Posts Tagged ‘student’

Hell begins…

After being on campus from 830A to 730P and having been studying since getting home, I’ve decided that it’s time for a much-needed break/status update from abroad.

Update: Life for the next three weeks is going to be insanity. The light at the end of the tunnel? I get to go to Rome on the 12th of November! The thought of Roman architecture and Italian coffee is probably the only thing that’s going to get me through the next few weeks.

Some perspective: I have a presentation on poverty reduction & child mortality to deliver tomorrow in my health & population class; Wednesday is a presentation on women’s rights and the effects of women’s rights on children for a child rights & poverty course, and the rest of the week will be spent working on a third presentation (to be delivered next Monday) which addresses the role of the state in social policy and requires some ridiculous readings by Foucault. On top of that, I have a formative essay due in my health and population class in a couple of weeks, followed by a paper on implementation of social policy theory.

In any case, I have officially gone into hiding and am holing myself up in my room for the next twelve days with the ultimate goal of finishing everything before my trip to Rome.

I’ll keep you updated from my cell room.

Lots of love,

Signature Stamp - Shannon


My Four-Day Weekend Begins!

Setting Up Shop in the Library!

Now that I have officially chosen my schedule, my classes are relegated to a Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday schedule, which frees up Thursday through Sunday! Although I had hoped that my four-day weekends would be used for the greater good (read: traveling to far off destinations and general fun-having), I have decided that days such as today, when travels are not planned, my Thursdays through Sundays actually prove to be amazing days for studying and catching up with class work. Although my classes only occupy a few hours of any given day, the readings and projects outside of class are a whole different story. I am currently in the library (my new home away from home), studying, finishing up a paper that’s due on Monday and trying to get as many readings as possible under my belt before the weekend officially hits. I would imagine tomorrow would be uncannily similar.

I can’t say I mind much, though. I rather like being able to hit the gym in the morning and then following it up with some intellectual stimulation. The library almost forces me to be productive and it feels pretty good to get things finished. I’ve decided that I’m a perfect check-list user: I love the feeling that comes with being able to check off blank little boxes; even the most rudimentary items on the list feel like a feat when I get to tick the box!

On the bright side, I was able to actually go out and socialize last night! First and foremost, I hit the Social Policy Society meeting at 630P where I was elected Social Chair of the Society (yessss!). Essentially, I get to be a party/networking planner for the society — right up my alley and I think it will be a good outlet for my unused planning energy. Post-Social Policy meeting, I hit up the Maple Leaf in Covent Garden, a fun little Canadian bar where we got to celebrate my fellow North Americans in all of their Canadian glory. Although I didn’t get to order a rye and ginger or poutine (typical Canadian fare, I guess?), it was a small induction into the coolness of being Canadian. We migrated to a fun little joint called the Dirty Martini on Russell Street to partake in 1/2 off wine from 1030 – 1130. Magically, I made it home just a bit after midnight and got a fair night’s sleep in!

After all that fun, it’s definitely time for me to get some work in — time to sign off the internet and turn my focuses to essay writing and CV perfecting!

Lots of love,

Signature Stamp - Shannon

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.

New Toy.

Crock Pot

Whilst shopping at Argos for a coffee maker a few days back, my eyes landed upon a mini 3L crockpot in the kitchen section. I quickly began daydreaming about the days when I owned a slow cooker… I was a champion at making (meatless) chicken tortilla soup and veggie pots of goodness. As luck would have it, Argos’ basic crockpot (not an investment piece) was a mere £7.50. Now that I have this bad boy in my kitchen, it’s calling my name. For anyone looking to save some cash and make super simple meals at home, here are some awesome (and inexpensive!) recipes that I’ve run across:

Crock Pot Curried Rice & Lentils
{courtesy of Jolinda Hackett}

1 cup rice
1 tbsp curry powder
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup lentils
2 vegetarian bouillon cubes
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1 onion, diced


Combine all the ingredients in a crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours. Makes four servings.

