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Tara Bell

November 11th, 2015

Reading Week Retrospective

2 comments

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Tara Bell

November 11th, 2015

Reading Week Retrospective

2 comments

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

I’m going to be totally honest, my first month at LSE has been anything but easy. It’s been a whirlwind: exciting, stressful, scary and fun all at the same time. It’s safe to say that I’ve felt a little overwhelmed by it all, but I’m here to share my experiences with you, whether or not you identify with them, and give an insight into what life at LSE is really like (for me, at least).

I’m not one to sugarcoat, and I don’t want to give false impressions. The first two weeks breezed by because, lets be honest, the stress is on the social rather than academic aspects of life here with the Fresher’s Fair and Taster’s Sessions all in full swing, it’s all about settling in. The lecturers are relaxed and it’s all about ‘introducing’ the topics and getting to know each other in the seminars. Around week two you see the titles of lectures on Moodle changing from ‘An Introduction to (insert name of module)’ to actual topics with complicated names and theories which you’ve never heard of, and you start to realize everything’s about to get a whole lot more serious now.

I think I vastly underestimated what LSE would be like. I mean, I knew it was one of the best universities in the country and one of the most prestigious in the world, but I guess I never really took into consideration what that reputation really entailed. I’m sure there are many people who find the module content and workload to be absolutely fine and leave seminars and lectures with a satisfying nod of approval to the professor indicating they have perfectly understood every single thing we’ve covered. I don’t know whether these are people or robots, but they exist. For me it hasn’t been that simple. There are definitely moments when I leave lectures in a state of bewilderment: sometimes I leave seminars totally enlightened, other times just completely confused. The pace of life at LSE means that there isn’t much time to dwell on past content before moving on to the ever-so-ominous readings for the week ahead.

It’s often possible to slip into the mindset of ‘everyone here is so smart, I’m so dumb, I don’t get anything, I should just leave’. Without sounding like a crazy person, these thoughts have crossed my mind. However, rather than this post sounding like too much doom-and-gloom, I want to reiterate that the point of me sharing this is to say that: yes, being a student as LSE is tough. You are constantly challenged and sometimes it feels like it’s all too much. But remember: you are not alone, there are thousands of people feeling the same as you. Unless I am the only one, in which case, at least you know that there’s one person out there who feels the same way.

Remember, you are here to learn, not to be know everything: let’s leave that to the experts. You’re not paying thousands of pounds a year to be taught things you already know. I feel like in the last month I’ve learnt more than I ever have in such a short period of time, and that’s definitely something to be happy about. Also, on a personal note, I managed to survive a week of hell with 3 deadlines in the space of 2 days, so I’m sure if I can do it, you can too. I’m yet to get feedback on these essays, but I don’t feel like any of them were disastrous. I actually (dare I say it) enjoyed writing them and felt that my knowledge on issues that are important to me has significantly grown. So, if I could stress anything, it would be to hang in there. Things will get easier and you will adjust to life at LSE. You’re not a genius, and neither are most people, regardless of how they act. Don’t be too hard on yourself: LSE wouldn’t have accepted you if they didn’t think you could handle it. And with that, I hope you’ve all taken some time off during reading week to relax: you deserve it.

About the author

Tara Bell

Tara Bell - MSc Media and Communications

Posted In: Student life

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