Looking back often helps you realize what you’ve achieved and how far you’ve come. Knowing this, I’d like to start my blogging endeavors with a quick glance at what my rear-view mirror shows and where the road ahead might lead, and hopefully help you think about the academic, career, social or any other path your are on right now.
Imagine having a blank canvas and a bunch of paints and brushes. You have no idea what to paint; you just feel like putting color on canvas. You need not have an end result in mind to start with, but as you keep painting, your scrawls and strokes across the once-empty canvas slowly start making sense. Soon enough you might wonder – what color do I choose next? What shape do I draw now? Is the painting good enough as it is?
I speak of art to draw a parallel to my time at LSE. A blank canvas was handed out to me and many of my fellow LSE students in 2013 – an opportunity to engage in diverse studies, an opportunity to create my own social life, an opportunity to shape my identity. University, after all, comes with its own paints and brushes – books, friends, mentors, societies, perhaps even penguins outside libraries.
As I touched down at Heathrow Airport in September 2013, I knew no one in London. I was hopeless at finding my way around, accidentally ending up in UCL instead of LSE on the first day of classes! I now have close friends from places as diverse as Bournemouth and Kiev. I have pursued internships, work experience and attended public lectures on campus and beyond. I live with medicine students from King’s and have traveled not only within London but all around the United Kingdom.
As I begin my third year, I look back at what I’ve achieved so far – running a successful society, setting up a project to improve mental health on campus (more on this in future blogs), eating my first mince pie – and see an array of strokes and shades come together to create a clear, defined picture on a once-blank canvas. LSE has been such an enriching experience, be it through learning about medieval coinage in class, jamming with strangers (friends-to-be) in the music room (Old Building, 6th floor, if you’re a Keen Bean) or getting my first job.
But as my final year begins, I also find myself wondering what direction my time at university will take next.
Is the painting good as it could be?
I have a gut feeling that there’s a lot more colors to mix, a lot more contours to create, and a lot more shades of intimidation, frustration, happiness and achievement to explore. So I keep painting. Why worry about the end? A new blank canvas awaits, waiting to turn into another colorful ensemble that tells a story – a self-portrait without self.