One of the daunting things about arriving at LSE is that most of us go from being top of the class at our secondary schools to, well just someone ordinary at LSE. Getting into LSE is a major achievement but once you’re here it’s easy to take that for granted. As a result of this, sometimes it’s easy to get a little down trodden feeling and end up thinking that you are going to fail, end up jobless, disowned by your family forever more etc. etc.
Here are two tips I would give as a third year for any perfectionists (like myself) who may sometimes have their egos dented:
1. Don’t take things literally! It’s taken me two and a half years to feel comfortable with the idea that ‘completing’ a reading doesn’t entail reading it from front to back completely. At school I always completed all of my work, I always handed it in and got good marks. At university the potential amount of reading could last you a lifetime, don’t put your expectations too high on yourself. Learn to be selective and trust your note-taking capabilities.
2. Don’t compare yourself to others. LSE students are continually competing with each-other even once they’ve got their places at the university. It’s kind of in our blood. Sometimes it’s worthwhile having a bit of competition to spur you on, that’s why LSE students do well at finding jobs because there’s a massive internship culture at the university. I don’t think I’d have done three internships whilst at university if it wasn’t for the fact that everyone else was. So whilst there is good in this, don’t get too carried away. Remember that just because you got a 59 in an essay doesn’t mean everyone else got 75’s. Whereas at school sometimes you are more aware of other people’s progress, at LSE it’s easy to hear about those that did particularly well that time round, but they probably won’t be shouting about it, when they’re the one to get a 59. The fact of the matter is, all of our marks fluctuate from time to time. Believing in yourself and not constantly comparing yourself to others is sometimes the best thing to do.