Looking back at myself a few months ago when I stepped onto campus for the first time, everything was surreal. For most of the year prior, it honestly felt like it was never going to happen – it felt like some sort of fairy tale dream. Then there I was, standing on campus trying to find my hometown on the globe (after wandering around like a headless chicken for what felt like ages trying to find it).
Everything happened so fast, and I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t really know what was going on most of the time for the first little bit. Nearly every experience felt foreign to me. And so, naturally, I made some mistakes. If I had the opportunity to do things again, I’d probably do these three a little differently.
Where I Went Wrong
In the beginning, one of the biggest mistakes I made was only being on campus when I needed to be. Simply put, I would go to campus only for my in-person seminars and then immediately walk home again. Opportunity cost is a lovely concept – it wasn’t until I started staying on campus that I realized what I’d been missing out on. You see, being on campus and “studying” is a social experience in itself. Sure, the trip to campus may be long and you might want to get back home ASAP, but trust me when I say, you may meet some of your best friends by just going to the library for a few hours a day. I did.
Another mistake I made is how I approached readings, and there will be a lot of them. I tried to do too much and had no organization whatsoever, I don’t know how to put it any other way. Things were messy. What changed? Study groups. It’s so blatantly obvious yet so efficient. It’s as easy as dividing four readings among four people who you trust (which is key) and bam, that’s three extra hours per week opened up to do who knows what. Multiply that by three courses and you can do the math – it was a game-changer.
Lastly, and this may seem like marketing propaganda, I simply didn’t take advantage of the services the school offers to the fullest. It took until halfway through the term for me to truly realize what I was missing out on (if you notice a trend), the Skills Lab especially. It’s so easy to take things like that for granted and keep saying to yourself “I have time to do that later” because soon enough, it will be time to graduate and move on with life. Whether it’s Python, R, Tableau, Excel, or more, they have it covered. I couldn’t recommend the interactive workshops enough.
So what did we learn today? Don’t be like me, the end. In all seriousness, for anyone who is or will be going into their first year at LSE, or even for those that currently have already, try to take advantage of all it has to offer. You might not know what you’re missing out on.