I’m not sure, but I think I might be the only blogger on this site who’s experienced LSE as both an undergraduate and a postgraduate. (For those who don’t remember, I was here as a second-year General Course student two years ago.) And let me tell you, grad life is different. When I was here last time, I lived in Passfield Hall – a fifteen minute walk from campus – with hundreds of other undergrads, ate communal meals in the dining hall, and participated as actively as I could in student life.
This year, I live in Kentish Town – a 45 minute plus walk from campus – with two roommates, eat sad meals of eggs and toast on a regular basis, and write for The Beaver. Grad life is just different. I’m very close with the forty-odd people on my program, but beyond that and a few friends I had from last time I was here there’s not a lot of social interaction with the people outside my course. I’m so intensely focused on the work I’m doing, and the people I’m doing it with, that it doesn’t feel like I have time for anything else.
In some ways, this seems like a natural extension of growing up. I’ve gotten better, over the years, at understanding what I do and don’t want out of life. I’ve gotten better at focusing on the things that matter to me and doing away with the things that don’t. To a certain extent, that’s what’s happening with my grad program. I see the people on my course in class and at our regular socials, I have drinks with other people two or three nights a week, and I go home and do my work. It’s a focused life, and for now, at least, I’m enjoying it.
But it’s very different from my undergrad experience, both at LSE and at Clark University, where I did the bulk of my degree. In both places, I felt like I was involved in everything, either directly or by proxy, through my friends. It was exciting, and to some degree superficial. But it was fun. I’m not sure where I come down on the difference just yet. For now, all I can say is that it’s different.