On the verge of starting week 5, I have convinced myself that I am satisfactorily knee-deep in LSE life to be a bit of a cliched starry-eyed first year and tell everyone of you reading (and hopefully interested) about what the first few weeks have taught me about life as an LSE student.
1. There is a lot of studying to do: This is probably something every fresher at every uni in the world realises, and it has been no different for me. By the end of week four, I have had all of my classes and lectures, handed in at least fifteen sets of homework, and all in all realised that weekends mean nothing except a bit of extra time to ensure you are actually physically capable of doing all your assignments. Weekly deadlines keep you on your toes all the time, but they are probably invaluable incentives to actually do your work so you don’t get completely demolished come exam time, which is very soon for us unlucky (or lucky, as I am sometimes told) January exam kids!
2. While we’re on the topic of studying, I have found some solitary library time to be amazingly productive. Once you find a place you like (and that can be difficult sometimes given the number of people who are looking for the same thing), being surrounded by thousands of books and hundreds of people who are completely immersed in their books and laptops almost forces you to take yourself seriously and get some work done. Only know, i) those colourful cubicles are never empty, and ii) just be glad you’ve found a table with a charging point.
3. Friends, you’ll make them: This point might actually be a bit more pertinent to those few people who are not, or will not be living in halls of residence. I myself am living at home, and for a very long time, was extremely worried about not finding friends and being a sad, solitary, lurking figure somewhere in the corner (I have a tendency for hyperboles). Granted, if you live at halls, you will find it an easier, almost involuntary task, but all it really takes is a little bit of enthusiasm and conversation to get to know people. Before I knew it, I found myself doing things I thought poor, non-LSE-hall me would never be doing: having lunch with friends, doing homework with friends, and in general, having friends. I wouldn’t suggest worrying about it at all.
4. Finding your niche: The first couple of weeks are usually a real whirlwind: you attend too many things, get too many emails, and find too many things alluring. Slowly though, you realise exactly what’s meant for you and what isn’t, and by the end of the first month, if you’re anything like me, you find yourself with a relatively clear idea about what you want to invest your time in, whether that is a society subcommittee position, a weekly club meeting, an athletic team, a musical group, or any combination of those. For me, two things that absolutely define my week are Sen Club meetings on Tuesdays as part of the Economics Society, and Lunchtime Concerts on Thursdays at the Shaw Library (more on things like that in later posts!
5. Doing something you have never done: LSE truly does give you a huge range of opportunities to do things you have never done before, and I’d suggest grabbing every opportunity that catches your interest. In my case, a chance conversation with a friend led me to enrol in an Arabic language course completely impulsively, with classes starting exactly an hour after I enrolled! I speak three languages, English, Bengali, and Hindi, fluently, each of which has a different script, and sort of speak a fourth, French, but all of them are in scripts I learnt involuntarily as a child, whereas Arabic is in a radically different script which I will have to learn from scratch. Of course, the linguaphile in me is ecstatic, and more on that as it happens.
6. Accepting, and even appreciating the weather: Lastly, for this post, I will say I have learnt to simply accept that the weather in London is always going to be absurd. Do always carry an umbrella. It truly can be rainy, sunny, hot, and freezing within a matter of five minutes – speaking from the experience of a particularly bizarre walk from the New Academic Building to the Temple Underground station one afternoon. Just smile and appreciate the eccentricity of it all, enjoy the bits of sun, and take pictures of rainbows when you see them! (And treat my last sentence can work as a metaphor for living life as well.)