If you’re starting university in September and you’ll be staying off campus, this post is for you. Throughout my time at LSE, I never once stayed in the designated accommodation where most of my fellow students lived. It seemed that many of the people I came across on my course either lived in halls, or in shared flats with one another. At first, this felt quite isolating, but I soon came to meet many people who were in a similar position to me. In this post, I’ll show you some of the best ways that you can make the most of your time as an LSE student, without living on LSE residences.
Join a LSESU Society
Or start your own! But, it’s probably a good idea to join an existing one so that you can begin to find people with similar interests. Joining a society is a great way to meet new people. If you’re commuting into uni a few times a week, you might find yourself slipping into a routine of simply coming and going, without having real conversations or actually getting to know people.
Upon joining societies that were aligned with my interests, I found myself creating friendships with other people from different programmes. Since I didn’t socialise much outside of lectures and classes, going to events hosted by different societies was one of the only ways that I got to make friends. To this day, two girls I met at a LSESU society are some of my best friends.
Join LSE’s Off Campus Support Scheme
I can’t advocate more for the Off Campus Support Scheme. I came across this in my first year at uni through a programme-wide email, and I definitely don’t regret it. Not only did the scheme make me feel more comfortable with my peers, it also made me feel more confident in getting to know the School. The scheme essentially puts you in contact with other students from your course through the help of a mentor from a senior year.
I became very comfortable with making friends because of this scheme, and I was even given some great advice on my anthropology programme. The experience was so great that I even joined the following year as a second-year student mentor, a true testament to the work of the team who run it.
Don’t rush off after classes
Sometimes it’s tempting to dash out of the classroom after the end of a class or lecture. But if you live far away, it’s a great idea to ask a friend if they’ll be staying on campus to study, and go with them. LSE’s campus has a lot of hidden gems where you can be productive and also chill if you need some relaxation time. Additionally, there are some great eateries that are within walking distance from the main spots at LSE.
I wish somebody had told me this advice as a budding first year student. There were many times where I could have stayed on campus with friends and studied with them. There’s strength in numbers, and you can often find solidarity in shared experiences with other people on your programme, as well as on different programme. I learned this over halfway into my time at university, which made the experience feel a lot less isolating. If you learn to make the most of the study spaces on campus early, you’ll have a much better time.