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Marina Leban

June 26th, 2014

Academiaholic

1 comment

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Marina Leban

June 26th, 2014

Academiaholic

1 comment

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

I’m writing to all of you who are at LSE (or who project to come in October) and who are planning on doing a PhD after a master’s. Hear my story:

Before I came to LSE I had done a bachelor in psychology and was sick and tired of it being so theoretical and, at times, lacking entirely in critical thinking. I was frustrated because I immensely enjoyed social psychology, but academia didn’t seem to be able to nourish entirely my thirst in understanding the human being. Nevertheless, I still decided to pursue a PhD (and a master’s in between) for recognition in the academic world and in order to get a proper job.

Then I arrived at LSE, with such a determined mind, and trust me, many of my peers were the same; They had their whole lives planned out and seemed quite confident that the postgraduate programme was just some sort of one-year intense project. I remember one of our doctorates telling us the first week “you should expect to change your mind this year concerning your future plans…concerning if you want to do a PhD or not”. I would snigger at that comment and confidently lay back on my chair, probably in an arrogant way, thinking to myself ‘I don’t need to reconsider things, I know exactly what I want to do, and nothing is going to make me change my mind’.

Well I was wrong. Michealmas term taught me that my definition of hard work was flawed. Also, I not only felt overwhelmed with the amount of work (even if I tried to prepare myself psychologically), but I also felt like I hadn’t learned anything before coming here. Let me explain: in my bachelor’s degree I was a very ‘organized’ (or control freak) kind of person. I had my personal timetables and would really stick to it. First week of work at LSE, I threw away four times my once beloved ‘timetables’. I gave up on that. Instead, I would work endless hours in the library until I was done doing what I was required for the upcoming week. At this point, I thought to myself that I wasn’t sure anymore if I wanted to continue in academia later on.

Then the unimaginable happened. During the famous Cumberland lodge weekend, I met what is now my dissertation supervisor. He is, as many other LSE students who had this kind of experience would describe, an academic soul-mate, or a life revelation. I finally found a respectable, knowledgeable, kind and extremely interesting academic who shared the same research interests I had. From that moment on, I realized how oblivious I had been: I thought I hadn’t been intellectually challenged enough? Ha! I still laugh about it! I’ve been intellectually challenged from the moment I met my peers at LSE. But I was ready to accept it only at this point.

During Lent Term, personal research was emphasized due to the fact that we were required to write essays, and pushed to have very high critical thinking. My intellectual thirst was in its apotheosis! I kept on meeting lovely academics and other smart students that have changed my life and my way of thinking like never before. I wanted to do a PhD more than ever, but not for the same reasons as I cited before. I wanted to continue in academia for the love I have of learning, of doing research, of being intellectually stimulated, and because I just…can’t get enough of all of this.

I’ve met some people who told me recently that I appeared to be a confident person, a person that is made for academia. Truth is, I wasn’t like this before, at least not this much. LSE has played a huge role in the way I think, the way I act, the way I interact with people, the way I understand the world. LSE has changed me entirely, and for that I am more than thankful.

About the author

Marina Leban

MSc Organisational and Social Psychology

Posted In: News

1 Comments

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