Nutritional information:
Calories: 309, Total Carbohydrates: 6.4g, Dietary Fiber: 9.0g, Protein: 14.6g

Sweet Crock Pot Butternut Squash


2 butternut squash
1/4 cup margarine
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup raisins

  • Preparation:

Peel squash and remove the seeds. Place the squash in the crock pot or slow cooker, then add remaining ingredients on top. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours.

Rice Pilaf


1 1/2 cups seitan, cut into pieces {non vegetarians can use real meat!}
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 cup green peas
1 carrot, chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 3/4 cups rice


Combine all the ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup


3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 large carrots
2 large celery stalks
2 onions
2 400g cans low sodium chicken broth
5 cups water
200g egg noodles (or any other variety of pasta)
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried dill
½ tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper


Cut carrots, celery, and onions into small pieces and place into slow cooker.
Cut chicken into one-inch pieces and add. Add broth, water, bay leaf, and all of the spices to the slow cooker.
Set the slow cooker on low, cover, and cook for 8 to 10 hours.
When soup is almost done, boil noodles in separate pot until they are al-dente (slightly firm).
Drain noodles and add to slow cooker.
Set slow cooker on medium and cook for thirty minutes or until noodles are tender.

Super easy & cheap! I’m gonna see what’s up with the Curried Rice & Lentils tomorrow night!

Signature Stamp - Shannon

Inside Look: The Scholar’s Bag

I recently asked a friend to grab my cell phone from my purse and after ten minutes of sifting through everything in my bag, he handed it back to me, defeated. “How can you find anything in here?” I understand the frustration, but there is some level of organization to my madness. My bag is an integral part of my existence. Inside it holds all of the tidbits that I need to be successful traveler & an overall successful person.

What’s in my bag?

My iPhone.

Well, it’s actually a BlackBerry currently, but my multi-functional phone is of the utmost importance. I make phone calls, organize my calendar, browse the internet & utilize the GPS if I’m lost. How did people live before cell phones?

PenWriting Utensils.

Pens, pencils, sharpies, and occasionally my black eyeliner will suffice. Quite frankly, I find that there are too many thoughts floating around in my head. At any given moment, I like to jot down notes so I don’t forget an important thought that arises here and there. Occasionally, I’ll run across something inspirational that prompts blog thoughts — musn’t forget those. Pens are a necessity!

B of A Debit Card.

Who can live without one? I can even use it internationally at certain banks without being charged withdrawal fees! Made for me! Plus, there are a load of identity theft protection features that make my life easier.


{Smart} Water.

Dehydration = nasty headache for me. Considering the extreme amounts of caffeine I ingest
on any given day, I think that water is of the utmost importance. Plus, if I make a stop at
the gym, I always have some serious hydration in hand.

The Kite Runner

Good Reads.

This may take the form of a book, a Social Policy paper from the UN (talk about real excitement) or the latest edition of US Weekly. Whatever the case, I try to keep an attention-grabbing piece with me to read whenever I have downtime. It’s also quite nice to have a book while I’m at the gym (I’m one of the crazies that runs & reads). Additionally, I find that in a crunch, I can rip off a corner of a magazine and use it as a micro notepad!



The ultimate accessory! Carrying (oversized) sunglasses with me at all times is a must! Not only are they important for obvious reasons (when it’s sunshiny!), but they’re also fantastic for early morning coffee runs when I don’t want to put makeup on, long flights that make my eyes look super tired and they’re key in battling fine lines under the eyes (since I know all you male readers care a TON about that!) The bigger the better — my philosophy on most things <3.

CanonDigital Camera!

This item deserves an exclamation point! I cannot LIVE without my camera — I started becoming super obsessive about recording life’s fun over the years and I religiously carry a camera with me at all times. How could I have a super cool, photo-filled blog if I didn’t record my life like the OCD blogger that I am? My pink Canon is the best!

What’s a must in your bag?

Signature Stamp - Shannon

I’ll Take That Dissertation To Go, Please!

