetable allowed me to put some time aside for sport. I wanted to join in with netball as it was what I played most at school, but as their trials were over, I opted for hockey instead.
I really enjoyed my time playing hockey, both the matches and socialising after games, getting to know a group of people outside of my course. However, as time went on I felt increasingly uncomfortable with the drinking culture and pressures that manifested themselves in sports involvement.
I am not criticising LSE on this front, my friends at other universities throughout the country have confirmed the same trend. But by second year, when I got into the London Marathon, I decided to find a running club outside of campus.
At the end of last term I played in the Athletics Union Christmas Cup, an informal tournament of different sports, with teams from departments and societies competing against one another. I played netball with Geography.
While I had a great time training for the marathon last year, running lacks intensity for me once a race is over. I crave the camaraderie and mental stimulation of a tactical team game. So I decided to buck up my ideas when some girls at the Christmas Cup recognised my ability to play and asked me to join their team.
This term, I’m going to be back on the court and part of the LSE AU again. As a message to freshers joining LSE, I would say don’t be put off by the drinking culture surrounding the AU. While some nights involve drinking games and the like, team dinners (held twice a term) and the AU Ball strike a different tone. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you as an individual decide how you want to conduct yourself, whether you don’t drink at all, perhaps a bit, or you want to go all the way. Providing you are certain of yourself, people will soon enough get the idea. It should be the sport that bonds you, not the booze.