I had a revelatory Sunday morning. I woke up entirely refreshed while the sun’s rays broke through free spaces of my drawn curtains and lightly filled the room. It was uncommonly sunny for a London morning. Perhaps this all sounds cornily idyllic, but truly the feeling was profound.
I contently reflected that this would be one of the happiest years of my life. I imagined being in my thirties or forties and reminiscing back to this time when I lived in this vibrant city and when my primary obligations consisted of digesting knowledge and picking the minds of intellectuals in my field. It feels truly luxurious to have a year dedicated to thinking.
In my time following undergrad, I had little grasp on what my career should be or what my ‘purpose’ entailed. Like many twenty-somethings, I was grappling with these emotionally taxing questions and at the time, had little indication of an answer. My time at the LSE has illuminated the path. Now that I have developed further tastes for research and graduate study, I am confident this is how I should be spending my time. What could be better than indulging in a career as a ‘professional student’ and spending my years in academia? I now look enthusiastically to pursuing doctoral studies.
This experience has not only awoken a calling to an academic career, but also personally confirmed the discipline to which I should commit. As an undergraduate, I flitted across subjects and was equally fascinated with domains across the social sciences. I thought each field had something to contribute to the other and recall feeling frustrated with rigid disciplinary boundaries. I grimly felt as if I lacked academic focus. Since dedicating my studies to social psychology, I have comfortably found my disciplinary niche. In hindsight, I can see the strong psychological undercurrent in my work and research. The title ‘social psychologist’ is one that fits very comfortably.
The Department of Social Psychology at the LSE recognizes the value of interdisciplinary work and has balanced appreciation of both theory and application. I find the department to be an especially nurturing place to come into one’s own, both academically and personally. I don’t mean to just gush about the department, but truly I feel grateful to be part of a supportive community that feels invested in both my intellectual development and personal well-being. From my academic adviser, to my dissertation supervisor, my graduate TA, and administrative staff, everyone has been kind and gracious with genuine goodwill.
There are many outlets here at the LSE to improve any personal skills or engage any interest one has. I am so happy to have found my footing with the help of good company. The journey is not always seamless. In fact, it is rife with doubt, challenges, and a fair amount of stress. I found, however, that the key is to remain hopeful, relentless, and self-compassionate.
Good luck on your own journey. A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor. 🙂