If you’ve read any/all of my previous posts, you know by now that I am one plagued by grandiose dreams. I can’t visit France, I have to rent a flat in France for a week and explore the Louvre from top to bottom. I can’t book a weekend in Rome, I have to pre-schedule visits to art galleries and find a slew of restaurants I will be hitting up per Rachel Ray’s recommendations. I’m a planner. A planner who plans big. That being said, I have tentatively (very tentatively) planned a little map of fun for next summer. I specifically chose an accommodation provided by LSE that had a contract of 40 weeks (instead of the standard 52). July 3rd, which marks the last day of Lent Term, also marks the last day of my housing contract. After speaking with my graduate department, I have been assured that being in the UK is not mandatory during the summer. The only thing that is mandatory is that one’s dissertation is completed and submitted by September’s end in 2010. Well, being the advantageous Californian that I am, I have a well-thought out plan of attack for the 12 weeks that I would be homeless: Euro trip + hostels + rented villas = the life!


My plan from the beginning has been to spend the summer in hostels and/or homes that provide Wi-fi, so I can travel and see the world whilst working on my crazily important dissertation. I have no intention of letting my studies or responsibilities fall by the wayside, but I do think that if doing my dissertation in London isn’t required, then I will be using those 12 weeks to check out a load of European countries. With discount airlines like EasyJet and RyanAir providing amazing flight deals (£1, £5, £10, etc.), a little flexibility and an internet connection is all I will need to have a super fun-filled summer. Plus, with fellow students being interested in this madness, I know I have some partners in crime with which to share the costs of a villa.

On the list for next summer:

1. Portugal
2. Spain
3. France
4. Italy
5. Switzerland
6. Germany
7. Czech Republic
8. Belgium
9. Netherlands
10. Denmark
11. Turkey
12. Greece

With the amazing deals on hostels and on vacation homes, traveling is actually super affordable. Considering I am paying about £160 ($265) per week to have a place to live in London, any place that offers housing for the same amount (or less) per week, will fit into my plans perfectly. At that rate, anything that costs less than costs less than $35 – $37 per night is in my range and most hostels are much less than that (depending on the country)!

Amazing what discount airlines and one-star accommodations can afford us!

Signature Stamp - Shannon

LSEers: Safe-ty First!


I don’t know about you guys, but I find that living with flatmates in a student apartment complex is very reminiscent of undergraduate/freshman dorm life for me. Not that it was a bad thing, it definitely was an awesome experience and a fun community, but there’s a certain lack of privacy and personal space that’s inherent in such an environment. I received an email from LSE (that I’m sure everyone else received, too!) that had some really great info about having a personal safe. For £80 per year, you can have your own personal electronic safe provided by Hotech Edge.

You can pay before you head over and activate your safe so it’ll be ready upon arrival. The safes actually appear to be pretty decent sized: they’re big enough for a laptop, passport, money & other valuables. To me £80 per year seems like a pretty okay deal considering the cost of my replacing my valuables! Having to replace my laptop (or my passport!) would be too much of a headache to put a price on. Plus, I do think that there’s something to be said about the value of peace of mind.

Check out & pay for your safe here!

Signature Stamp - Shannon


Information directly from the website:

G-Safe by Hotech Edge is the world’s first online wire-free in-room digital guest safe based on the ZigBee (IEEE 802.14.5) globally interoperable standard. It provides operators of hotels leisure facilities, and student accommodation, with the latest safe technology enhanced further by online monitoring and control. For the operator, a built automated billing module offers the potential of an additional income stream. For the individual user, G-Safe brings valuable peace of mind.

The safe links high performance hardware to G-Mesh, the most advanced full wire-free mesh network specifically developed by Hotech Edge for the automation of hotels and similar buildings. The G-Safe is easy to use. Guests simply choose a four-digit pin to operate their safe, while the hotel or facility has its own service pin and a copy-proof manual key to open the safe in event of emergency.

G-Mesh monitors and controls each safe online and in real time for all maintenance, security and billing data. This enables live audit trails and security alerts, zero fault targets, optional automated billing and warning of safe locked on guest checkout to be continuously available to the relevant staff.