After just submitting a few summative essays and getting over a 2-week-long flu, I can finally say Goodbye Michaelmas term and HELLO LENT TERM! Even though Lent Term is just as long as Michaelmas term, I feel more prepared for this upcoming term. Maybe because it’s a new year or because I got to catch up on sleep over the winter break, but something feels different this time around and I LOVE IT. Also, my newfound confidence can probably be attributed to my sense of familiarity and belonging at LSE. Below is a list of goals and tips for the new term, with the added bonus of how Michaelmas Term has prepared me for the best things to come!
1. Stay Organized and Keep a Monthly Calendar of Deadlines
Sure, LSE conveniently provides us with a user-friendly and printable timetable of all our classes, but they don’t provide you with a master calendar of all your upcoming deadlines. I learned the hard way last term when I was surprised by two presentations and a paper due in the same week because of my lack of scheduling. What I found helpful midway into last term was calendaring EVERYTHING— upcoming deadlines in my courses, social gatherings, department meetings, and other extra-curricular activities. This also includes personal deadlines, such as when you would like to have a project finished by. This term, I already created a schedule and even jotted down motivational quotes and sentences to stress the importance of the date.
2. Remember to Eat a Few Times a Day
Being a full-time student is hard enough, but finding time to have a proper meal can also be a struggle. At the beginning of Michaelmas term, I would usually eat one big meal and a snack throughout the day, obtaining most of my energy by fueling up on caffeine. I thought I was the only one that did this, but some of my friends admitted they did the same thing and often skipped meals throughout the day. Mymum always told me, we need at least 3 meals a day to fuel our brains. As graduate students, we need as much brain food as possible, so I have strived to at least have three meals with two snacks in between. Your first meal/breakfast can even be a granola bar or a quick bagel, but aim to have at least a few meals during the day to keep you going. I started doing this after reading week last term, and it has made me more focused and ready for bigger readings and long papers.
3. Take Advantage of Office Hours
I took for granted my Professors’ office hours last term. I would only see my advisor, Dr. Timo Fleckenstein, to discuss my dissertation, and didn’t feel the need to talk to anyone else. What I didn’t realize is that there are so many other professors, even professors in my department, that I could approach to discuss topics related to my work or career paths. I didn’t know this until one of the professors from the United States told me that I can just email or book a professor’s office hours through LSE for You. I have already met a professor this term, who then referred me to several internship opportunities in my field and enlightened me about pursuing a PhD.
4. Attend More LSE Events
I just had a long discussion with a friend from my hall the other day about this and we came up with a consensus: LSE Events are amazing and a great networking and/or friend making opportunity. Don’t get me started with those awesome career events, but LSE Careers organize some amazing events and networking opportunities. I only attended a few events last term, but I really appreciated LSE Careers’ International Organization Day (IOD). I could probably write a whole blog post about IOD. After a full day of presentations and conversations, I was able to get some contact information from individuals at the UN and also became closer with people in my course that I had never really talked to. For example, my new friend Joey and I shared some courses together, but had never fully talked to each other until that event. This term, I want to take advantage of all the events that LSE has to offer. Did I forget to mention that some of these networking events have free food and drinks?
5. Go Out With Friends (when you can)
Sure, I would occasionally go out to pubs, but my most frequent hang out location last term was the library. Being a graduate student, I realize that I only have 1 year to make lasting connections with all these new people I have met. Last term, I spent a lot of time in the library, but this term I want to be able to get to know some of my course mates better. While balancing my schedule out, I make it a point to get coffee with some friends or to go to a pub to celebrate someone’s birthday. Sure, these things take up time, but it’s possible it could take the same amount of time to make friends for a lifetime. Note to self and future LSE Master’s Students: Take advantage of your time and try to go out with your friends when you can. Because when else will you have the opportunity to be in one of the greatest cities and institutions in the world with people in the same boat as you? NEVER. (Unless you do a PhD!)
6. Practice Self Care
This goes without saying. In the same vein as the other five points I listed, the most important thing I learned from MT was the importance of taking care of you self. It’s not easy being a student, let alone an LSE Graduate student, so self care is extremely vital to surviving! There were some moments last term where I didn’t think I had it in me to meet some deadlines or simply wake up from bed to get through a long day of courses. I vowed that this year I would take better care of myself by doing more leisure reading, exploring London, and enjoying the company of friends more often. Being a student is a huge priority, but taking care of yourself is even more important! I know that if I ever feel down, I have such an amazing support system from LSE. Whether that comes in the form of my friends, professors, my residence hall, or student counseling services, I know LSE will support me in any way possible!