When I started my UCAS application, LSE was a bit of a wild-card choice. As someone who had spent most of her life growing up in London (though some Zone 1 dwellers may disagree), I felt a desperate urge to leave the city – to spend my university years in a tiny, slow-paced town where “rush hour” was a foreign concept and people waved good morning, regardless of whether they knew you. With this romanticised vision in mind, I remember discussing my university choices with my headmistress. She had been so surprised by my decision to put down LSE, the polar opposite of my other choices, that she broke out of character and asked me, bluntly, why I was wasting an option on a university I had no intention of going to. Yet, despite fitting none of my criteria (I wouldn’t be able to “fly the nest” and “discover myself” and fulfil all those university clichés you dream of at the start of your UCAS journey), I was certain that LSE had to be on my list.
Although I had been intrigued by psychology since around Year Eight, it wasn’t until Sixth Form that I branched out and began reading about behavioural science (starting with Kahneman – no points for originality there). As fate would have it, the last event I attended before the city shut down last year was actually a talk at LSE by Cass Sunstein. The atmosphere had been chatty and friendly, with plenty of eager questions from students. I’d known the course at LSE, with its emphasis on behavioural science, was right up my street, but now I knew I would love the environment there too.
In January, as my UCAS decisions rolled in, a slow realisation started to dawn on me: although I considered myself a Londoner, between studying and lockdowns, I’d missed out on all that London had to offer. The closer I got to making my final university decision, the more I was drawn to LSE. I’d swapped my idyllic small-town fantasies for the infinite possibility of London – a place where I could enjoy sipping tea at a café in Bloomsbury in the morning and visit a bustling bar in Soho in the evening. As restrictions eased, and I spent more time visiting the LSE campus, the choice became all too easy: this was where I wanted to be, come September.