I was a little nervous to start attending classes at LSE since I had taken a year off after my undergrad. In this year, I had a job which required me to work from home, so I spent most of the pandemic indoors. It wasn’t until I had to start my masters at LSE that I began to think about stepping out again. When I first got to London, I was slightly overwhelmed. I had not seen this much hustle and bustle for a while. It almost felt surreal.
The first time I went to LSE was to complete my campus registration. I had read that a mandatory negative test needs to be shown at the entrance, and on arriving, I was pleasantly surprised to find, not just sanitiser, but also a box with disposable masks at the entrance. This put me at ease and as I started attending classes, I realised that LSE is one of the most hygienic campuses around. Not only are students required to wear masks in every seminar, this is also compulsory in common areas like the library.
There is also a COVID-19 testing facility on campus which allows students and staff to book appointments free of cost. LSE Trace also sends weekly newsletters with a COVID-19 wellness check-in. Most importantly, seminar tutors and professors are extremely understanding and will almost always excuse a health-related no-show if you tell them in advance. Most tutors hold office hours online and even those who hold them on campus are willing to arrange an online meeting. Initially when I got my timetable, I had classes on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. I emailed my department head and asked her if I could shift my Thursday class to Wednesday and she agreed. This way, I go in three consecutive days and give myself enough time to report any symptoms I may develop after.
Finally, LSE Moodle and the LSE library provide a number of online learning resources which can be very helpful. The online library catalogue is extensive, and you can find resources on writing, reading, citing, and so much more on Moodle. LSE Life is also a resource that can be accessed through Moodle. They organise a range of workshops related to both academics and well-being. They even organise structured online ‘study retreats.’ These are essentially group work-sessions with built-in breaks, but you can sign up for it individually and complete any work you want.
Re-entering civilisation post lockdown has definitely been a little daunting, especially since I was starting my masters at LSE. Thankfully, the school has allowed enough flexibility so that people like me who are still wary about stepping out can take their time and ease back into in-person classes.