Before beginning my year at LSE, my parents and I spent the summer watching a collection of British television shows thanks to Masterpiece, the United States producing partner to many BBC and iTV favorites, including Downton Abbey.
It was one series in particular that gave us a catchphrase as I prepared for my move to London. The Buccaneers, which aired in 1995, tells the story of a group of American heiresses who travel to England to find husbands (think Cora from Downton). Based on Edith Wharton’s novel of the same name, it follows the girls from summers in Newport to lessons with their governess to coming out parties with London high society.
For us, one of the more memorable lines quickly became an oft-repeated sentiment: “They have come for the London season.”
As I prepared for my own ‘London season’ as a student in the MSc Politics & Communication program, we jokingly exclaimed this phrase time and again, for surely my own ‘season’ will be quite a bit different. I’ll swap distinguished parties for study sessions, piano sheet music for journal articles, and, hopefully at the end of this great adventure, elegant dresses for a cap and gown.
But even though it won’t be filled with the glamour of royal parties that graced the television screen, I am determined to make the most of this year in London, a desire augmented by my department orientation in the first week.
I can’t say I wasn’t nervous in the lead up to this day. But as I settled in to listen to Head of Department Nick Couldry welcome new students, my nerves melted into excitement. Professor Couldry ended his presentation by encouraging us to take advantage of the fact that we are studying here, in a center of culture, media, and politics, by getting out and seeing all city has to offer.
Dr. Bart Cammaerts, director of the Politics & Communication program, then closed out the day of presentations urging us to “follow our heart and go with our passions.”
A seemingly simple message, but one that carries a good deal of weight at the beginning of this journey. It was my passion for politics, for communication, for learning, and for exploration that brought me to LSE, and I am thrilled that I have found a place where these passions will be nurtured and championed.
The adventure has only begun. Cheers to my London season!