It feels like just yesterday I was arriving in London to study for my Master’s degree in international history at LSE, but it was actually over two years ago. After having the best year of my life in London and at LSE, I returned home a changed person. LSE left a mark on me I knew would never go away. I also knew I was very interested in an academic career, so I started thinking, “Why not return to LSE?” Since we’re in the midst of PhD offer season, I thought I’d write this post for anyone considering doing a PhD at LSE, and why I think it’s a good choice.
A year after finishing my master’s, I’m back in London as a first year PhD student in LSE’s International History Department. It’s a choice I’m thankful I made every day. Being a PhD student in London, and at LSE, is a first-class experience you cannot find anywhere else. LSE’s International History professors are leading experts in their fields, and I am surrounded by some of the brightest students in academia. It is a daily privilege to be pursuing my research amongst these amazing colleagues and friends.
London is also an ideal place to be a PhD student. Since LSE is part of the University of London, I have access to other world-leading institutions where I can interact and exchange ideas with other scholars. The city is also home to some of the best archives and libraries in Europe and the world, possessing substantial holdings on any topic you could imagine. It makes conducting my research easier and much more enjoyable. In London, I have met people from all over the world, whose different experiences have changed the way I think about critical issues. You will not find that diversity of thought somewhere else.
This first year has been a major transition from my previous studies. As a PhD student, you spend most of your time outside of the classroom independently working on your research. It’s something you have to get used to, but it’s also immensely rewarding. Besides periodic meetings with your supervisor, you set your own direction and decide how you want to tackle your project. It can feel overwhelming sometimes, yet more importantly, it’s empowering. It can be a challenge, but I’m very excited to see where my research takes me.
I cannot believe my first year is almost over, and I’m looking forward to presenting my work so far as part of my PhD upgrade this June. I still have a lot of work in front of me, but my programme makes everything worth it. If you’re reading this and were accepted to start a PhD at LSE, you should do it. It’s a life-changing opportunity, and one you will not regret.