Ever since I became “adult” enough to understand what it was and vaguely what I wanted in life, school/work-life balance has been at the top of my personal value chain – and I know I’m not alone. Looking online, there seems to be a perception that at LSE the balance between those two factors tends to be uneven, and not how people would like. Ultimately, however, it’s up to you. From my experience and those of many people I know, it’s more than possible.
Even though it may not be easy sometimes, there are steps you can take and things you can do to put yourself and your well-being first. By no means is it impossible.
The first thing I’ll say is this: it won’t always be perfect. Not to scare anyone, but there probably will be times when your work takes up most of your time, that’s life. Trust me though, that will only be a small percentage of the time. I’ll be blatantly honest, for me, it almost always happens because of my own laziness when I let things pile on top of each other instead of being proactive. I wouldn’t recommend it. If you can be proactive and get ahead of things, and here comes a terrible cliché, the world really is your oyster.
Whether it’s being social, playing sports, going to the gym, exploring, or just working on yourself, the opportunities are there. On and around campus itself are well more than a handful of pubs, multiple gyms, parks, and within a short walking distance of places like Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery, Covent Garden, and Chinatown. Those are only the tip of the iceberg, as LSE also has a variety of support options available for those who want it.
Not to get too philosophical, but as with most things in life, it comes down to balance. Prioritising things in the short and long term. One thing a group of friends and I have done is set every Saturday afternoon aside for what we’ve come to call “Saturday Adventures” where we, as it sounds, go on a different excursion in London every weekend. It’s a time to put life aside and simply explore with some of my best friends – if that’s something you value, I couldn’t recommend it enough. It of course doesn’t need to be the same, I just can’t stress enough how refreshing it is to have a tradition to look forward to every week.
Another measure to ease the academic burden is simple: study groups, especially for reading based courses. Many people I’ve talked to, myself included, have found it beneficial to split readings amongst the group and meet before class to share and critically discuss, especially during busy weeks. Although it may not seem like much, an extra few free hours per week can compound to be very valuable over a semester.
So? So, the point of the blog is this: work-life balance at LSE is possible. Even though it may not be easy sometimes, there are steps you can take and things you can do to put yourself and your well-being first. By no means is it impossible.