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Cherry Agarwal

February 10th, 2020

A day in the life of an LSE Human Rights student

0 comments | 1 shares

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Cherry Agarwal

February 10th, 2020

A day in the life of an LSE Human Rights student

0 comments | 1 shares

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Blogger Cherry on campusThursday, Lent term.

My day begins at 7:30 am. The first session is at 10am, but I am still sleepy.

The ticking clock and political turmoil at home make me sit-up. I get ready, pack some lunch, grab a toast, and head off to the bus stop. As I attempt to revise my notes and readings, I am distracted by the sunny skies. I find inspiration in my friend, who is sitting next to me, peering over her notes.

My session is at 20 Kingsway. It is a discussion-based seminar led by Bronwen Manby, a leading voice in the field of human rights. I’ll be spending the next two hours discussing the foundations of international law with 15 brilliant classmates.

The session opens with Manby posing a question: do you think international law, as it stands, is useful in addressing human rights violations? We are asked to stand in a spectrum ranging from “I feel extremely positive about this” to “it is useless” – indicating our thoughts. If you were a fly on the wall of that class, the spectrum would have given you a sense of the diversity in opinions my classmates held.

As the class progressed, we discussed the legitimacy of international law and the place of human rights within this system. Anchored by questions, the session format is an excellent way for students to clarify their doubts and develop a better grasp of the (sometimes dense) reading material. Students summarising the readings, sharing their takeaways and making their case are a definite bonus. As Manby puts it, the class aims to encourage students to make their case like any international lawyer would.

By the end of the class, I am left with more questions. It is a good sign, trust me. Armed with markers, pens and printouts, I am contemplating heading to the library for a quick reading session before the next lecture at 4pm. I head to Weston cáfe instead, the sixth-floor cáfe, atop the Students’ Union (SU) building. I catch-up with friends over lunch, discuss religion, nationality and Brexit and outrage on Twitter about the demonisation of peaceful protesters in India. (Pro-tip: make time for friends because surviving LSE is as much about your support network as it is about hard work.) We also find time to do our individual readings before we head out to the Central Building for the 4pm lecture.

This session is all about the sources of international law and understanding the legal language. I am amused by Manby’s use of Calvin and Hobbes to explain the value of state consent in international law. It is a thankful interlude in an otherwise intense session filled with the sound of clacking keyboards. As the clock strikes 5, I pack-up, ready to head back to the SU. I have a five-hour shift ahead of me, so I grab some food on my way. (Pro-tip: if you are looking for part-time jobs, track the SU website.)

It is 10pm, I am ready to head back. I grab my gloves, cover my ears and await the arrival of bus no 188. On the bus, I tick my checklist, answer emails and enjoy the view of the Thames. Once home, I spend the next couple of hours finishing the readings (peppered with the occasional tweets and retweets).

It is 2am. Hopefully, Indian politics would be interesting enough to get me out of bed. Oh wait, it is Brexit day.

About the author

Cherry Agarwal

Cherry Agarwal is an independent journalist and educator based out of the UK. She started her writing career in 2012. Until recently, she worked as a senior reporter with Newslaundry.com, an award-winning news and media watchdog based out of Delhi, India. Her work focused on the rights of journalists, press freedom, media ethics, regulations and censorship. She is a Harvard College scholar and was a speaker for UNESCO's Media and Information Literacy Week. She tweets @QuilledWords.

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