Once I had my unconditional acceptance and had committed to uprooting my life to move to another hemisphere, I broke the news to my broader network via Facebook, like the true Millennial that I am. I was immediately inundated with congratulations (to be expected) but also a considerable number of people advising caution – “London is so expensive”, “It’s going to be very hard work”, “You’ll be so disconnected”. Thanks friends, way to put a dampener on my celebrations.
This got me thinking about the ups and downs of getting into (and attending) such a prestigious and highly ranked university like the LSE.
First, LSE’s own website describes the competition for admission as “intense”, so acceptance is a triumph in itself. Rejoice! You’re in! But then again, with prestige comes a reputation to uphold, expectations of greatness, pressure to perform. Does being top of your last programme mean anything in the big leagues? Will you live up to the hype?
Second, you’ll be moving to London. Massive metropolis! Rich history and culture! Celebrities! Jaffa Cakes! But then again, London is one of the most expensive cities to live in, even without a Pound which fluctuates wildly against your local currency. In the 10-month period between acceptance and registration, my government recalled two finance ministers within 3 days and is currently prosecuting a third. And we had an election. And Brexit happened. Between the highest and lowest exchange rate fluctuations, my fees fluctuated by almost 40%. FORTY PERCENT.
Third, you’ll be surrounded by some of the brightest minds of your generation from around the world and countless different cultures, backgrounds and perspectives. But, once your course’s Facebook page is active and the introductions start rolling in, you’ll be struck by the most profound sense of imposter syndrome. Do I belong in this group? Have I achieved as much as them? Is it too early to do this? Is everyone else also freaking out like this?
In short, the last few months have been a roller coaster of emotions (and this doesn’t even include funding, moving or visa stresses!). With every high point there’s a low, with every victory, a set-back. But ultimately this experience is life-changing, character-defining and I couldn’t be more excited to be embarking on this (difficult, expensive), amazing, prestigious journey. To the big leagues!