My second year at LSE is shaping up to be simultaneously the most fun and most stressful year of my life! When I started here last year as a young, and well, fresh, fresher over a year ago, I had thought a lot about what my first year would be like. I knew where I was going to live – Passfield Hall – which courses I was going to take, and which clubs and societies I was going to try out. There were so many new things to try out, so much to learn about the quirks and intricacies of studying at LSE, that I had given very little thought to the time when I was not a newbie. I had no real imagination of myself as not a fresher.
During exams last year, I could not wait for the summer holidays. But of course, by the end of summer I was almost missing the workload and routine of university life…almost! But of course, my routine this year is totally different to last year! So why am I having a great time?
This year I have moved out of halls and into my own flat with three fellow LSE students and friends from last year. Considering how crazy the London rental market is, I know we are so lucky to have our place! It’s in a great location – about 30 mins walk from LSE and in a very “hipster” part of town! I loved halls, mostly for the social scene – you could never go anywhere without seeing someone you knew – but I also love living with friends. We have our own kitchen, and more freedom. I thought I would miss the big community from halls, but this has rapidly been replaced by new circles of friends mainly in the sports club and societies I am a part of…
Second year is often the time when students get more involved in LSE life – this may be joining committees or running events or joining sports teams – for me it’s a bit of all three. I am in the LSE Baking Society committee which is a really fun way to relieve the pressure of everyday work, through running events and eating cake. Another huge part of my LSE experience has been being the club captain of the LSE Women’s Basketball Club. I won’t lie, being a club captain is a HUGE time commitment, but I wouldn’t change it! It’s a great way to meet a huge new circle of friends, work with new people and make your mark on all of your players’ LSE experience. Sports teams do become like family (well, my family anyway…) – like herding cats, but you love them anyway!
And finally, work! LSE workload is tough, I won’t lie. But, if you find courses you are genuinely interested in and passionate about (such a cliche, I’m sorry) then it won’t feel like so much of a chore! My first year courses were survey courses e.g. The Extra-European World in the Twentieth Century, which covers a lot of ground…. whereas second year courses are a lot more time and location specific e.g. The History of Russia, 1682-1825 – but there are a LOT more to choose from. My outside option – Beginner Russian Language – although it’s 6 hours of class a week, is the most fun I have had in a class since I was at school.
Most of all, this year I feel like a have well and truly found my place at LSE. First year is pretty overwhelming: meeting new people, new courses, new place to live etc. Second year, feels a lot more settled down – and LSE feels a lot more like home.