We are sliding into autumn and registering for another year of study. I am also in week two of a new position and we are moving to a new home. It has been a wonderfully interesting year as being a first year post graduate law student is bound to be. The professional and personal pandemonium certainly added a bit of zest to the excitement of legal studies. The process of shifting house and starting a new position at the same time is a bit hair-raising so you can appreciate why I decided to wait on exams. As the Hermione Granger of law school – the one who looks forward to taking exams – I had to overcome my disappointment at missing them.
More than three years have rolled by in a flash from I enrolled with the University of London International Programmes, as a student of BSc Accounting and Finance, under the academic direction of the LSE. Since then I have experienced the troughs and crescents of life – from changing my stream of study from Accounting to International Relations, witnessing the tragic death of one of my aunts, taking immensely challenging and rigorous exams, attending demanding lectures at the LSE and the SOAS summer schools, performing Indian classical music at SOAS, to even trying a hand at punting in the River Cam (which by the way was almost a flop)! With the results of my third year of study being declared (and which I am quite happy about), it feels a bit surreal to think I am onto my fourth and final year of study with the University of London and LSE. Back in India after spending one of my most productive and busiest times in London, I must confess that getting to tour the Senate House – the nerve centre of the International Programmes has been highly inspiring.
After a long hiatus that consists of two exams, and a couple of momentous but manageable events, I am glad to be back to writing on this blog. I have come to realise that the occasional skid in life is inevitable. However, we should always remember to get up, dust ourselves off, and get going. This is what life is about, isn’t it?
It is pretty much the same when it comes to baking; a new hobby that I have recently taken to. I bake almost once or twice a week now, sometimes even thrice. The excitement of how the cakes, cookies and breads will turn out, is an experience I could never get tired of. As I am still a novice, there are times when the final products did not turn out as I had imagined. I once made some disastrous-looking cookies that are so crumbly and wouldn’t hold together. In fact, they looked so awful that I think even Odysseus would rather eat something from Circe’s kitchen than my cookies.
Today’s conversation marks roughly one year since I started collaborating with the Official Student Blog. To celebrate the event, I titled this post after my very first one, the subjects involved being obviously different.
I’m sure many newly-enrolled students in Economics, Management, Finance and the Social Sciences (EMFSS) programmes will have to take a combination of Mathematics 1, Mathematics 2, Statistics 1, and/or Statistics 2. With this in mind, why not share with you some general information about those units? Even prospective students might find it useful.
Having been affiliated with an institution where we had lecturers to teach us the entire course and guide us until the day of the examination, studying an entire course on my own was a whole new experience. It was a risk, because I was used to being pampered by lecturers not only delivering the syllabus but dealing with every single problem I had. However, I had a few options to select my fourth course from, and after skimming through their respective subject guides, Economic Geography seemed like the best and the most interesting option to me. Unfortunately, Economic Geography was a course that was not being taught at my institution, so I decided to take the risk and go ahead with it alone. I was scared, I have to admit. I had no idea how I would make myself study for it without any classes, and how the result would turn out to be.
One thing true about independent study that is also true for many goals is the natural inclination to ask ourselves if we can really do something. To set a goal, we have to evaluate our ability, our motivation, and our attitude. For me, one important thing about studying in the University of London International Programmes is how responsibility for outcomes is my own. I guess that can be true of other study models, but for me it is magnified in this one. It is one reason why I enjoy the program so much.
This guest post is written by Hamza Khaleel, who graduated with an LLB in 2016.
It was November 2011. I had been married for one year and my wife had an offer to study a Masters at the University of Malaya in Malaysia while I had discovered the University of London LLB programme that would give me the academic knowledge and edge to work in the social, justice and human rights fields of the Maldives. I was desperate to find the means to support the both of us to study abroad as there were no proper university degree programmes in the tiny island nation of the Maldives. We got our savings together and decided to take the risk of having merely enough funds for one year for the both of us. Our plan was for us to work while studying as much as we could.
So that’s it. All done. A BSc in Politics and International Relations. When I saw my exam results this week my reactions were relief (because I felt a bit glass-half-empty after the exams in May), joy (at getting three results over 70%) and pride at the overall First Class Honours degree I was awarded.
I won’t use the cliche “journey” but lots of aspects of my life have changed since I started the degree. Unlike full-time students that get sucked into the bell-jar of academia and pupate into “real world” graduates four years later, those of us studying through the University of London International Programmes have to blend studies with our daily realities. My academic studies – like many other distance learning students – was squeezed around the changing fortunes of one-and-a-half jobs, family commitments and curveballs like house moves.
So my results for my third year are out. As usual, they aren’t to my expectations. Actually, they were never to my expectations. This only goes to show that University of London is very unpredictable. Either that, or my expectations for my own results just generally suck. Haha. Anyhow, good thing is I passed every single subject.
This means that I graduated from University of London International Programmes with a Second Class Uppers.
The fact that I graduated means a lot of me. It means that I have finished a hard race. Reached the finish line. It means that I survived and thrived in this course. Yes, I did it. I actually did it. We did it. We graduated! Our hard work paid off. A job well done!
It is coming to end of my first year since enrolling into the MA programme in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies. My interest in refugee issues took off when I was interning with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I had the opportunity to work closely with refugees, and the experience led me into a world I had never imagined – an unfamiliar world where children have no access to education in public schools; where children and their families are subject to arrest and detention; and where healthcare is expensive and unaffordable with the situation made worse by the fact that refugees and asylum seeking people have no legal rights to work in Malaysia.