Officially a Grad Student!

Inside of the LSE library -- staircase looks cooler than it is.

Inside of the LSE library -- staircase looks cooler than it is.


I am officially a grad student! I had really wished I could post a quintessential ‘first day of school’ photo with me in pigtails wearing a Rainbow Brite-inspired backpack for nostalgia’s sake, but now I get to be the grown-up version of my five-year-old (rather precocious) self; no pigtails today (boo), and a laptop case replaces my too-cool-for-school backpack. After being a London resident for over two weeks now, I finally got to wake up with purpose today. I had an introductory seminar session for my core course at 10A today, followed by a Social Policy and Development lecture from 2 – 4P. From start to finish, it was an amazing day. My laptop got some serious use during both the seminar and the lecture and we actually got into some substantive material during lecture number one, leaving me feeling like a fully focused graduate student. I actually had a very productive day today and got my schedule completely ironed out. I’m on campus Monday through Wednesday and picked three optional modules that are incredibly interesting to me. Here’s a gander at my schedule:

10A – 1P – Social Policy & Development Seminar (not sure on the exact times yet)
2P  – 4P – Social Policy & Development Lecture
430P – 630P (weeks 5-9 only) – Research Skills for Social Scientists


330P – 5P – Health and Population in Developing and Transitional Societies Lecture
5P – 630P –  Corresponding Seminar

{This will be replaced with a Basic Education for Social Development course during Lent Term}


10A – 11A – Child Rights, Child Poverty & Development Lecture
11A – 1230P – Child Rights, Child Poverty & Development Seminar

Monday is clearly my heaviest day and today definitely felt like a full-time job. I have a feeling that tomorrow and Wednesday will calm my fears of being overwhelmed. To add to the intensity, I have a paper due on Monday, October 12th, followed by another paper due on Monday, October 19th. Although both are non-assessed, they are a way for the professor/tutor to gauge your abilities, strengths and weaknesses and although I am here to learn, I would definitely prefer to have many more strengths than weaknesses. Plus, since this is my first chance to make a real impression, I have to go for the gold! I’ve finished reading the article, but I have just put a minor dent in the paper. And by minor, I mean that I’ve written the paper’s heading and cited the source per the Harvard System. Off to a start … ? Additionally, we have an ODI (Overseas Development Institute) paper to read and analyze for next week’s seminar and must come prepared to give a mini (10 minute) oral presentation if called upon. I have to say, despite the years of presentational skills that I have acquired, it’s still a bit nerve-wracking to consider giving an oral presentation during week one.

In any case, I am overjoyed to be back in school and even more excited to have classes with some of the most brilliant people in my field. I recently found out that Thandika Mkandawire (former Director of the UNRISD) has taken up a post at the LSE as the Chair in African Development for our DESTIN program and am secretly dreaming of running into him and taking a paparazzi-style photo; that would definitely be my facebook default. No doubt. I am still constantly impressed with this institution on every level — just sitting in the library doing my readings, I feel smarter; it’s like all the academics throughout all of the years have thoughts that permeate the walls. Osmosis, perhaps?

Not sure. As of now, the only thing that makes me sad is the realization that this program is only a year long. I have a feeling it’s going to go by entirely too fast!

Lots of love,

Signature Stamp - Shannon

PS. On a non-academic note, I managed to purchase my tickets to Malta in December for under 59 pounds return! Like I said, great day all around. I love my life.


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