When I was admitted to LSE around this time last year, I was immensely curious about what my day-to-day life as a graduate student in London might look like. What would my class schedule be? How would I get around the city? What would I do with my free time? While lockdowns and online teaching have altered the answers to these questions, I am still able to use LSE resources to make the most of my day and my degree.
For all my fellow curious prospective students out there, here is a quick rundown of my Wednesday in Week 4 of Lent Term to give you a sample of postgraduate life at LSE during online teaching.
7:30am – I wake up and walk to the LSE library. I received a negative COVID test from the LSE testing centre the day before, which means I am able to access limited LSE spaces for academic purposes. Walking to the library gets me moving, clears my head, and gives me the energy to start my day.
8:15am – I arrive at the library and head to the seat that I booked the night before. It’s early in term so the library is pretty empty in the morning, which helps me concentrate. I peruse an interesting additional reading for my Mediating the Past seminar this afternoon and read case study articles to prepare for my Corporate Communications seminar on Friday.
10:15am – I check out a book and leave the library, enjoying the sun and some lovely views of St. Paul’s Cathedral on my walk home.
11:00am – Time for my first Zoom call of the day. I attend a Q&A session with my Mediating the Past professor, where he clarifies his expectations for upcoming essays.
12:00pm – I check my email to see if I’ve been taken off the waiting list for an online Introduction to Stata course offered through the LSE Digital Skills Lab. While I didn’t make it into this class (the coding courses fill up very quickly!), I register my interest online so I will immediately get an email when enrolment opens for the next class. Instead, I use this extra time to tidy up my room and eat lunch.
1:00pm – I call into my Mediating the Past seminar, where we break out into groups to discuss the relationship between nationalism and history in politicians’ speeches.
3:00pm – LSE Careers organised a seminar on building a career in media and advertising, so I tune and take note of the skills I want to develop before I enter the job market.
4:00pm – I visit my dissertation supervisor in online office hours. She recently sent me comments on my broad writing plan, so we discuss how I can narrow my scope and choose suitable empirical examples.
4:30pm – Now that it is a reasonable waking hour in the US, I use this time to talk to my grandma and my younger brother. As an international student, I’ve gotten used to planning around time differences in order to keep in touch with my friends and family.
5:00pm – After an afternoon of video calls, I give my eyes a break from screens and practice my new hobby for this lockdown, calligraphy. I started this hobby in January when LSE organized online calligraphy lessons taught by Michela from The Dandelion Art. Now, I use calligraphy as a way to pass time indoors during the winter lockdown.
6:00pm – I reopen my laptop to do a bit more reading; my dissertation supervisor gave me suggestions during office hours that I want to follow up on while the ideas are fresh.
7:00pm – I join my flatmates in the kitchen to order burgers on Deliveroo. One of my flatmates submitted a final assignment in the afternoon, so we celebrate her hard work with a toast.
9:00pm – I relax and watch a movie before I get ready for bed!
Each day as a postgrad student is different, so you’ll have some flexibility in balancing your daily priorities, whether those are your schoolwork, your social life, your health and fitness, or other considerations. My advice for prospective students is to stay curious! By asking questions, doing research, and discovering what the university has to offer in advance, you can take full advantage of your days at LSE.
You can find more information on LSE’s response to coronavirus here.