Today was the first day of graduate school, but it really was just a meet and greet with everyone in the MPA program. Monday begins the pre-sessional courses which will entail two weeks of intense math and statistics classes. Bundle of joy, I tell you. But the math nerd in me is sort of excited to get back into the game.
I officially became a LSE student today after registration and received a student ID that grants me access to the LSE library, which is apparently the world's largest social sciences library! I must admit, the sheer volume of the books in there made me nervous and I felt like I was somehow behind even though classes haven't even started.
The meet and greet was your usual where-are-you-from/what-did-you-study-in-undergrad/what-did-you-do-before sort of questions. The cohort of students are from all sorts of backgrounds around the world, though I think I am the only Returned Peace Corps Volunteer that I know of. This is quite different from the American programs like Columbia SIPA or Johns Hopkins SAIS where there are a high percentage of RPCVs.
I am looking forward to a fascinating year and getting to know all the interesting individuals. Perhaps because we are only at the beginning, but it is incredibly easy to forget my other lives whilst chatting up with people and thinking of all the work that is ahead. The director of the international development stream is a wonderful quirky American professor who used to teach at the University of Chicago. During the introduction, he went on for 5-10 minutes about how we should all be so glad that we are here, how many other people would love to be in our seats, and how the MPA program is so much more rigorous than the other programs at the LSE, and blah blah blah. It was wildly entertaining, and while I take the compliment lightly, I did begin to seriously think about the rigor of this program.
While most other MSc programs at the LSE only require 4 units of courses and last only one year, the MPA program requires 5 units per year and lasts two years. I compared class time with my flatmate who is doing a one-year degree in Law and she said her class time only add up to about 8 or so hours, while ours can add up to be nearly 20 hours a week, with discussion sessions and all the extra stuff! What a difference!
Anyhow, I am looking forward to really challenging my brain in the academic sense again! Oh, funny side note. Apparently this blog shows up when one googles "LSE MPA international development", because today, there were many people who I've never met nor know of from Facebook who came to me and said, "oh you are Wendy! I read your blog" or "hey! I know you. How was your trip from Cameroon?" I suddenly drew the connection between my "online" life and my "offline" life. That was quite amusing!
In case I haven't talked about how wonderful my neighborhood is, this is the view on the way home tonight from the Tower Hill tube, which is the closest tube stop to me. I live quite far from the university itself, but with a view like that? I can't complain.