Sitting down to write this blog, I am reminded of so many memories of my time as a General Course student at LSE. LSE was a true game changer for me; definitely in terms of my academic knowledge, but also in many more unexpected ways. It redefined the way I perceive things, helped me forge real connections with people from all across the globe, gave me some of the best memories and transformed me into an independent traveller. After coming back to India, I related much more to a quote I’d read by screenwriter Eric Roth: “It’s a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. You realize what’s changed is you.”
Making the most of the varied course options available
I now know how having a great education makes an enormous difference in someone’s life, shaping their perspective with new ideas and ways of seeing the world. GC students have the fantastic opportunity to choose any four courses from across 300+ undergraduate options. Rather than picking all my options in one department, I made choices including Accounting and Finance, Organisational Behaviour and Leadership, Marketing, Operations Management, E-business and Spanish. This gave me a deep dive into several different verticals of business, which wouldn’t have been possible if I was made to stick to one discipline. Adding Spanish into the mix was also a great decision; it wasn’t the typical study class – we did role plays, made presentations, watched Spanish movies, and enjoyed many other learning activities. Not only did I learn a new language, my amigos are now my extended family!
Attending workshops and talks outside of my course
I found a real dedication to the pursuit of knowledge at LSE, not only in the syllabus and pedagogy of the brilliant lecturers, but also in the richness of talks, workshops and events. And the learning isn’t just focused on academic interests. I attended a talk on ‘How to use digital media to build your personal brand’ by the Chief Digital Officer at a global marketing group. It was truly insightful and one thing in particular has stayed with me ever since I left the room: the importance of deconstructing and evaluating all the individual parts that make us and using what we learn to become a better version of ourselves.
Making friends with students from all around the world
My year at LSE flew by sooner than I’d have liked. Hence, I ensured that I made the most of everything that the school and the city had to offer. One of those things was taking advantage of the people I met, both in and out of the classroom. At LSE, I found a hugely vibrant, multicultural sea of people. The number of different nationalities and languages found on campus more than fulfilled my need for varied social interaction. Through being a member of LSE Students’ Union RAG society, I also got to organise a lot of fun parties for charitable causes. On top of that, meeting other General Course students at social mixers (the weekend trip to Cumberland Lodge, midterm socials, open Mic nights, the Summer Ball) gave a real sense of energy to my experience: an almost daily jolt when I remembered the uniqueness of where I was.
It’s a wonder, really, how much stepping out of your comfort zone and living alone in a foreign city can do for you. I discovered myself while discovering the city. I love how every turn and every street in London has something new, unique and wonderful to offer. More so, I enjoyed having a campus right in Central London. Covent Garden is right around the corner, and my friends and I would often head to the theatre to enjoy some of London’s finest plays, or go to the British Museum and immerse ourselves in the rich culture and history. Even on our walk back home from school, we were surrounded by great restaurants, museums, cultural buildings or unique streets to discover.
Enjoying every moment of living in LSE Halls
Amongst all the culture, my dorm life was pretty happening too – definitely one of the perks of staying in Northumberland House (no offence to the other halls!). I consider myself super lucky to have had student accommodation that was literally only 100 meters from Trafalgar Square. Talk about location, huh? My hall-mates and I would have a monthly cook-off and it was the perfect amalgamation of different cuisines and cultures. Coming back home from school was always a pleasure! Me and a few hall-mates even decided to take an impromptu trip to Malta. It was -5 °C in London and the Mediterranean island seemed like the best getaway with its sunny 17 °C climate. It was by far the most fun trip we had!!
A year studying abroad was just the right amount of time
I felt that one year was the right amount of time to study abroad. I got enough time to do everything: study, travel, intern, explore, and immerse myself in Britsh culture. A semester would fly by so quickly that I don’t think you would have the opportunity to discover and reinvent yourself, make lasting friendships, become a true London local, and – most importantly – be able to see things with a new perspective. For me this wasn’t just a year in life, it was life in a year!
The education that I have received has empowered me with the right skillsets, intellect and maturity needed for better understanding global issues and their impacts on the social, political and economic aspects of business. I feel that I have become a much smarter and competent business student. During the course of one year I had many epiphanies, which led me a step closer to understanding who I am and realising where I want to be.
Fast forward two years. The wisdom gained whilst living in London and studying at LSE, combined with the experience of working at Ernst & Young back home, has strengthened my belief in the power of holistic development. This was something that I hadn’t found during my education in India, which didn’t really encourage the sort of learning that comes from outside the pages of textbooks. This, in turn, resulted in the launch of my passion project, Strive & Thrive, an online counselling service catered to encourage self-improvement and holistic development amongst young people. You can find us on Instagram (@westrive_wethrive) if you want to find out more.
The benefits of being a part of the rich LSE community go beyond my year on the campus. The relations I built with my faculty and classmates have contributed to enriching my vision for my passion project. As an alum, I feel happy that I can always count on the continuous learning from my peers, have my faculty as a sounding board for entrepreneurial ideas, and get the opportunity to create a ripple effect through my community through my latest project.
Finally, I’d like to conclude by sharing one of my favourite quotes from Steve Jobs – a quote that I think sums up what I think about my year at LSE: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backward… Because believing that the dots will connect down the road, will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path. And that will make all the difference.”